Cold War Cities absorbed large amounts of superpower assistance. This is because they were important to the superpowers in at least four different ways.
First: the cities were located in nations that had a patron-client relationship with one of the two superpowers (the US or the Soviet Union) during at least a portion of the Cold War conflict (1945-1990). This affiliation involved the large-scale transfer of military or defense associated resources from patron to client.
Such resources include: 1) funds allocated under the US Military Assistance Program (MAP); funds authorized under the US Foreign Assistance Act, but budgeted within the Defense Department; the Soviet counterpart to this funding, especially various forms of subsidies; and 2) military/arms sales and deliveries of excess weapons stocks by either superpower.
Other resources also had impact. These include military assistance and expenditures associated with the US war in Southeast Asia and the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan; supporting economic assistance; the US public safety program, food for peace; investigatory and advisory missions; CIA and KGB intervention; and the establishment of research facilities and expenditures.
Second: superpower military resources and assets became integrated into the economic, social, and political fabric of each city.
Third: affected cities experienced visible changes in their built environment and infrastructure which could be traced back to the militaristic influence of their patron.
Finally (and MOST IMPORTANTLY): the strategic and geopolitical value of the cities meant that they were critically important to the grand strategy of one or both superpowers.
Three regions of the world — the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America — assume particular importance.
For both superpowers, the Middle East has been the most critical region and Africa the most neglected. However, patterns of funding for the US and the Soviets have been quite different.
The two rivals spent nearly the same amount of money in the early Cold War period (1946-1967). However, the Soviet Union concentrated its effort on a relatively small number of recipients who were expected to agree with Soviet policies and maintain a friendly relationship with the Soviet Union.
The United States, on the other hand, dispersed its funds more widely, even (occasionally) funding countries that, at times, opposed US policies.
Nations in each of the three major areas of the world received significant amounts of superpower aid in the form of capital, subsidies, and arms transfers — all linked to particular superpower military objectives.