There may still be some historians who persist in thinking about the Cold
War as a long peace, whose faux battlefield was European. Most, however,
have long recognized that it was more hot than cold and fought for real in
Asia, Africa and Latin America. The End of the Cold War and the Third
World, like Odd Arne Westad's Global Cold War1, addresses this reality in
a collection of essays that include consideration of Chinese and Soviet
policy, Afghanistan, India, Latin America, Southern Africa and, for good
measure, Israel and Palestine.
Collections of essays are notoriously difficult to review. Most reviewers
praise some contributions, disparage others and conclude on a note of
moderate pleasure that the book exists. According to Jamie Miller,
however, Kalinovsky and Radachenko's volume breaks the mold, fulfilling
its claim to have gone "'further than anything published so far in
systematically explaining, from both the perspectives of the superpowers
and those of Third World countries, what the end of bipolarity meant not
only for the underdeveloped periphery, so long enmeshed in ideological,
socio-political and military conflicts sponsored by Washington, Moscow, or
Beijing, but also for the broader patterns of international relations.'"2
Before discussing the book itself, Miller reflects on the consequences of
Cold War rivalry - often absurdist and frequently devastating -- which
allied the Soviet Union and the U.S. to rival regimes in the Third World
"which not only had no hope of replicating the desired model society, but
also did a huge disservice to the values the superpower espoused." He is
full of praise for the extraordinary range of archival research the
contributors bring to bear on their subjects as well as for the
organization of the book itself, which begins with an account of Soviet
and American Third World policies and proceeds to examine the impact of
the collapse of the Soviet Union not only on specific countries but on
regional conflicts as well. Miller finds particularly valuable two sets of
articles whose conclusions are sharply at odds: Vladimir Shubin's and
Chris Saunders' on Southern Africa and Svetlana Savranskaya's and Mark
Kramer's on the reasons for the Soviet draw down in the Third World. For
all the book's riches, Miller was disappointed by several absences: of an
economic historian's account of changes in patterns of aid world-wide;
and, in particular, by the lack of an essay dedicated to changes in U.S.
policies in the Third World (the latter acknowledged by the authors in
Jeremy Friedman too would have liked to have seen more attention paid to
economic aspects of post-Cold War policies in the Third World, though,
like Miller, he was impressed by the sheer range of countries and topics
that were included. After duly praising the contributions, his review
goes on to raise a number of fundamental questions, among them: what
happened to the Third World project in the waning days of the Cold War?
Was it simply a product of the Cold War and thus disappeared when the
latter ended? Did the Cold War in fact create the Third World and, if so,
in what sense does it continue to exist? The End of the Cold War and the
Third World, Friedman suggests, is an excellent starting point for a range
of questions that move beyond those raised by the book itself.
Michael Latham's review outlines the main themes the book raises,
beginning with the centrality of the economic development of the Third
World and the threat, to the American system at any rate, of independent
paths towards development taken by several states in Latin America,
including Nicaragua and Chile. A second theme concerns the impact of the
end of the Cold War on countries like South Africa, where the alleged
threat of communism had played a role in U.S. support for the apartheid
regime as opposed to the Arab-Israeli conflict which has long outlasted
the Cold War. Like Miller, Latham regrets the lack of an essay devoted to
the U.S. itself and adds that one on Cuba would also have been welcome.
In future, he suggests, other topics might be included in a consideration
of the impact of the end of the Cold War on the non-European world, as for
example migration and agricultural and food policies, among others.
Finally, and most intriguingly, Latham suggests the possibility of a
reverse optic: how did events in the Third World contribute to an end to
the Cold War?
Vijay Prashad starts where Latham concludes arguing that although
attention to Asia, Africa and Latin America would seem to distinguish the
volume from standard Cold War accounts, it treats the Third World as a
battleground rather than itself an actor. Had the editors begun where
Prashad believes they should have, the "neutering" of the Non-Aligned
Movement and the disappearance of the Third World Project would have been
central considerations. Prashad goes on to outline the ways in which "the
demise of the old order was actually premised on the emergence of a new
one, and that this new one was a lever for the destruction of the older."
While Prashad's approach would broaden the context and introduce new
processes, like the other reviewers he finds much to praise in the volume
as it exists.
