- The Soviet Union and the Global Cold War
- Book title
- The Cambridge History of Communism. - Volume 3
- Book subtitle
- Endgames? Late Communism in Global Perspective, 1968 to the Present
- Pages (from-to)
- Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
- ISBN (electronic)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Regional, Transnational and European Studies (ARTES)
The Soviet Union always claimed to be an anti-imperialist power. What this meant in practice differed throughout the USSR’s seventy-year history, but between the 1950s and mid 1980 the decolonization of European empires and the Cold War confrontation with the United States (as well as the Sino-Soviet split) drew Moscow into ideological, economic and military competition for the so-called Third World. At the same time, engaging with the Third World meant confronting internal contradictions (such as the fact that the USSR was itself an empire) as well as the limits of the USSR’s model and its might.
This chapter will attempt a history of that engagement. Although it will not offer a comprehensive overview of Soviet foreign relations in the period, it will examine the changing role of Soviet power along several lines. This chapter will examine, first, the attractiveness of the Soviet model of development to countries in the Third World; second, the Soviet Union’s role in the militarization of postcolonial regimes and interventions in postcolonial conflicts; third, tensions between pursuing détente and the Soviet interest in the Third World throughout the 1970s; and, finally, the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and its significance for Soviet relations with the Third World in the 1980s and the end of the Cold War.
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