Creating the Third World

Another important point which needs to be made about the historic Cold War is that once it got started, it engulfed the whole world. Virtually no one was left untouched by it. Hence, one should expect that today’s conflict between Russia and the West will engulf the whole global community, as it did in the past. Also, once the Cold War took on a global scale and scope, the war was ultimately decided in the Third World, specifically Afghanistan. And aside from being a proxy war with military and ideological dimensions, the Cold War was essentially a battle for hearts and minds in the Third World. 

As a result, aside from the three aforementioned advantages which Moscow has over Washington at the moment, which include a command economy, economic assets and resources, and experienced leadership, another advantage that Moscow could wield over Washington is the fact that American foreign policy is not very popular in the Third World at the moment. There are a variety of reasons for why American foreign policy is not very popular. One of them is the fact that American intervention in the Third World almost always includes an imposition of foreign values and the effort to change people’s way of life, in addition to classism, economic subjugation, and political oppression. 

Another reason is the biased stance towards the Arab-Israeli conflict on the part of Washington. But above all else, and as Odd Arne Westad argued, American interventions in the Third World buoyed American economic and ideological considerations, the aim of which was to maintain a global capitalist system and to thwart collectivist systems from taking root around the world. In a sense, the aim for Washington was to make other countries look “more like America.” Making other countries look like America requires a level of intrusiveness and intervention which is not only hard to sustain over the long run, but the intrusiveness and intervention also leads to a kind of political and social upheaval in other countries which is detrimental and obstructive to their efforts of socioeconomic and sociopolitical development.

Nevertheless, drawing China and the Third World closer through diplomatic and social means is one of the most strategic goals and objectives for Washington in this conflict with Russia. And even if tilting the balance of power against Russia this time around will not lead to the disintegration and fragmentation of Russia as it did the last time around, what the tilting of the balance of power can do is establish a sort of power equilibrium between the two sides, which would be a better situation than the one Washington finds itself in at the moment. Arguably, diplomatic efforts towards China and the Third World will also have to go forward in conjunction with dialogue and negotiations with Russia itself, as it did the first time around, in order to achieve the goal of equilibrium. In turn, establishing equilibrium between the West and Russia could arguably be synonymous with the establishment of global order, given that the current disequilibrium in relations between Russia and the West carries global and widespread consequences and implications. 

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