America’s Confrontation with Revolutionary Change in the by William Stivers

By William Stivers

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By William Stivers

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In January 1968, fiscal difficulties at last forced the British to announce their withdrawal from 'East of Suez' by the end of 1971. The Soviets had in the meantime sent naval vessels into the Indian Ocean (in 1968) and were expanding their capacities for long-range operations. As before, this would not give the Soviets an ability to act as an imperialist power per se. But, in conjunction with increased trade and diplomatic ties, it would help them to support internal dissidents' movements and promote the radicalisation of inherently unstable littoral regimes.

The main difference between the two men was that the contradictory strains of policy stood in sharper contrast in Kennedy's case. For the irony of Kennedy's brief tenure was that while he felt far stronger sympathies for Third World nationalism than Eisenhower, the new president was even more strongly committed to preserving the Western position through military force - and was willing to pay a mu-:h higher price to do so. In the end, the repressive, interventionist strain of policy would overshadow the reforming, accommodationist elements of the Kennedy world view.

But even the territories which remained under European control- such as Portuguese Mozambique - would prove of scant use, for in the new age of Afro-Asian nationalism, the United States could only inflame Third World animosity if it based its military position on collaboration with detested colonial powers. Thus, rather than rely on its European friends, Washington would have to keep distance from them. 3 And America would have no greater luck exploiting the sympathies of pro-Western elites in the Third World.

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