The Other Cold War: Canada's Military Assistance to the Developing World 1945-1975

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The Other Cold War: Canada's Military Assistance to the Developing World 1945-1975. By Christopher R. Kilford. Kingston, Ontario: Canadian Defence Academy Press, 2010. Tables. Notes. Bibliography. Index. Pp 318. Free paperback ISBN: 978-1-100-14338-5

Interest in the particulars of the Cold War seems to diminish with the passing of each year. Perhaps, ironically, that is so because everyone living on this planet at that time had to contend either directly or indirectly with the possibility of nuclear annihilation or the lasting effects of nuclear winter. A global sigh of relief was experienced with its ending and a sense that it was now time to move beyond its era of pervading fear. The 45-year-long nightmare has been over for some 23 years, and the Cold War has been increasingly relegated to the dustpan of history. In light of that, it is interesting to occasionally read a book that addresses some aspect of the struggle, especially when the key players are not Russians, Communist Chinese, or Americans. This is one such work.

Kilford, a Canadian Forces officer, has produced an informative book on Canada's Cold War military assistance programs and, as well, a look back, for contrast, to 19th century examples of the impact of military modernization on emerging nations. Early on he explains the perhaps overly optimistic view held by some in the West that if a developing country first creates a modern military the ripple effect on that nation would be felt in needed improvements in its economic, educational, and political sectors. Under the shadow of the Cold War, the presence of military assistance teams from NATO nations also would allow for significant influence by the West on developing countries. The need for hands-on involvement by the West was made glaringly clear in the post-colonial period when Soviet Premier Khrushchev promised support for wars of national liberation--wars intended to be fought for control of emerging nations. …