AFRICA IN THE NEW ERA OF GREAT POWER RIVALRY | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

AFRICA IN THE NEW ERA OF GREAT POWER RIVALRY

To an extent, this is a déjà –vu all over again. As the British and French colonial empires, crippled by the two world wars which not only bankrupted them but also plainly demonstrated “colored” soldiers could fight as well as “white” ones, collapsed, the two superpowers promptly filled the void. While in some cases United States swiftly moved in as the French and the British were departing, leaving behind the elites their trained, those countries which experienced genuine national liberation movements nearly without exception opted for an alliance with USSR. Contrary to Western Cold War-era propaganda, USSR was an attractive partner for international cooperation for several reasons, which included the demonstrated ability at defeating Western powers at war (a major consideration for developing post-colonial states), the Marxist economic development model which succeeded in industrializing the country in the space of only one decade, and the absence of legalized racial discrimination which, until the late 1960s, was the norm in the United States.

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