Introduction by Marilyn Young, New York University


particular if unsurprising strength, given the background of the editors)



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particular if unsurprising strength, given the background of the editors);
Chinese policies during the same period; the Arab-Israeli conflict; the
failure to establish stability in Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal;
the transition "from battlefield to marketplace" of Indochina; the end of
non-alignment in India; various issues concerning Latin America; and white
minority rule in Southern Africa. The result is a cohesive volume that
utilises "nitty-gritty work with evidence in archives the world over"4 to
explore a Cold War conceived of as more than just synonymous with military
or strategic superpower competition, but instead intersecting with other
historical forces such as decolonisation, economic development,
industrialisation, or pre-existing local national or ethnic conflicts.
Third World countries are no longer presented as merely an object of
superpower desire - a paradigm as inaccurate in history today as it was
destructive in geopolitics then - or a sideshow to the real Cold War in
Europe, but are accorded agency within a complex and multi-faceted
conception of international relations. The volume features exceptionally
impressive original research from Soviet archives, as well as substantial
material from Vietnamese, Hungarian, Mongolian, Bulgarian, Nicaraguan,
Brazilian, and American repositories, to name only the most salient, in
addition to a wealth of information gleaned from interviews and
manuscripts sources. Consequently, the volume provides both a mass of
original primary research for regional specialists interested in just one
or two chapters, and a complex, diverse, and rich conception of the end of
the Cold War that will attract scholars from a number of fields interested
in the subject as a whole. For both reasons, The End of the Cold War and
the Third World, though priced at a hefty £85, will doubtless become an
enduring staple of Cold War libraries.

The first part of this volume deals with superpower policies towards the


Third World; the (larger) second part their impact on various regional
conflicts and Third World actors. Bridging the two is Chen Jian's aptly
positioned chapter on China, which looks both at Beijing's policies
towards the Third World in its capacity as a superpower as well as its
repudiation of the Soviet path to modernisation as a Third World country
in its own right. Space considerations do not permit a thorough dissection
of all of the chapters; one is to be found in any case in Kalinovsky and
Radchenko's introduction. But the most prominent thread throughout the
volume - and characteristic of the stimulating insights that it offers -
is comprised of five contributions on Moscow's disengagement from the
Third World, two centred on its origin, and two on its effects in Southern
Africa.

The first of these chapters focuses on the reasons for Soviet


disengagement from the Third World from 1988 onwards. Svetlana
Savranskaya, in a piece of outstanding scholarship, argues that close
advisors long associated with Moscow's Third World policies had become
disillusioned with the traditional pattern of support to client regimes
that "proclaimed themselves to be socialist-oriented but were mainly
economically underdeveloped dictatorships"5 at much the same time that
Gorbachev realised that those policies constituted a serious obstacle to
co-operation with the West on arms control and other issues, his central
foreign policy priority. The result of this dovetailing was a sudden and
stark shift towards a "new thinking" that combined Soviet disengagement
with the resolution of long-running Third World conflicts. Moscow would
now endeavour to use the resolution of wars in the Third World that it had
fuelled to the benefit of its negotiating position with the West. "Soviet
analysis and rhetoric," Savranskaya explains, "now emphasised the local
roots of every conflict and rejected class-based or even superpower
interest-based descriptions of conflicts. Instead of class interests,
Soviet leaders now spoke of broader interests - building new cooperative
international security in close interaction with the US."6

This persuasive case is challenged in part by a brilliant argument from


Mark Kramer, equally well-grounded in newly uncovered Soviet archival
material. While agreeing with Savranskaya's identification of Gorbachev's
"new thinking" and his prioritisation of better relations with the West
over continued Soviet assistance to the Third World,7 Kramer argues that
the perceived decline in Soviet arms sales to the Third World, a key
element of its overall aid contributions, was not due to this "new
thinking". Instead, Kramer argues, with Moscow finding itself in
increasingly dire financial straits, it sought to increase arms sales to
its clients as a potential source of much-needed hard currency. However,
it found demand for arms severely limited due to the saturation of the
arms market by Western arms manufacturers (who were receiving fewer
contracts from Western governments themselves disengaging from the Third
World, but were more efficient and advanced than their Soviet
counterparts) and the financial troubles experienced by their old clients.
Further, Kramer argues that even while Gorbachev's foreign policy advisors
may have been arguing in favour of disengagement from the Third World, the
military was strongly advocating a renewed push for arms sales in an
endeavour to stymie Gorbachev's plans to redirect its resources towards
the consumer sector. This chapter, alongside Sue Onslow's analysis of the
media dimension of the Cold War through the lens of the Battle of Cuito
Cuanavale, remains the most original and provocative of the volume.

A second pair of chapters focuses on the impact of Soviet disengagement on


the decline of white minority rule in South Africa and South West
Africa/Namibia. In a thoughtful piece, Chris Saunders argues that the
Soviet Union's disengagement from Southern Africa both enabled Pretoria to
perceive the African National Congress as a nationalist body rather than a
proxy for Moscow's expansionist designs, a crucial precondition of the
peaceful transfer of power in South Africa, and removed Washington's
rationale for supporting Pretoria as a bulwark against communism in the
region. In this way, Cold War developments strongly militated in favour of
a transition to majority rule in both South Africa and South West
Africa/Namibia. Given the salient yet under-explored role anti-communist
doctrines long played in Pretoria's security concerns, particularly after
the transition of power in Angola and Mozambique to Marxist regimes in
1975-6, this is prima facie a persuasive thesis. However, it should be
noted that it is also a thesis popular with former officials of the
apartheid regime, as it inherently shifts responsibility for the failure
to move towards universal franchise away from their own race-based
political structures and norms and towards the communist doctrine of their
adversaries.

