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The Tricontinental Revolution provides a major reassessment of the global rise and impact of Tricontinentalism, the militant strand of Third World solidarity that defined the 1960s and 1970s as decades of rebellion. Cold War interventions highlighted the limits of decolonization, prompting a generation of global South radicals to adopt expansive visions of self-determination. Long associated with Cuba, this anti-imperial worldview stretched far beyond the Caribbean to unite international revolutions around programs of socialism, armed revolt, economic sovereignty, and confrontational diplomacy. Linking independent nations with non-state movements from North Vietnam through South Africa to New York City, Tricontinentalism encouraged marginalized groups to mount radical challenges to the United States and the inequitable Euro-centric international system. Through eleven expert essays, this volume recenters global political debates on the priorities and ideologies of the Global South, providing a new framework, chronology, and tentative vocabulary for understanding the evolution of anti-imperial and decolonial politics.
A central feature of American history since 1941 is the nation’s transformation from a peripheral power into the most dominant geopolitical force in world history. One of the most revealing indicators of this transformation is the extension of U.S. power into Asia and Africa, the two continents that had in previous eras lain farthest from the American consciousness. From the founding of the United States, Americans had focused their overseas ambitions on Europe and Latin America, regions that lay closest to the eastern seaboard of the United States and formed the boundaries of the “Atlantic world” within which the nation developed. To be sure, Americans encountered Africans through the slave trade and fantasized about extending their reach into Asia to display national greatness, win converts, and capture markets. Unquestionably, too, Asia’s eastern rim became a focus of geostrategic anxieties as early as the 1890s. Still, Asia and Africa were comparatively far away, geographically but also conceptually, lands mostly dominated by European colonial powers and known to Americans more through folklore, movies, and racial stereotypes than actual experience.