Despite massive spending, neither the US nor the Soviet Union had won the battle for the hearts and minds of the Third World. The costs were, in fact, enormous. Peter Rodman says:
By the time the Cold War ended … the net [US] financial flow to aid receiving countries since the mid 1950s, both commercial and concessional, had reached the phenomenal total of some $2 trillion in 1980s prices. Soviet aid cannot be quite so neatly packaged. However, according to US estimates, Soviet military and economic aid from 1979 to 1987 to Vietnam and Cambodia totaled nearly $29 billion; to Afghanistan, nearly $9 billion; to Angola, over $8 billion (1975-1987); and to Nicaragua, over $3 billion. From 1983 to 1987, Cuba received nearly $11 billion, not counting over $22 billion in price subsidies on oil and sugar.
Mammoth expenditures did not ensure that countries like Taiwan, Iran, and Cuba — the closest of allies with the US at the outset of the Cold War — maintained diplomatic relations throughout. Change had occurred even in the close relationship between Cuba and the Soviet Union, and internal transformation was also evident.
The ramifications of Cold War spending were not limited to the ultimate containment of communism. Nor were they limited to macro level institutions and policies, or indeed to the Third World. Cities in both the First and the Third Worlds were genuinely transformed by the unintended spillover effects of Cold War activities.
For example, Los Angeles became a premier industrial growth pole as aerospace and military bases proliferated and the area was pumped full of federal money via the Department of Defense.
Similarly, Isfahan (Iran) became the focal point for military led industrialization, Havana (Cuba) served as the largest intelligence information gathering station outside of Soviet territory, and Taipei (Taiwan) prospered as a result of American monetary and miltary intervention.
Some aspects of the urban metamorphosis had been foreseen by Eisenhower who warned in his oft-quoted farewell address:
The Cold War had produced something new in American experience … the conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry … [its] influence is felt in every city, every state house, every office in the federal government ….
It is probable, however, that even Eisenhower could not imagine the transformations that superpower activity and intervention would effect in the character and identity of certain Third World metropolitan areas.
Shaped and molded by Cold War militaristic activity and auxiliary investment, such cities as Taipei, Havana, and Isfahan became, in effect, Cold War Cities.