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Subject Social Studies — US History, World History
Grade Level Grades 9-12, Higher Education
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Attribution Non-commercial NoDerivative

CC (BY-NC-ND)

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In the aftermath of the Cold War, East-West relations had a chance at a reset. In a move that remains controversial, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) offered membership to some former Soviet republics and satellite states that sought to join the alliance. Opponents argued the move alienated Russia, but others countered it accelerated countries’ paths to democracy. At one point, Russia itself expressed interest in joining the alliance, but that ultimate concession to the West never materialized. Today, Russian actions in Europe and around the world are again a source of tension. Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) has grown into an influential political bloc with twenty-seven members (excluding the UK, which voted to leave in 2016). It leverages this strength in numbers to drive its agenda on global challenges, like data privacy and climate change, though its members diverge on some foreign policy areas, like their willingness to cooperate with China.

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