When Lenin wrote his polemical summary of radical thinking on the nature of imperialism it was 1916 and the imperialist powers were engaged in a catastrophic world war. The empires were real, as was the conflict between them. Today, however, those empires are no more, the colonial possessions are independent states, and perhaps just as important, although there is commercial rivalry between corporations based in different national territories, there is no inter-imperialist rivalry between the European states of the kind that concerned Lenin. There is, however, another conflict which has come to be of central importance to world peace, that is the conflict between the superpowers, the USA and the USSR. How is this conflict to be explained, especially the recent development of what has become known as the new cold war, and is it properly described as inter-imperialist rivalry? Moreover, what can the ideas about the state we have discussed in the previous chapters contribute to our understanding of this conflict?
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