SU&3rdW, Ch 5: Eastern Europe and the Third World; or, “Limited Regret Strategy” Revisited (Korbonski)

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Ch 5 Essay written by book’s editor Andrzej Korbonski

  • types of interest: military, political, ideological, economic (99)
  • “To be sure, the leaders of Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland have paid ceremonial visits to various Third World countries, notably India, Libya, Iraq, and Iran, but otherwise there is no evidence of extensive contacts and what contacts did exist seemed to focus almost entirely on economics” (107)
    • Korbonski seems to imply that the general academic consensus at the time was that Eastern European countries and Third World countries (Hungary included in the former group, India in the latter) did not really interact, and even then their interactions were based purely on economic benefit
    • WHILE this is true in part (considering this period falls before the ‘critical moment’ that I am looking at – which revolves around both countries experiencing waves of economic liberalization) it also ignores some of the bigger ideological sympathies that India and Hungary had already expressed at this time!
  • “The examples of Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Poland in the past thirty years must have persuaded Third World leaders that Eastern Europe has little to offer as a model of stability and concord” (110)
  • “Although the Soviet intervention in Hungary in 1956 was widely ignored by Third World countries, which were preoccupied with the Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt, Moscow’s armed suppression of the ‘Prague Spring’ in 1968 and the Soviet pressure on Poland in 1980-81 were widely noted and commented upon in the Third World and did little to improve the image and global reputation of the USSR” (110)
    • NO! India certainly made many open efforts to show its sympathy in the Hungarian cause…so hah.
  • “Most of the Third World realized some time ago that the Stalinist central planning system simply did not work and that what Eastern Europe needed was a program of comprehensive economic reforms. So East European countries, such as Hungary, have indeed undertaken extensive reforms in the past twenty years and proved reasonably successful in implementing them. It is possible that the Hungarian New Economic Mechanism, just like the Yugoslav workers’ council system of thirty years ago, may attract the attention of the LDCs, both communist and noncommunist” (110)
    • aka Hungary is showing signs of liberalization!
  • **”East European Six” –> Hungary is a part of it…is this label limited to this book or is it more commonly used? Just good to find out!**
  • “The topic of East European-Third World relations has attracted little scholarly attention so far because the relationship between Eastern Europe and the Third World in the past thirty years has been mostly marginal, a phenomenon that was not likely to cause many ripples in international politics and economics” (118)
    • AGAIN, another sign that this was the way things were before the period of economic liberalization with both countries!
  • “Left entirely to itself, I would suggest, Eastern Europe would probably maintain its contacts with the Third World, but the nature of these contacts would be quite different and most likely based on rational economic and political calculations” (121)
    • AGAIN, this shows a good scholarly assumption/observation/conclusion about the way that Indo-Hungarian relations were seen at the time –> plus is a clear indicator that this is before Bollywood started functioning as a cultural vehicle
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SU&3rdW, Ch 9: The Soviet Union and South Asia: Moscow and New Delhi Standing Together (Horn)

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This book is compiled/edited by Andrzej Korbonski and Francis Fukuyama; chapter/essay was written by Robert Horn. What I HAVE to keep in mind is that this book was published in 1987! This means it is fairly outdated, but it does present a good summarizing picture of Indo-Soviet relations until the 80s…

  • 1955: SU signed agreement to loan $100 million to India to build steel mill in Bhilai; PM Nehru visited SU as (first) non-aligned leader; Khrushchev visited India to show foreign policy support
  • research questions from the essay: “What was it about India that attracted Soviet interest in 1955, and what explains the continuing Soviet interest since then? How did and how does India fit into the Soviet Union’ s foreign policy goals and objectives? Second, what factors explain the nature of the relationship, its closeness and limitations? What factors have been conducive and what have obstructed the establishment of Soviet influence in India?” (209)
  • India in Context of Soviet Foreign Policy Interests
    • interest driven by pragmatic goals; also lessening Western influence in the Third World
    • India’s own goals: nonalignment aka boosting independence; seeking security; protect broader South Asian subcontinent from domination
  • Nature of the Relationship: Attracting Factors
    • similar industrial interests: oil, metal, manufacturing, etc
    • “India felt compelled to seek a reliable superpower friend, and the USSR realized that India would likely be responsive to its own anti-American global strategy” (213)
      • even here, it’s clear that the “non-aligned” countries still have alliances set up, India’s move was virtually always related to Pakistan’s political moves (P allied w/ US)
  • Nature of the Relationship: Limiting Factors
    • pertinent to my research: India has appreciated SU support but is willing to seek other allies
    • Indo-Soviet relationship shown as “shifting balance of mutual dependency” (225)
    • “India has needed the Soviet Union for support, in times of crisis vis-a-vis Pakistan and in times of uncertainty as the Sino-American rapprochement has developed. India has also needed the economic, technical, and military assistance that the Soviets have been able to provide” (225)

Interesting to note that initial foreign support that India sought was specifically non-US!