When: 1989 – present day
Defined as “post-history” by American political scientist Francis Fukuyama, this period began with the fall of the Berlin Wall – and the beginning of the end for the USSR – in 1989. Although many looked forward to world peace in the wake of the Cold War, the 1990s were an incredibly violent period which saw genocide and civil war rock the developing world. Despite unprecedented wealth creation and improved living conditions, the income inequality gap grew more prominent in many societies from East to West. As social media provides a platform for a diverse array of beliefs (and unverified “fake news”), many democracies are faced with new challenges from all points on the political spectrum.
When studying the era that we live in, it’s worth noting that contemporary sources do not have the benefit of hindsight. Whereas other historical periods can be studied through a dispassionate and relatively unbiased lense, it’s much more difficult to analyze current and recent events when we are living through them.
- The end of the Cold War
- 9/11 and counter-terrorism
- The Arab Spring
- Third Wave Feminism
- Climate Change activism
- The Growth of China
- The 2008 Financial Crisis
- The World Wide Web
- Social Media
The World Today
- Barack Obama (US president)
- Vladimir Putin (Russian president)
- Usama bin Laden (Saudi terrorist leader)
- Angela Merkel (German chancellor)
- Xi Jinping (Chinese General Secretary)
- Benjamin Netanyahu (Israeli PM)
- Donald Trump (US president)
- Global War on Terror
- Soft power
The above themes, name and terms are intended as a guide to kickstart your research. Because ASAP History is generalists’ site – that is, we cover all eras and events (within reason) – it is impossible for us to provide detailed insight on every historically important event or person. With that in mind, below is a collection of our articles on significant events. Longer, more in-depth articles are bolded.
Revolution & Unrest
Although no time period in history is immune to societal upheaval, the post-Cold War era saw a number of revolutions across the globe. From the Arab Spring to the 2008 Financial Crisis, existing regimes face an increasingly diverse array of internal pressures.
Violence & Conflict
The Cold War was meant to be the last great power conflict. But the immediate period following the collapse of the USSR saw an explosion of “asymmetrical” conflicts across the developing world. The emergence of terrorism as a primary concern for Western powers necessitated a pivot away from “peer-to-peer” military strategy and the emergence of new doctrines.
- 1991: The Sierra Leone Civil War
- 1991: The Gulf War
- 1994: The 1st Chechen War
- 1995: The Black Brant Scare
- 2001: The Liberation of Kabul
- 2015: The Charlie Hebdo Attack
Science & Technology
What would the “modern age” be without space-age technology? Although space exploration is no longer a top governmental priority, the proliferation of the internet and other communication networks has had massive implications for human society.
- 2004: The Spirit Rover
Politics & Diplomacy
The collapse of pre-existing structures like the Warsaw Pact resulted in the strengthening of others like NATO and the European Union. Although the current world order appears more unified and cooperative than ever before, new challenges face the existing political system.