The End of the Cold War and the Third World: New Perspectives on Regional Conflict

The End of the Cold War and the Third World: New Perspectives on Regional Conflict

The End of the Cold War and the Third World: New Perspectives on Regional Conflict

The End of the Cold War and the Third World: New Perspectives on Regional Conflict


This book brings together recent research on the end of the Cold War in the Third World and engages with ongoing debates about regional conflicts, the role of great powers in the developing world, and the role of international actors in conflict resolution.

Most of the recent scholarship on the end of the Cold War has focused on Europe or bilateral US-Soviet relations. By contrast, relatively little has been written on the end of the Cold War in the Third World: in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. How did the great transformation of the world in the late 1980s affect regional conflicts and client relationships? Who "won" and who "lost" in the Third World and why do so many Cold War-era problems remain unresolved? This book brings to light for the first time evidence from newly declassified archives in Russia, the United States, Eastern Europe, as well as from private collections, recent memoirs and interviews with key participants.  It goes further than anything published so far in systematically explaining, both from the perspectives of the superpowers and the 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.

This book will be of much interest to students of the Cold War, war and conflict studies, third world and development studies, international history, and IR in general.


Artemy M. Kalinovsky and Sergey Radchenko

In October 1990 the US Congress voted to curb covert aid to some of Washington’s long-time clients in the Third World – UNITA guerrillas in Angola, mujahadeen in Afghanistan and anti-Communist rebels in Cambodia. Unimpressed with the increasingly outdated efforts to defend the Reagan doctrine in the struggle with revolutionary regimes and movements in Latin America, the lawmakers halved the aid package destined for El Salvador. The use of humanitarian aid for express political purposes was explicitly prohibited. As Congress increasingly attached conditions to aid packages, obtaining loans from the US became ever more difficult for countries like Pakistan, Kenya, and Zaire. The prevailing sentiment on Capitol Hill was that, with the Cold War peacefully winding down, it was time for Washington to quietly end its various Third World commitments.

Moscow’s retreat from the Third World began even earlier; its most potent symbol was the semi-dignified withdrawal from Afghanistan following the signing of the Geneva Accords, in April 1988. Soviet advisers who had labored on behalf of the socialist promise in distant places were recalled or, unpaid or altogether abandoned, returned on their own account. Soviet economic collapse reduced the flow of aid to the Third World to a mere trickle by 1990. Mikhail Gorbachev, who had gone cap in hand from summit to summit asking for aid, lost interest in former clients, although on occasion he called on his Western partners to join hands in offering multilateral aid to the Third World. Ideas of a similar kind were floated in academia and broader policy circles in the US and the Soviet Union alike; one paper, co-written by an American and a Russian academic (a sign of the times!), wrote of “a growing sense that Soviet and US interests converge in the long run on peaceful alternatives to the political instability and economic deprivation that now characterize many developing countries.”

And who could argue with that! The end of the Cold War seemed to herald a bright new future for the Third World, for at last, it seemed, bloodshed inspired by ideological zeal and supported by the flow of arms from, or by interventions on the part of, the two superpowers, could be set . . .

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