Vladimir Shubin, formerly a key figure in the execution of Soviet policy


on Southern Africa, takes a different stance, distinguishing between the
transfers of power in South West Africa/Namibia and South Africa. On South
West Africa/Namibia, Shubin suggests that it was Moscow's focus on the
resolution of long-running Third World conflicts (as part of the "new
thinking") that was pivotal to the 1988 New York agreements with South
Africa. In this analysis, Moscow constituted a "pillar of support" for
Angola and Cuba, rather than "twisting the arms" of their leaders.8 In
this way, the key precondition for progress out of the impasse on the
South West Africa/Namibian question was not Soviet disengagement, as
Saunders suggests, but Soviet involvement in a context of relaxed
international tensions. On South Africa, Shubin argues that after the
settlement on South West Africa/Namibia, Moscow indeed began to disengage
from the region - and to the detriment of the ANC. 9

Shubin's chapter remains problematic in precisely its areas of conflict


with Saunders'. First, his characterisation of Moscow's continued support
for Luanda and Havana - to the extent that it is made out as an argument
rather than as a series of recollections - relies heavily on his own
personal experience. It is not verified using objective archival evidence
and ultimately not challengeable by Saunders. Second, Shubin's argument
that Moscow's disengagement weakened the ANC's hand in negotiations with
Pretoria is simply not proven in this chapter (nor in his recent The Hot
"Cold War": The USSR in Southern Africa).10 It is a significant and
contentious point, yet neither Shubin nor Saunders makes any use of
archival material here to bolster their case. Of course, the point is not
that the disagreement between Shubin and Saunders or the
Savranskaya-Kramer juxtaposition in any way weakens the volume, but rather
the inverse. The end of the Cold War and the Third World remains a
diverse, complex, and fascinating topic involving issues of real
historical significance; differing interpretations are inevitable, even
welcome. One can only hope that more fruitful research will follow the
trail blazed by Kalinovsky and Radchenko's volume.

The End of the Cold War and the Third World is both professional and


insightful, but inevitably not exhaustive. A chapter on how the end of the
Cold War influenced Cuba, both domestically in the context of the
evaporation of its Soviet support, and abroad as the self-proclaimed
vanguard of anti-colonial struggle in Africa, would have been fascinating.
Another, perhaps by an economic historian, on how the end of the Cold War
affected global aid patterns to Third World countries into the 1990s would
also have been worthwhile. But it is the (acknowledged) absence of any
chapter dealing specifically with the change in American Third World
policies brought about by the end of the Cold War that constitutes a
serious omission. The authors attempt to compensate by offering a brief
overview of U.S. policy in the Introduction. But a couple of pages do not
suffice for a crucial dimension of the topic; the removal of the raison
d'être for U.S. involvement in Third World conflicts was nothing short of
pivotal to their resolution or evolution into the 1990s. This reviewer
applauds a long overdue focus on non-U.S. sources, perspectives, and
issues. But they should be pursued in tandem with the American dimension,
and certainly not to its exclusion. This is not a question of whether Cold
War history as a discipline is a broad enough church to encompass both the
more traditional approaches and the Westadian new wave (though plainly it
is). It is simply a recognition that if the Cold War as a system of
international relations was more interconnected than previously envisaged,
then surely Washington played a central role in the network of interests,
issues, developments, and conflicts that concern Cold War historians.
Here, the absence of even one chapter outlining how U.S. engagement in the
Third World was altered by the end of the Cold War only weakens the
volume, and quite unnecessarily.

A further point is that while Kalinovsky and Radchenko do well to provide


a methodological consistency to the volume, in the form of a
multi-archival and conceptually broad approach, the contributions are
never brought together to buttress any real conclusions about the end of
the Cold War and the Third World generally. As the editors note, the
volume only provides an account of "what happened and why" and leaves to
political scientists any sense of "overarching theoretical framework".11
The only conclusive message seems to be that the impact of the end of the
Cold War on the Third World was varied, complex, and diverse (which it
was). At times, traditionalist Cold War historians might be forgiven for
feeling that at its most basic this thesis amounts to a Cold War of
limitless conceptual and geographical breadth that was 'different in
nature in different places'. Such reductio ad absurdum aside, there is a
need for more overarching approaches to provide some cohesion to this new
conception of the Cold War. The dominant thesis in this field is that of
Odd Arne Westad, which clearly positions itself as a renegade challenge to
the old conceptions: "The Cold War is still generally assumed to have been
a context between two superpowers over military power and strategic
control, mostly centred on Europe. This book, on the contrary, claims that
the most important aspects of the Cold War were neither military nor
strategic, nor Europe-centred, but connected to political and social
development in the Third World."12 This provocative encapsulation,
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