No Longer Three Worlds
By the early 1990s the world could no longer be seen as divided, like Caesar’s Gaul, into three parts. That division had taken shape between the late 1940s and the 1960s. The Soviet Union had sealed off its newly enlarged domains behind its ‘iron curtain’, and joined hands with a China whose civil war had brought it under communist rule, to create a formidablelooking ‘east’. Fear of Soviet armed strength led most of the west European states to form, with the United States and Canada, the largest alliance that had ever existed in peacetime; with a few democratic ‘neutrals’, they constituted the ‘west’ – not a monolithic bloc, but a group which, under new pressures, was showing a new unity. Meanwhile, from 1946 onwards, decolonization in Asia and Africa (27) was creating new independent states whose basic interests were those of the ‘south’, or the ‘Third World’. East-west issues were of little
involved in east-west conﬂicts. An embodiment of this reluctance, the ‘non-aligned’ movement, launched in Belgrade in 1961, eventually drew in 113 member states.