Gorbachev's Economic Strategy in the Third World

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Giovanni Graziani examines Gorbachev's reforms in terms of economic relations with the Third World and presents a detailed and sophisticated statistical analysis of Soviet economic assistance and trade. This book critically evaluates all the statistical data from Soviet and United Nations sources and presents the changing Soviet attitude toward indebtedness and the growing dissatisfaction expressed by both the Third World and the U.S.S.R. over the management of Soviet aid. The author notes a contradiction between Gorbachev's strategy and statistical evidence for the first years of his office, but stresses that the recent moves to trade with South Korea and other Asian countries are bound to affect the Soviet geographical pattern of trade. His estimates show the increasing importance of agricultural products and fuels in Soviet imports and of military equipment and fuels in its exports. Particularly interesting is what Graziani calls the oil imbroglio, a triangular trade pattern in which the U.S.S.R. has increased its imports of crude oil from the Third World for reexport to the West in order to stabilize its export earnings in hard currencies threatened by falling oil prices. The book concludes that no expansion of Soviet economic ties with the Third World is foreseen in the short run and that eventual Soviet participation in international economic organizations might further entail new conflicts with the Third World.