Pienso y Existo

diciembre 26, 2012

Tensions to challenge the three-world order

Filed under: Pensamientos — Wilmar Perez @ 5:19 pm
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The Second World War shaped the global political order of the second half of the XX century. Owing to the balance of powers that led to the defeat of the Japanese and the Germans, the World was led to a polarization of two main blocks: the capitalists and the communists. However, even though that was the intended reordering wanted by the two main superpowers: the United States and the Soviet Union; there was a further fractioning with sometimes subtle cracks but sometimes with deep divisions inside each particular fraction (Tignor, et al., 2011, p. 779). For the leading powers, the need to maintain their dominant position was the common trail that led to the tacit organization of the world into three blocks: the First World let by the United States under the capitalism doctrine; the Second World directed by the Soviet Union and their communism agenda and, finally, the Third World composed by African, Asian and Latin American countries; the latter being pull by the First and Second world to join their vision and political agenda in the new ordering of the world. The balance of global wealth and power was maintained for several decades, however different events exposed vulnerabilities not only inside them but also in the framework that hold together the doctrine of world dominance by a narrow set of policies (Wikipedia, 2012).

As the dynamic of economics and science flourished in the First World, the social cracks in the United States were more visible to the world and had a great significance for it was them, the Americans, who wanted to show that their economic and political system was the best option for the planet as a whole. On its role of advocate of freedom the United States, faced increasing internal and external pressures around the racial discrimination where a white majority had legal advantages against all minorities, mainly African-American population but also affecting Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans (Tignor, et al., 2011, p. 779).  A country which flag was the defense of individual freedom, could not sustained a situation of State backed inequality among its citizens. The racial affair caused a great deal of highly embarrassing political agitation and social unrest (Fredrickson, 2003). Also, on its commitment to defeat the Soviet Union, the United States supported any political leader in the Third World that was against communism, ending up in the support of questioned dictatorships mainly in Latin America and South Asia. Perhaps the most widely advertised was the involvement in the Vietnam War that caused increasing protests all across the country which deeply questioned the ideals of American Society (Tignor, et al., 2011, p. 781). As an extra heavy factor, the women role in society was also questioned not only in the United States but it was in there, as well as in England, where it was most prominent. Having put their share of sacrifice into the efforts of the Second World War campaign, women advocated for equal access to education, jobs and political participation. They didn’t want to be treated or seen as belonging to the household in the roles of cleaning, cooking and child rising (Tignor, et al., 2011, p. 781). By no means tensions were only visible in the United States; west Europeans also raised concerns about increasing nuclear development and world affairs interventions by their own governments (Tignor, et al., 2011, p. 779).

The Second World led by the Soviet Union and their communism ideals was also being challenge in several fronts, most important of all the existence of a single vision of the communist doctrines. Throughout the socialist/communist block there were dissident visions on the application of state policies towards capital control and individual freedom. The thought of reformation didn’t mean that there was a general desire to join the First World block but rather the shifting of structures and values inside the same socialist path to make it more open for the individual but without the total capitalist competition of the western party (Tignor, et al., 2011, p. 781). Closer attention deserves the Chinese case. Owing to its size and geopolitical weight, the path followed by China had an especial interest for the Soviet Union, however, even though the Chinese decided to embrace socialist ideas, they were developed under a different schema than the one followed by the northern neighbours. As a result, China’s profile achieved a higher level and become and icon in the world of communist movements around the world, especially influencing some guerrillas organizations in Latin America (Cohen, 2005). Yugoslavia was another particular case of a communist estate that didn’t follow the main guidelines of the Soviet Union. Even though its size was not that of China, its influence and meaning was profound because of its positioning at the heart of the Balkans (Krstić, 2011).

The Third World didn’t have enough strength to be accounted as a main block of political alternatives; rather it was always divided and economically, ideologically and militarily. As a result it faced the heavy interference of either the United States or the Soviet Union. There were however some intents to empower the Third World, mainly by following Socialist ideas that were regarded as a valid alternative to the intervention of the United States especially in Latin American countries. Only in Cuba such intents successfully brought a socialist government into power, revolutionary movements were tested in several countries but even those democratically elected, as in the case of Allende in Chile, were eventually crashed or lost their original direction as in the case of Colombian guerrillas (NCSTRT, 2012). A subset of Third World countries formed the OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) which eventually was able to raise oil revenues for their members; however owing to the discovery of new oil sources the OPEC has lost some of its pressure power. Other organizations tried to follow a similar technique with other rough materials such as coffee and rubber without much success (Tignor, et al., 2011, p. 781).

The “three worlds” distribution of the world caused political pressures, fed the planet with guns and increased tensions between countries. Their internal tensions helped to weaken their strengthen, however, by the time the Soviet Union felt and the world changed again, their impact had left and endurable print in the geopolitical organization known today


  • Tignor, R., Adelman, J., Aron, S., Brown, P., Elman, B., Kotkin, S., et al. (2011). Worlds Entangled, 1600-1750. Dans Worlds Together, Worlds Apart (p. 484). New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.




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