The following map shows the cold war alliances in 1980. The communist countries appear in what I think is called indian red. The most important communist countries, allied with the Soviets and not with the Chinese, were Cuba and Nicaragua in Central Asia, Angola and Mozambique in South Africa, Ethiopia in West Africa, Afghanistan in Central Asia, Mongolia in East Asia, and Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in South Asia.
The Arab socialist countries of North Africa and the Middle East i.e. Algeria, Libya, Iraq and Syria, were Soviet allies but they needed Arab nationalism, and therefore they did not use the internationalist socialist model of the Soviets, which only pays attention to the social origin i.e. working class, and ignores any national or religious characteristics. The Arab socialist dictators wanted to invest in Arab nationalism because they were facing relatively homogenous Arab Muslim populations. The Soviets on the contrary were facing very diverse ethnic and religious populations in the their colonies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and they had to use only social origin i.e. the working class, in order to homogenize and unite the populations of their colonies. Now that the Russians have lost their colonies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia they are using a nationalist socialist model, and they are using Christianity and Panslavism in order to promote their energy policy.
During most of the cold war relations between the Soviets and the Arab socialist dictators were easy, because for most of this period the Soviets were not selling oil and natural gas to Europe. Algeria and Libya were selling their oil and gas to Europe. Now that Russia counts on Europe for her oil and gas exports, her relations with Algeria and Libya are not as easy anymore. That problem never existed with Syria, because Syria is poor in oil and gas, and she has been the most reliable Russian ally in the Middle East.
However the map has a weakness. It does not discriminate the US allies in capitalists, islamists and national socialists ones. The Americans can cooperate smoothly with capitalist countries like Australia, or at least with social democratic countries like the ones of Northern Europe. Unfortunately in many countries after the WWII the Americans did not always have the option to work with capitalists. There were countries where the only political forces were the islamists and the socialists, like it was the case in the Middle East, and there were countries where the only political forces were national socialists and communists.
In the Middle East the Americans had to cooperate with the Islamists, because the socialists were Russian allies. In countries where the only political forces were national socialists and communists, the Americans had to cooperate with the national socialists because the communists were Russian allies. Argentina for example was a pro-Nazi country, and she remained neutral until two months before the end of the war, when she declared war on Germany. However many Nazis found refuge in Argentina after the end of the war. But after the war the Americans had to cooperate with the Argentinean national socialists.
But was Argentina and Australia the same kind of ally for the US? Of course they weren’t. America’s alliances with capitalists are smooth alliances. America’s alliances with national socialists and islamists are problematic alliances. Neither the national socialists and the Islamists nor the Americans enjoy working together. Their cooperation is like a bad marriage which however can sometimes last for long periods, as it was the case with the Americans and the Saudis. The Americans and the Saudis managed to cooperate for the second half of the 20th century. But you have seen the recent problems between the Saudis and the Americans, and between the Argentineans and the Americans.
For the national socialists there is one more thing that must be said. When Hitler broke the Nazi-Communist alliance of 1939 and attacked Russia in 1941, the Communists felt betrayed and they were infuriated. From 1941 to 1943 the Germans were heading towards the oil of Baku, and they were killing and starving the Russians. When the Germans started losing the war, the Russians marched to Berlin in 1945, destroying, killing and raping everything they were finding in their way. Therefore after the end of WWII there was a paradox. The Communists and the Nazis, even though they have so much in common, they hated each other much more than they hated the Americans.
Therefore the national socialists around the globe, who had worked with the German Nazis, they could not cooperate with the Soviets, and their only option was the Americans. However as time was passing by the Communists and the Nationalists started forgetting their hatred. Today even the national socialists are leaning towards Russia. Russia welcomes both communists and nationalists. Actually in the 21st century the Russians are no longer communists but rather nationalists, as I already said.
What is important to remember is that when the Cold War is examined the American allies must be divided to capitalists, national socialists and islamists. Australia, Argentina and Saudi Arabia were American allies in the second half of the 20th century, but their alliances with the Americans were very different. The alliance with Saudi Arabia and Argentina with the US was a marriage of convenience, and you can see that in the 21st century Argentina is moving towards Russia and Saudi Arabia is moving towards China. But capitalist Australia is still an American ally, and for as long as Australia will be a capitalist country she will always be an American ally. And keep in mind that China is Australia’s largest trading partner.