Revolutionary States, Leaders, and Foreign Relations: A Comparative Study of China, Cuba, and Iran

By R. K. Ramazani; Houman A. Sadri | Go to book overview

1

TYPOLOGY AND TERMINOLOGY OF REVOLUTIONS

Much has been and continues to be written about revolutions, but there is no consensus among experts about definitions of concepts or about the process of revolution itself. In order to clarify the major assumption of this book, it is necessary to briefly define the terms that I use.


REVOLUTIONS AND THE REVOLUTIONARY STATE

All developing countries are not revolutionary in nature, and all revolutionary states are not part of the developing world. This statement is theoretically sound and has been practically accurate up to the demise of the Soviet Union. The former Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies were revolutionary in nature, but they were considered to be developed countries. Thus, the scope of this study is limited to those states that are both developing countries and members of an exclusive club—revolutionaries. Interestingly enough, all revolutionary developing countries have asserted that they pursue a foreign policy independently of the great powers. In many corners, this foreign relations strategy is known as non-alignment. The three states in this study—China, Cuba, and Iran—are all considered to be revolutionary states, although each is currently at a different stage in its economic and political development. These three developing countries have all, at one time or another, explicitly or implicitly accepted the principle of non-alignment. Thus, there is a philosophical connection between the concepts of revolution and nonalignment. Before analyzing this connection, however, I must examine the notions of revolution and revolutionary state.

Revolution is a nebulous term, one that is interpreted differently by different scholars. Crane Brinton, a well-known student of revolutions, stated that revolution

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Revolutionary States, Leaders, and Foreign Relations: A Comparative Study of China, Cuba, and Iran
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Typology and Terminology of Revolutions 9
  • 2 - Non-Alignment as a Foreign Policy Strategy 17
  • 3 - Chinese Foreign Relations, 1949-1959 35
  • Notes 58
  • 4 - Cuban Foreign Relations, 1959-1969 65
  • 5 - Iranian Foreign Relations, 1979-1989 87
  • 6 - Conclusion 115
  • Selected Bibliography 133
  • Index 141
  • About the Author 149
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