Cover image for The twilight struggle : the Soviet Union v. the United States today
The twilight struggle : the Soviet Union v. the United States today
Menges, Constantine Christopher.
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : AEI, 1990.
Physical Description:
xix, 428 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E183.8.S65 M46 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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An account of the armed resistance movements that opposed or still oppose Communist regimes in Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Mozambique, and Nicaragua. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Standing out from the altered tone of the Soviet Union's foreign policy of the past five years is its legendary tenacity at preserving its international gains, or at least those of its most recent expansionist phase, from 1975 to 1980. So argues Menges in this exhaustively researched analysis of continuing Soviet diplomatic and military support for the Communist parties it helped put into power in five countries in the late 1970s: Angola, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Cambodia, and Nicaragua. The civil wars that ensued in each place were, or are, the subject of interminable negotiations, and of two that resulted in agreements, Angola and Afghanistan, Menges is extremely critical. In his view, the Soviets got what they wanted, the maintenance of its ally in power, while the side the U.S. supported was abandoned to its own devices. As an official of the CIA and the NSC in the Reagan administration, Menges himself gained a reputation for bureaucratic tenacity, frequently opposing the State Department's approach to settling these so-called regional conflicts, and his staunch anti-Communist outlook certainly pervades this survey of Soviet activities in these countries. But if the devil is in the details, Menges cites enough of them to make Soviet clients look pretty devilish, and his case a convincing one. For larger collections. Bibliography; to be indexed. ~--Gilbert Taylor

Library Journal Review

The author, a special assistant to President Reagan and National Intelligence Officer for Latin America at the CIA, is still fighting the Cold War. He analyzes five conflicts in the context of American-Soviet relations--Afghanistan, Cambodia, Angola, Mozambique, Nicaragua--arguing that, ``the USSR has been more effective than the United States in achieving its foreign policy objectives.'' Nonetheless, he suggests that the modest successes of anti-Communist movements in these countries may have encouraged the Eastern European revolutions of 1989. Menges wants the U.S. government to encourage democratic reform yet maintain a deterrent posture to win these ``twilight struggles'' and totally end the Cold War. Informed laypersons will find his thoughts of interest.-- John Yurechko, Georgetown Univ., Washington, D.C. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This publication is an anomaly. If, as the title suggests, the USSR is still fully engaged in a struggle to promote Soviet influence and communist movements throughout the world, this volume should prove indispensable. On the other hand, to many, including this reviewer, the Soviet Union seems fully engaged in a desperate struggle for its very survival; Soviet influence approaches a nadir globally. Appearing as it does now, with this title, this book seems to represent a lament for the good old days of cold warfare and ideological struggle. In the years prior to 1989, the acutal influence of Soviet decision-makers on radical left-wing movements in Cambodia, Nicaragua, Afghanistan, Angola, and Mozambique was vigorously debated. Menges suggest that Soviet activity and influence in those five conflict-ridden states continue unabated. The author, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a former CIA official, and a National Security Council advisor, presents a selective view of recent history. A foreword by former UN Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick sets the ever vigilant tone for this study. One genral theme, that US support for anticommunist movements during the mid-1980s was effective (albeit to varying degrees) is valid. Some of the data on political developments in the five above-mentioned countries might be of interest to some scholars. The lack of balance in the uncritical descriptions of anticommunist movements in each of these states is bothersome. From this account one would never know that there were valid questions about alleged "Yellow Rain" (chemical) warfare in Southeast Asia in the early 1980s or about Enrique Bermudez's credentials as a Nicaraguan freedom fighter. This publication may be of some interest and value to scholars concerned with one or more internal conflicts referred to above, but it is not generally recommended. -P. G. Conway, SUNY College at Oneonta