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International Relations In The Era Of The Cold War Decolonisation Notes

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John Darwin. After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Press, 2008 O.A. Westad. The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005 Frank Füredi. Colonial Wars and the Politics of Third World Nationalism. London: IB Tauris, 1994 D.K. Fieldhouse. Black Africa 1945-80: Economic Decolonisation and Arrested Development. London: Allen & Unwin, 1986 David Strang (1991). Global Patterns of Decolonisation, 1500-1987. International Studies Quarterly, 35:4 Benjamin E. Goldsmith & Baogang He (2008). Letting Go without a Fight: Decolonisation, Democracy and War. Journal of Peace Research, 45:5 William Roger Louis (1985). American Anti-Colonialism and the Dissolution of the British Empire. International Affairs, 61:3 Paul K. MacDonald & Joseph M. Parent (2011). Graceful Decline? The Surprising Success of Great Power Retrenchment. International Security, 35:4 Michael E. Latham. 'The Cold War in the Third World, 1963-75'. Leffler &
O. A. Westad (eds). The Cambridge History of the Cold War, part ii


John Darwin. After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Press, 2008 Chapters 8 - Empire Denied

WWII renewed the argument for empire!
o Economic. Colonial powers concluded that post-war reconstruction required control of the colonies as a source of raw materials to be sold for dollars, necessary to pay for imports (control was necessary to get sub-market prices, paid in soft European currency). o Geostrategic. Soviet aggression in Central Europe would be deterred with air power: UK needed Middle East bases for bombing raids. France needed intact empire as source of military manpower and prestige to retain great power status.

The US underwrote the British Empire with $1bn/yr; propped up French Indochina.

Decolonisation: the 'demolition of a Europe-centred imperial order in which territorial empire was interlocked with extraterritorial 'rights'.

South-East Asia o Empire fell apart so quickly and could only stage a brief recovery because it was 'only shallowly rooted in much of South East Asia': impressive control over maritime periphery but only very tenuously in control of the inlands. o Western influence was asserted more forcefully after WWII than before thanks to American presence! US pegged Japan's currency, embargoed China and turned Okinawa into a large military base. o Japanese wartime occupation had given local political leaders just enough freedom and time to 'build new political loyalties and smash the old colonial machine': the colonial powers returned to new national governments! Offered devolution for co-option but far too unstable for any bargain to hold. Dutch failed to achieve acquiescence of Java; US refused to support a prolonged guerrilla war. France was able to hold out because large sections of Vietnamese society disliked Ho's nationalism, supported Bao Dai.

Middle East o UK recommitted itself: don't surrender assets unless totally untenable. It has leverage in Egypt because of internal political conflict between the monarchy and the landlord class. Pushed out of Egypt because national and regional politics made American support unfeasible; similarly UK wanted armed intervention in Iran but was put down by US.

Africa o Nobody thought African decolonisation was imminent! There had been no disruption through war (bar Ethiopia); zero prospect of pan-African nationalism; localised politics meant central resistance unlikely; invention of tribes was intensifying; white settler nationalism was the most potent political force. o Assumed that promises of transfer of power in the indefinite future after multiple stages would allow expansion of developmental state to expedite growth. 3

However, colonial states were extremely weak: could only avoid repression by promising devolution, to win the state popular legitimacy; had to use devolution where repression was used (e.g. Kenya) as this was unaffordable, unsustainable. Congo proved wisdom to UK of early withdrawal, before descent into disorder.

The American system was 'imperial in all but name'. Khrushchev tried to pre-empt and counteract this by exploiting fluidity in global politics before American power could become the dominant influence in the post-colonial world: bought Cuban sugar when US barred import; denounced UN failure to support Congo, etc. Post-1990 it has been 'the only world empire': 'empires exist to accumulate power on an extensive scale; the form that they take reflects prevailing conditions, not… an obsolete model'.


O.A. Westad. The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005 Chapter 3 - The Revolutionaries: Anticolonial Politics and Transformations

Decolonisation and Cold War had separate origins, but were inextricably linked.

Trace the beginning of the end of colonialism to WWI: utterly discredited ideas of European superiority, encouraging indigenous elites to find non-European alternatives. Some TW leaders looked to Triple Alliance or US as 'enemy's enemy', then to USSR as an anti-colonialist power and (putatively) a model for non-exploitative modernity.

Ideology is inseparable from independence: believed that without 'rapid social change', independence would be an 'empty shell'. Nationalist movements turned 'largely imaginary "traditions"' against the empires to recruit on basis of identity: even procapitalist revolutionaries (Atatürk, Shah) urged countrymen to shake of inferiority and 'build a new self-confidence based… on an understanding of the[ir] past achievements'.

WWII was the immediate catalyst for the end of colonialism: it 'destroyed both the will and the ability of European elites to keep their colonial possessions. Japanese victories encouraged nationalists that European colonialism was 'on its last leg'. Revolutionaries appealed the to the new superpowers to support them, as CW 'opened up new possibilities for aid and support'.

Nationalists inherited colonial states, taken as symbols of failure and with bureaucracies probably still colluding with the imperialists: turned to reconstruction of the functions of state - 'only through a massive mobilisation of manpower and resources could Third World countries break out from what was increasingly… termed "underdevelopment" - an economic and social situation under which countries… were less productive and therefore had less to offer their citizens in material terms than European countries'.

They aimed for 'jet propulsion' into modernity but were hindered by an international system designed to support the interests of the former metropolises. FDI did not materialise (partly because of statism) so statism intensified for goal of self-sufficiency, catalysed by leaders' discovery of real rates of rural poverty and the failure of earlier efforts (e.g. land reform).

Nationalities policies arose from a need for an 'effective and integrationist' state. Leaders feared that odds were against them and that divisions could be exploited by outside powers, so it was necessary to create a nation. Religion was inimical as the state's competitor for loyalty and means for bourgeois to "re-establish their complete cultural and political domination of the people" (Amílcar Cabral).

Superpower aid was a lubricating device for ending Western economic domination: nationalisations induced greater unproductivity, so needed to be offset lest this provoke unrest. However, these also came with strings attached!

Colonialism begot TW internationalism, intensified by appeals to pick sides - feared becoming pawns in the CW. Leaders urged TW unity at Bandung (1955); Nehru argued 5

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