chapter  2
Moscow and the Third World: The Record
WithW. Raymond Duncan, Carolyn McGiffert Ekedahl
Pages 22

This chapter provides a brief assessment of the USSR's Third World position and prospects as the new regime might have viewed them. Post-World War II developments in the Third World provided the Soviets numerous opportunities to expand their presence and influence at Western expense. In the Middle East, the creation of Israel and the resulting Arab-Israeli conflict provided an opening for Moscow in its efforts to court emerging radical Arab states. The collapse of the Portuguese empire in Africa provided additional emerging states for Moscow to cultivate. Moscow's hard currency earnings from the Third World came primarily from arms sales and were vital in improving its balance of payments position and allowing it to import Western technology. The growing complexity of the Third World environment and of Moscow's involvement in it fostered an internal Soviet discussion of the situation long before Mikhail Gorbachev's ascension to power.