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The Third World and U.S.-Soviet Competition
Henry (Genrikh Alexandrovich) Trofimenko heads the department for the study of U.S. foreign policy in the Institute of U.S. and Canadian Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the U.S.S.R. He is the author of a number of books and numerous articles on U.S. foreign policy and on Soviet-American relations.See more by this author
The overdramatized political and diplomatic reaction of Washington to the military aid which the U.S.S.R. and Cuba have given to Angola and Ethiopia and, in recent times, to the aid which the U.S.S.R. has offered Afghanistan, has been one of the major factors clouding Soviet-American relations in the last few years. Alluding not only to these events but also to the general support and assistance which the Soviet Union and other socialist countries have been giving the Third World movements for national and social liberation, the American press has been claiming for years that while the United States and the Soviet Union seem to have agreed on stabilizing the world situation, the Soviet Union has been destabilizing it by its actions. In point of fact, the charge that the Soviet Union has "broken the rules of détente" in the developing world has been one of the main pretexts used by the Ford and Carter Administrations in domestic debates to try to justify their own abandonment of the policy of détente.
Whatever the American leadership may do to shun this policy, neither of our two nations will ever escape to another planet. As Henry Kissinger rightly remarked once, we are doomed to coexist. And whether we like it or not, the problem of the developing nations will remain one of the major irritants (not tranquilizers) in Soviet-American relations, for the development of emergent nations is taking place in the context of an intense confrontation of the two world social systems.
This confrontation cannot fail to have a profound impact on the course of events in these countries. Therefore, to prevent these events leading to an unwanted crisis or conflict, it is necessary to have at least a modicum of understanding of the policy and the position of each side, as well as of the very problem of the developing nations in the modern world.
Without in any way aspiring to convert the readers of this journal, I should like to present a view of the processes occurring in the developing world today, and of the Soviet and American roles in these processes-a view which is somewhat different from the one currently popular in the American press.