The Soviet Union and the Horn of Africa during the Cold War

The Soviet Union and the Horn of Africa during the Cold War : Between Ideology and Pragmatism

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At the height of the Cold War, Soviet ideologues, policymakers, diplomats, and military officers perceived the countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America as the future reserve of socialism, holding the key to victory over Western forces. The zero-sum nature of East-West global competition induced the United States to try to thwart Soviet ambitions. The result was predictable: the two superpowers engaged in proxy struggles against each other in faraway, little-understood lands, often ending up entangled in protracted and highly destructive local fights that did little to serve their own agendas. Using a wealth of recently declassified sources, this book tells the complex story of Soviet involvement in the Horn of Africa, a narrowly defined geographic entity torn by the rivalry of two large countries (Ethiopia and Somalia), from the beginning of the Cold War until the demise of the Soviet Union. At different points in the twentieth century, this region--arguably one of the poorest in the world--attracted broad international interest and large quantities of advanced weaponry, making it a Cold War flashpoint. The external actors ultimately failed to achieve what they wanted from the local conflicts--a lesson relevant for U.S. policymakers today as they ponder whether to use force abroad in the wake of the unhappy experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 310 pages
  • 149 x 232 x 25mm | 494g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1 Graphs; 2 Tables, unspecified; 6 Maps
  • 1498529119
  • 9781498529112
  • 1,323,398

Table of contents

Chapter 1: Rediscovering the Horn: September 1947-July 1960
Chapter 2: Enter Somalia: July 1960-October 1969
Chapter 3: Hedging Bets in Addis: February 1964-October 1969
Chapter 4: Engaging Mogadishu: October 1969-March 1976
Chapter 5: Ethiopia in Turmoil: February 1974-December 1976
Chapter 6: Bidding on Power of Diplomacy: February-July 1977
Chapter 7: Diplomacy of Power, Unleashed: August 1977-December 1978
Chapter 8: Ethiopia, the Unwieldy Ally: December 1978-March 1985
Chapter 9: The Road to Withdrawal: March 1985-May 1991
Conclusion: Empire on the Edge
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Review quote

No part of sub-Saharan Africa was more deeply involved in the Cold War, and over a longer period, than the Horn. Drawing especially on the archives of the Soviet Bloc countries, Radoslav A. Yordanov is able to offer extensive new insights and information into this important arena of superpower competition.--Christopher Clapham, Cambridge University Radoslav A. Yordanov's book, The Soviet Union and the Horn of Africa during the Cold War, is undoubtedly the most significant piece of scholarly research produced on this subject in the last two decades. Drawing on formerly secret documents from the countries of the former Warsaw Pact and Africa, this meticulously researched book sheds a great deal of new light on the rise and decline of Soviet involvement in the Horn of Africa, a key Cold War battleground for the superpowers and their proxies. It is a groundbreaking study.--Robert G. Patman, University of Otago Those who tried to track the intricacies of Soviet policy in the Horn forty years ago, as well as those interested today in the ways in which the Cold War played out in Africa, will find Radoslav A. Yordanov's book to be a masterful assessment of thirty years of Soviet policy. The author has culled the archives of all the former Socialist states, as well as the United States and Great Britain, for evidence, and paints a careful and detailed picture of the factors that went into Soviet policy and the shifts in that policy that local political developments required. The scholarly community owes Dr. Yordanov a serious debt of gratitude for producing what will remain the definitive study of Soviet policy in the Horn of Africa.--Roger E. Kanet, University of Miami
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About Radoslav A. Yordanov

Radoslav A. Yordanov is visiting scholar at the Harriman Institute of Columbia University.
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