Introduction by Marilyn Young, New York University


Review by Jeremy Friedman, Yale University



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Review by Jeremy Friedman, Yale University

When the Cold War ended in the "Third World," what really changed? After


all, communist regimes fell in Warsaw, Prague, Berlin, Budapest, etc. but
not in Beijing, Pyongyang, or Hanoi. The Leninist parties of Southern
Africa managed to consolidate their single-party systems. While Germany
re-united, China and Korea remained divided, and while peace came to
Southeast Asia and parts of Central America, it did not come to the Middle
East, Angola, or Afghanistan, among others. Latin American regimes were
still faced with their perpetual dilemma of how to develop and assert
themselves in a hemisphere dominated by the United States. Consequently,
the tasks set before the editors and authors of a volume entitled The End
of the Cold War and the Third World are quite intimidating. This book is
an extremely useful collection of works by the top scholars in the field,
using new archival materials, and the scope of the book and choices of
topics are original and interesting. An attempt to discuss the end of
the Cold War and the Third World, though, must begin, and perhaps end as
well, with the attempt to define the two key terms of the title, namely
"Cold War" and "Third World." Though the editors, in their introduction,
disavow any desire to discuss the term "Third World" in depth with the
quite reasonable explanation that such a discussion would require its own
volume, a number of the chapters bear directly upon these questions of
definition. In the end, the importance of the book, and the way forward
for scholarship in this field, depends greatly on what we mean by "Cold
War" and "Third World" and how those two terms do, or do not, relate to
each other.

Kalinovsky and Radchenko, in their choice of topics to be covered in the


book, have already implicitly made some statements in this regard. They
have admirably gone beyond the usual list of Cold War "hotspots" to
include chapters on Brazil, India, and the Latin American debt crisis,
thereby presenting a view of the Cold War in which the term must mean more
than merely a direct competition for influence between the United States
and the Soviet Union. Instead, the term "Cold War" signifies a
geopolitical framework which affected every country in the world both in
terms of its domestic and international politics. However, for some of
the authors, it seems that the Cold War nevertheless had its limits and
that some topics can be seen as beyond its purview. Duccio Basosi, in his
provocative piece on the Latin American debt crisis, writes that "While
the growth of poverty and social disparities registered in the continent
after such shock therapy were subject to multiple critiques, what is
relevant here is the fact that the debt crisis (and the US recipes to
confront it) did not engender a new cycle of North-South confrontation,
nor did it become a field of competition for the superpowers." In other
words, Basosi seems to be saying that what is relevant to the topic at
hand is the fact that the neoliberal transformation of Latin American
economies, achieved under some measure of duress, did not become part of
the "Cold War." This can perhaps be seen as being in tension with Chen
Jian's fascinating piece on China's withdrawal from the Cold War in the
1970s and 1980s, since Chen's main argument is that China's rejection of
the socialist model of development was a signal moment in the demise of
socialism as a world system with pretensions to future predominance.
Chen's argument implies that the Cold War was first and foremost a contest
between models of economic development, one with special relevance for the
"Third World," where rapid development was most sorely needed. However,
if at bottom the Cold War was about economics and development, then this
book actually says relatively little about the outcome of the Cold War in
the Third World. Perhaps future scholarship will devote more attention to
the question of the economic significance of the end of the Cold War,
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