Introduction by Marilyn Young, New York University


Review by Michael E. Latham, Fordham University



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Review by Michael E. Latham, Fordham University

Artemy M. Kalinovsky and Sergey Radchenko have assembled a valuable and


insightful collection of essays. As they note in a well-framed and
thoughtful introduction, the end of the Cold War has produced a great deal
of historical and popular political analysis. Yet the vast majority of
that work has centered on the dynamics of Soviet-American détente, the
collapse of state socialism across Eastern Europe, and the diplomatic
twists and turns linking Gorbachev, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. If one
sticks with a vision of the Cold War as a "long peace" between Soviet and
American adversaries, that result might not be surprising. But as
Kalinovsky and Radchenko correctly argue, the Cold War was fundamentally
fought out in a Third World powerfully shaped by decolonization,
nationalism, revolution, and aspirations for rapid economic development.
By providing a volume seeking to explore the impact of the Cold War's end
across a broad range of Third World cases, the editors have taken an
important step toward deepening our understanding of the period's lasting
significance and continuing effects. With two essays on Soviet policy,
three on Latin America, three on Southern Africa, and one each on China,
the Arab-Israeli conflict, Afghanistan, Indochina, and India, the book is
also remarkably broad in its scope.

While time and space prevent me from discussing each of the book's


thirteen chapters individually, I would like to reflect on several themes
that they collectively raise. First and foremost, the essays point toward
the overwhelming salience of economic development as a pivotal force in
the Cold War's trajectory in the Third World. In one of the book's
strongest contributions, Chen Jian identifies the 1970s as a key period in
the Cold War's evolution. As he explains, Mao Zedong's declaration of a
new "three worlds" thesis in 1973-1974 constituted an important shift in
Chinese strategic thinking. Rather than defining the clash between
competing political ideologies and the divisions between communism and
capitalism as the central lines organizing the world, Mao instead stressed
economic development as the crucial index. The superpowers of the United
States and the Soviet Union, he stated, together constituted a "first
world." Relatively developed states like those in Western Europe, along
with Canada, Japan, and Australia made up the second. China, finally,
joined the much larger number of developing nations in Africa, Latin
America, and Asia in the Third World. As Chen argues, this radical
departure from the Cold War's orthodoxy set the scene for China's own
domestic pursuit of economic liberalization under Deng Xiaoping as well as
its growing detachment from anti-capitalist revolutionary movements
elsewhere. Moving to open diplomatic relations with Thailand, Malaysia,
and even the Philippines, all formerly considered "lackeys of US
imperialism," (110) and concluding that the Soviets were far more
dangerous rivals than the Americans, China effectively departed from the
Cold War fifteen years before its ultimate end. For China's leadership,
the turn toward economic liberalization, or "reform and opening,"
ultimately trumped the older, Maoist ambitions of "continuous revolution."
That conclusion in itself is not new to historians. But it does
certainly suggest the merits of focusing on the way that for policymakers
in China, and much of the Third World, the imperatives of economic
development ultimately led to choices that cut against the grain of the
Cold War's established ideological divisions.

Victor Figueroa Clark's insightful essay on the end of the Cold War in


Latin America presents a complementary perspective. While the Reagan
administration protested against campaigns of Soviet subversion and
political direction throughout Latin America, Clark demonstrates the
extent to which the Chilean Left as well as the Nicaraguan Sandinistas
were committed to their own programs of socialist economic development.
It was their challenge to patterns of landholding, investment, trade, and
ongoing economic ties between established Latin American elites and United
States, moreover, that helped build a formidable anti-revolutionary
opposition. The fact that U.S. hostility to Left-leaning governments in
Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Bolivia continues even today, he writes, is
evidence that such economic forces have continued to transcend the Cold
War's conclusion. As he explains, the real source of anxiety in
Washington during the Cold War and into the present was that Latin
American governments would "be able to carry our modernization together
with broad socio-economic development that would encourage country after
country to abandon the inter-American system that formed the basis of US
global economic and political power" (205).

Matias Spektor's discussion of Brazil's assessments of the end of the Cold


War stresses economic development as a central variable as well. While
Brazil experienced tremendous economic growth, moving from a rural,
undeveloped economy in the 1940s to a rapidly industrializing, urban, "top
ten, economy in the world at the end of the Cold War," (230), it did so in
ways that did not always square with Washington's prescriptions. High
tariffs, domestic subsidies, and foreign investment restrictions promoted
domestic capitalist enterprises and shielded them from competition.
Industrial policies largely served internal instead of export markets and
state-owned enterprises played prominent roles in the national economy.
For a comparatively strong state like Brazil, the Cold War structure
remained relatively permissive, and the United States tolerated deviations
from its prescribed orthodoxy. After 1989, however, Brazilians had good
reason to fear that the United States would drive home a much more
intrusive and restrictive neoliberal approach.

