A second cold war is tracking the first
In Washington, Beijing and Moscow, officials all say that they want to avoid a new cold war. A recent piece in the New York Times suggests they have little reason for concern. It argued that “superpower rivalries today bear little resemblance to the past”. The article pointed to Russia’s relative weakness and China’s technological prowess to underline how things have changed since the late 1940s.
Those differences exist, of course. But to me, the parallels between today’s events and the early years of the cold war look increasingly convincing, even eerie.
The Oligarchs: Wealth And Power In The New Russia
David Hoffman, former Moscow bureau chief for The Washington Post, sheds light onto the hidden lives of Russia’s most feared power brokers: the oligarchs. Focusing on six of these ruthless men Hoffman reveals how a few players managed to take over Russia’s cash-strapped economy and then divvy it up in loans-for-shares deals.
Before perestroika, these men were normal Soviet citizens, stuck in a dead-end system, claustrophobic apartments, and long bread lines. But as Communism loosened, they found gaps in the economy and reaped huge fortunes by getting their hands on fast money. They were entrepreneurs. As the government weakened and their businesses flourished, they grew greedier. Now the stakes were higher.
Venezuela’s Movimiento al Socialismo: From Guerrilla Defeat to Innovative Politics
Teodoro Petkoff and the other members of the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) in Venezuela had aroused the ire of the orthodox communist leaders by claiming to be both authentic communists and true nationalists, not bound by the dictates of either the Moscow or Maoist/Beijing wings of the party. To infuriate the traditionalists even further, Petkoff and his associates succeeded in being more than isolated critics, as MAS quickly eclipsed the traditional Venezuelan Communist Party and became that country’s leading leftist group.
The author places MAS in its international national, and historical contexts in order to determine the extent to which it is a unique communist party, as it claims to be. He traces the theory of “national democratic revolution, ” which MAS rejects, back to Lenin, and discusses the Latin American left’s reevaluation of that thesis. Ellner examines the guerrilla movement in Venezuela, the student movement of the late 1960s, and the emergence of the “New Left” in other countries, especially noting their influence on the formation of MAS. He also discusses the group’s role in Venezuelan elections and it’s relations with the other parties.