Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 November 2008
Since World War II, the political order that divided the world into nationstates has been remarkably stable. The balance of terror during the Cold War prevented major changes in the world system. With minor exceptions, such as the emergence of Singapore as an independent polity shortly after the foundation of Malaysia and the breakup of highly artificial geographically divided Pakistan into two separate states, even most of the countries that had come into existence as the result of decolonization did not change their borders. However, while the bi-polar system of the political and military stand-off of the two superpowers continued, a triangular world system developed on the economic plane. During the 1970s Japan became a major economic force, while the integration of the European Economic Community continued. Since the end of World War II, the United States has had close economic ties with both of the economic powers.
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