The Struggle for the Third World: Soviet Debates and American Options

By Jerry F. Hough | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHT
Relations with the Third World

USUALLY WE think of foreign relations in government-to-government terms, but Soviet foreign relations have always been much broader. Thus after 1919 when the Soviet Union began to establish diplomatic relations, the really interesting issues concerned the policy to be followed toward noncommunist but anti-Western movements in the colonies, as well as the analogous movements under Kemal Ataturk in Turkey and Chiang Kaishek in China (see chapter 6).

Soviet relations with Turkey and China, for instance, could be complex. The Soviet Union maintained formal diplomatic relations with the pro-Western regimes in Constantinople and Peking and conducted correct--even friendly--relations with them. It also had an informal working relationship with the Manchurian warlord who had de facto control of the territory through which ran the Chinese eastern railroad to Vladisvostok. At the same time the Soviet Union also provided substantial military assistance to Ataturk and Chiang Kai-shek who were trying to overthrow the official governments, and, of course, it attempted to direct the activities of the local communists through the Communist International (Comintern). In China, in particular, the Soviet Union helped organize Chiang Kai-shek's party, the Kuomintang, and it ordered the Chinese communists to participate in it.

With the defeat of this policy in 1927-28 the Soviet Union in practice adopted a semi-isolationist policy toward the third world--reasonably friendly but passive governmental relations,1 often coupled with hard-line

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1
For a memoir containing a picture of the friendly relations between the Soviet Union and Iran, including a personal friendship between the ambassador's son and the future shah, see N. G. Pal'gunov, Tridtsat' let vospominaniia zhurnalista i diplomata ( Moscow: Politizdat, 1964), pp. 61-62.

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