cover of book

The Impossible Triangle: Mexico, Soviet Russia, and the United States in the 1920s
by Daniela Spenser
Duke University Press, 1999
Paper: 978-0-8223-2289-4 | Cloth: 978-0-8223-2256-6
Library of Congress Classification F1228.5.S65S64 1999
Dewey Decimal Classification 327.72047

During the 1920s, Mexico was caught in a diplomatic struggle between the ideologies of two strong states. In The Impossible Triangle Daniela Spenser explores the tangled relationship between Russia and Mexico in the years following their own dramatic revolutions, as well as the role played by the United States during this turbulent period. Bringing together Mexican, Soviet, and North American (as well as British) perspectives, Spenser shows how the convergence of each country’s domestic and foreign policies precluded them from a harmonious triangular relationship.
Based on documents from the archives of several nations—including reports by former Mexican diplomats in Moscow that have never before been studied—the book analyzes the Mexican government’s motivation for establishing relations with the Soviet Union in the face of continued imperialist pressure and harsh opposition from the United States. After explaining how Mexico established diplomatic ties with the Soviet Union in 1924 in an attempt to broaden the spectrum of its alliances after several years of uneven relations with the United States, Spenser reveals the troubled nature of the relationship that ensued. Soviet policy toward Mexico was characterized by a series of profound contradictions, varying from neglect to strong involvement in Mexican politics and the belief that Mexico could become a center of world revolution. Working to resolve and explain these contradictions, Spenser explores how, despite U.S. objections to Mexico’s relations with the Soviet Union, Mexico continued its association with the Soviets until the United States adopted the Good Neighbor Policy and softened its stance toward Mexico’s revolutionary program after 1927.
With a foreword by Friedrich Katz and illustrated by illuminating photographs, The Impossible Triangle contributes to an understanding of the international dimension of the Mexican revolution. It will interest students and scholars of history, revolutionary theory, political science, diplomacy, and international relations.

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