Courtesy Reuters

The United States and the Third World: A Basis for Accommodation

The United States has passed in the last decade from the United Nation's most influential state into a position of accelerating isolation as it confronts a very large proportion of the member states over a long agenda of contemporary issues. This is a truly novel development, one which threatens to poison international relations at a time that shrieks with the need for uniquely broad essays in international cooperation.

Three issues shape what may be called the North-South confrontation. One is the question of how global income and wealth and decision-making authority with respect to international economic problems should be distributed. A second issue is the attitude of the United States toward the two white-supremacist regimes in Southern Africa. And the third is the U.S. role in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Although each issue represents a distinct axis of confrontation, they are linked by a single world view, a kind of ideology, which imparts to them an intense emotional coherence. That ideology is not, as suggested recently by Ambassador Moynihan, "socialist," unless one follows Durkheim in defining socialism not as a political program but rather as "a cry of pain." It does indeed incorporate certain themes which recur in British socialist thought, just as it patches in a number of conventionally liberal ideals such as self-determination. But socialist and liberal fragments are reshaped by a special historical experience to produce in practice a distinct amalgam which can most usefully be described as the developing states in fact describe it: "anticolonialism."


The paramount objective of the anticolonialist amalgam is the eradication of all the conditions and insignia of inequality and humiliation associated in the minds of the Southern elites with the epoch of European domination. This objective guides Southern positions across a broad spectrum of contemporary issues.

One vivid illustration of the adaptation of a Western liberal theme to the felt exigencies of anticolonialism is the contrasting attitude toward inequality and the deprivation of human rights in the white enclaves of Southern

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