Beyond highlighting the extent to which issues of economic development


drove and ultimately transcended the experience of Third World countries
during the Cold War, this volume's essays also illustrate the diverse
impact of the Cold War's end on in a wide range of settings. In some
cases, most notably in South Africa, the end of the Cold War helped
promote a resolution of devastating conflicts, setting the stage for new,
democratic solutions. As Chris Saunders explains in a clearly argued
chapter, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States could
hardly continue to shore up Pretoria's apartheid regime in the name of
opposing the spread of communism across southern Africa. Gorbachev's
desire to improve Soviet relations with the United States and his
encouragement of the African National Congress to pursue a negotiated
solution played a significant role as well. Saunders is careful to
acknowledge the significance of Cuba's successful military action in
achieving a solution in Namibia, and he clearly states that the end of
apartheid itself was ultimately the result of sustained, internal
resistance by the South African people. Yet his argument that the end of
the Cold War was a crucial "secondary factor" (273) in the achievement of
a settlement and an eventual democratic transition is very persuasive as
well.

In other cases, however, the book's essays make it clear that fundamental


political tensions that were rooted outside the Cold War were largely
unaffected by its end. As Dima Adamsky explains, Israeli policymakers
understood the Cold War as a force that clearly "conditioned" but did not
"determine" the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict (131). While the
Soviet Union certainly sought to influence the behavior of clients like
Syria, Egypt, and Iraq, those states frequently pressed their own agendas
and initiatives in direct opposition to Moscow's preferences. In a
similar fashion, Israel also refused to toe the United States line, most
notably in the Six Day War and its aftermath. The Cold War's end did
facilitate the turn toward the Oslo peace process by leading key Israeli
policymakers to expect that in a world in which the United States stood as
the sole superpower, Israel would hold a consistent military edge over
Arab states and its regional security would be preserved. Yet Israeli
defense officials also watched with anxiety as their radical adversaries
forged new alliances with Iran and Syria, and turned toward new means of
unconventional warfare as well, including missiles and terrorism. As the
fundamental sources of the Arab-Israeli conflict were rooted far outside
the dynamics of U.S.-Soviet rivalry, they clearly continued to transcend
the Cold War's end as well.

As compelling as many of the book's chapters are, the volume would have


been stronger if the editors had considered a few possible changes.
First, as Kalinovsky and Radchenko note in their introduction, the book
lacks a comprehensive chapter dealing with the impact of the Cold War's
end on United States policy toward the Third World. While U.S. actions
and responses are discussed to some degree in several of the essays, the
absence of a broad-gauge chapter on American policies, while there are two
on the USSR and one on China, leaves the work unbalanced. Given the
extent to which Havana played a pivotal role in several of the Latin
American and South African cases discussed, a chapter on Cuban policy
would have been a welcome addition too.

More broadly, most of the chapters focus on diplomatic policymaking at the


highest levels, leaving aside questions of the impact of the end of the
Cold War on the social, intellectual, and cultural history of the Global
South. One chapter by Sue Onslow and Simon Bright takes steps in a more
innovative direction by analyzing the struggle to control media
representations of the war in Angola, but far more might be done to widen
the focus of inquiry beyond elite policymaking to encompass a broader
range of questions about the way that the end of the Cold War affected
other international and transnational forces as well. Kalinovsky,
Radchenko, and their contributors have accomplished a great deal, and many
of these questions are clearly beyond the scope of the work. But perhaps
future researchers might consider the way that the end of the Cold War
affected such topics as the migration of labor within and out of the
Global South, agricultural and food policy in diverse parts of the Third
World, transnational discussions of the future of Third World socialism,
or the role of the United Nations in peacekeeping across the Global South.

Finally, most of the book's essays deal with the impact of the end of the


Cold War on the Third World, examining the way that the conclusion of that
global ideological struggle affected particular geographic cases. But
what if one were to reverse that framing, and ask questions about the way
that the dynamics of Third World conflicts ultimately contributed to the
end of the Cold War itself? How did superpower engagement across the
Global South, and the frustrations of Washington and Moscow in seeking to
direct national movements, policies, and economic development there, help
to expose the limits of great power ambitions, promote détente, and
ultimately contribute to the Cold War's resolution? Artemy Kalinovsky's
essay addresses the pivotal impact of the Soviet failure in Afghanistan in
that light, and one wonders if other examples might be worth considering
here as well.

On the whole, however, this is an outstanding work, and one that will be


of great use to historians and students. Kalinovsky and Radchenko have
accomplished a great deal by pushing our interest in the end of the Cold
War beyond its typical Euro-American boundaries. Further research should
help us to build productively upon their work.

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