Monday, May 18, 2015

Decolonization, "New" Nations, and wider International Interests

After World War II, decolonization took place on a large scale as nations gave up their colonies. These nations gave up their once prized colonies sometimes by choice, but more often out of necessity after endless revolutions by passionate natives determined to gain their independence. For example, Algeria battled for independence until the French finally had no choice but to grant it. Although these colonies were independent and were forming governments of their own, as the United States and Soviet Union engaged in the Cold War, their international political interests led them to “fight” over the influence of these third world countries.

As newly independent nations sought to create working governmental institutions, first and second world intervention had both positive and negative effects on their nation building. For instance while the U.S. often offered economic and political aid, this aid always came with strings attached and was delivered for a specific purpose. The United States, wished to reward any anti-communists in an attempt to promote democracy, while the Soviet Union sought to gain popularity with the more communistic nations.

Various leaders, such as Nehru in a primary source in Worlds Together Worlds Apart, of these newly forming or reconstructing nations, sought to give their perspective on the nation building of their respective countries-India in Nehru’s case. They wished to create lasting governments of their own, taking only the good from first and second world ways and keeping their own cultural traditions. But often, especially in Africa, these leaders were “replaced” by those whom the U.S. or Soviet Union deemed more suitable for leadership in the specific way the first or second world superpowers thought right.

Thus, while the nations were nominally independent, first and second world countries still had a significant hold on them; international politics played a huge role in the success or failure of decolonized nations and their ability to build anew their national governments. Yet, at the same time, these nations, previously colonies, saw the disruptive and dangerous behaviors of the first and second world nations and wished to create a “third way” separate and more productive than the first and second worlds’. Because these smaller nations were more comfortable uniting over common culture and religion than government ideals, their weaknesses simply opened them up to more manipulation by the “super power” nations.

As colonial revolutions and changes in national goals and powers led to a massive increase in decolonization, the United States and Soviet Union’s tactics in the Cold War created nations that were tired of first and second world interference, and or were dependent upon it. Thus it is easily seen how the end of the Cold War led to violence in the Balkans. From the examples of decolonization, nation rebuilding, interference, manipulation, aid, spread and suppression of new ideas before, during, and after the Cold War, it is obvious that international politics played an important role in the success or failure of “new” nations, while at the same time these “new” nations also played increasingly important roles in international politics.