For his part, Heonik Kwon was glad to see that Kalinovsky and Radchenko
asked the very questions about time, space and meaning he had urged on
historians in his own book, The Other Cold War. 3 The editors, like Kwon
himself, reject the notion that there was ever "such a thing as the Cold
War." Instead, the "polarizing, polarized world community...experienced
bipolar global politics in radically different ways across different
regions....." The collected essays enable an understanding of the
plurality of experience represented by the oxymoronic notion of a Cold War
and go far towards realizing a genuinely global history "that is attentive
to locally variant historical realities."
Artemy M. Kalinovsky is Assistant Professor of East European Studies at
the University of Amsterdam and a Research Associate at the Centre for
Diplomacy and Strategy at the London School of Economics. He is the
co-editor, with Sergey Radchenko, of The End of the Cold War and the Third
World (Routledge, 2011). He earned his Ph.D. from the London School of
Economics. His current research focuses on the development of Soviet
Sergey Radchenko is Lecturer at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China.
He is the author of the forthcoming Half a Leap across an Abyss: How
Russia Lost Asia and the Cold War (Oxford UP, 2013) and of Two Suns in the
Heavens: the Sino-Soviet Struggle for Supremacy (Woodrow Wilson Center
Press & Stanford UP, 2009). He co-authored (with Campbell Craig) The
Atomic Bomb and the Origins of the Cold War (Yale UP, 2008). Radchenko and
Artemy Kalinovsky also co-edited The End of the Cold War in the Third
World: New Perspectives on Regional Conflict (Taylor and Francis, 2011).
Marilyn Young is Collegiate Professor of History at New York University.
She worked with Ernest May and John King Fairbanks at Harvard on her
dissertation, Rhetoric of Empire: American China Policy,
1895-1901(Harvard University Press, 1969) ; co-authored with William
Rosenberg, Transforming Russia and China: Transforming Russia and China:
Revolutionary Struggle in the 20th Century (Oxford University Press,
1980); and The Vietnam Wars, 1945-1990 (HarperCollins, 1991) as well as a
number of edited works.
Jeremy Friedman is currently a Chauncey Post-Doctoral Fellow in Grand
Strategy in International Security Studies at Yale University. He
received his Ph.D. from Princeton University for his dissertation entitled
"Reviving Revolution: the Sino-Soviet Split, the 'Third World,' and the
Fate of the Left." He published an article in Cold War History in May
2010 entitled "Soviet Policy in the Developing World and the Chinese
Challenge in the 1960s" and he is currently working on producing a
monograph based on his dissertation, among other projects.
Heonik Kwon is a professorial senior research fellow of social
anthropology at Trinity College, University of Cambridge. Author of
several prizewinning books including Ghosts of War in Vietnam (2008) and
The Other Cold War (2010), he is currently directing an international
project, "Beyond the Korean War," which explores the history and memory of
the Korean War in local and global contexts. His new co-authored book is
North Korea Beyond Charismatic Politics (2012). He may be contacted at
Michael E. Latham is professor of history at Fordham University. He is
the author of Modernization as Ideology: American Social Science and
"Nation Building" in the Kennedy Era (2000) and The Right Kind of
Revolution: Modernization, Development, and U.S. Foreign Policy from the
Cold War to the Present (2011).
Jamie Miller is a doctoral student in the Faculty of History at the
University of Cambridge. His research focuses on South Africa's foreign
policy strategies in the context of the Cold War, 1974-1980. He recently
won the Saki Ruth Dockrill Memorial Prize at the International Graduate
Conference on the Cold War; the winning paper is forthcoming in Cold War
History. He has also been published in the New Critic and has written
several book reviews for the Cambridge Review of International Affairs.
Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair of South Asian
History, and Professor and Director of International Studies, Trinity
College, Hartford, CT. He is the author of The Darker Nations: A People's
History of the Third World (New York: New Press, 2008), which won the 2009
Muzaffar Ahmad Book Award. In 2012, Verso Press will publish his The
Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South, which will carry
forward the events of the Global South from 1973 to the present.
1 Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the
Making of our Times, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
2 Artemy M. Kalinovsky and Sergey Radchenko, "Introduction," in The End of
the Cold War and the Third World : New Perspectives on Regional Conflict
(London ; New York: Routledge, 2011), 7.
3 Heonik Kwon, The Other Cold War (N.Y.: Columbia University Press, 2010).