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The Moscow pay King split has affected the entire world community including the United States today. Donald said Goriot of Columbia University examines the relationship between China the United States and the Soviet Union. In this final program of our series on China professors a Gloria's analysis was delivered at a special conference on China held by the University of Chicago's Center for Policy Study with the support of the Johnson Foundation of rasing Wisconsin. The fact that we're talking about Russia China and the United States rather than about the communist bloc and the United States points up what is perhaps now a truism but nevertheless seems to me should be reiterated at the outset namely that we are now dealing with a triangular relationship amongst these three powers and the by the formerly bipolar relationship has been transformed into a triangular one. The origins of this triangular world.
It can be traced of course to the Sino-Soviet split and the split itself was caused by the Chinese fear of a Soviet American detente achieved. They thought that could only be achieved they thought at their expense because it would mean a withdrawal of Soviet military and political backing for their goals in Asia against the United States. Now the fact is this reflects the fact I think that each of the three powers involved in this triangular relationship has over the years come to fear that any combination of the other two. We of course have for many years been worried about the possibility of a
Russian Chinese reconciliation. The Chinese I would argue ever since 1958 or 59 particularly since Camp David have had as their primary goal in or one of their primary goals in foreign policy to break up the Soviet American detente and more recently we see some very interesting indications that the Russians are now concerned about the possibility of an American Chinese easing of tensions. As unlikely as that may seem at the moment and this is the situation I think points up the fact that the United States now has priorities and choices to make in the world that it never had before. And I want to say a bit more about that again. Now within this framework what I would like to do is
first to very briefly review some of the evidence in the paper that I wrote for this conference and the surely several months ago about the views of the various factions within China and China's relationship with Russia and the United States because I think the Chinese Communist Party is no longer monolithic. There are bearing views on the future relationship what the what should be the future Chinese relationship with Russia and the United States. And then I want to go on to look at each side of this relationship to look at the Russian Chinese relationship the Russian American relationship and the and the Chinese-American relationship and make some concluding remarks. Now I as I try to indicate in the paper I think that there are three main
factions within the Chinese party. First I would call the Maoists the second the professional Army a group within the professional army and the third eye for want of a better term we might call the rationalists the Maoists. I think they look upon the Russians as in some respects even more of an enemy than the United States. And what Mao is doing as someone has suggested is indulging in a little bit of McCarthyism.
Chinese style. That is he's he's fighting the Russians at home rather than abroad he's obsessed with the danger of Russian style revisionism within the Chinese Communist Party which he thinks could mean the end of the revolution. And in this for that reason I think that he regards the Russians as such a a dangerous enemy in ideological terms. It's probably well to remember here that in religious movements I think one could say that heretics have always been looked upon as worse than infidels because the heretic has the ability to exercise a potential influence on the movement from which they have departed much more so than the infidel. And now is very much concerned of the influence of the Russians
and people who think like them on the future of the Chinese revolution. So far as the United States is concerned I think the Maoists still continue to regard the United States as a as a main enemy as a walker and but as a long range enemy. And they act as if the struggle against Russian star revisionism is indeed more urgent and more important more pressing than the struggle against them. The United States a popular phrase in the Chinese press these days for example is that the struggle against revisionism revisionism must be routed before imperialism can be defeated. Now the professional both the professional army and the group that I would call the rationalist I think are interested. On the contrary in their reconciliation with the
Russians for different reasons. They people in the army largely for strategic reasons and particularly within the context of the enemy's war and the fear of an American attack on China or a war that would escalate and eventually involve an American Chinese confrontation the professional army group has always been the leading advocate the leading interest group in China advocating reconciliation with Russia this is what the why was Persian for a 959 even earlier there was a group within the Chinese army that was advocating closer military ties with Russia in order to modernize and professionalize the Chinese army. So far the United States is concerned this army group I think in 65 after the American began to bomb North Vietnam wanted to take a much tougher line in Vietnam than the Maoists
did. They wanted to lower the threshold at which they wanted I think essentially to. Give more aid to North Vietnam than the Chinese dead and to lower the threshold of Chinese intervention. The third group the rational s want to reconciliation with the Russians I believe largely for economic reasons. I think their main interest is in turning in and concentrating on what is after all the primary. Problem facing China in the next few decades namely the industrialization of
China. I think there is also some evidence to suggest that some of these people were thinking not only in terms of a reconciliation with Russia but also having a bank meant that tensions with the United States probably also for economic reasons. Now let me turn to the Russian-Chinese relationship which as I've indicated eyes turned from an alliance into an adversary relationship. One point that could be made about this relationship is that it bears a very important relationship to American policy and I think that one could argue that the United States played a key in fact a decisive role in creating the Sino-Soviet split by its rapprochement with Russia although I think it was
largely an unwitting role. I think it could also be argued that the United States helped greatly intensify this but by consolidating the detente with the Russians for example during the test ban. Period on the test ban was signed in 1963. There was another sharp turn downward in Sino-Soviet relations and I think it's a reasonable axiom that. The more that American-Russian relations have improved in over the past decade the worse the Chinese Russian relations have become. The reverse is not necessarily the case. That is there have been periods of tension between the United States and Russia in which Russian Chinese relations did not improve
namely the present situation in Vietnam the Cuban missile crisis and so on but I think one could argue that any prolonged tension or or any in any possibility of a deep break in the American Russian relationship would tend to improve the Chinese Russian relationship. Even though and I and I think that the what the the problem with Cuba and Vietnam is that neither of them really lead to an end of the detente which is the Chinese goal. I think that it's. Not likely that there will be a reconciliation between Russia and China so long as Mao remains in power in China and so long as this preoccupation with the danger of revisionism and guides Maoist policy.
But I think it would be quite likely that we would have a partial reconciliation between Russia and China if the opposition were to win. In that event however I think it would be quite unlikely that this relationship between Russia and China would ever again be as close and as. Friendly as it was in the period prior to 1950 89 I think there are a number of factors that would that preclude such a close relationship. The intensity of Chinese nationalism are likely very great probability that the Russians would never again be willing to devote as much as many of their own resources to the industrialization of China. The feeling of betrayal on both sides and so on. Let me turn to the Russian American relationship.
It is I think the situation in Vietnam points up the fact that this is an adversary relationship that is it. It's quite a different relationship than the one that existed between Russia and the United States several years ago. The fact is that even though Russia and the United States are on opposite sides in Vietnam neither wants Vietnam to mean an end of the detente. Both are going out of their way to prevent that from happening. So far neither wants Vietnam to result in a Chinese victory and by a Chinese victory I mean in this sense American humiliation. At the same time both are suspicious of each other's intentions and yet the we suspect that the Russians are not anxious for a
settlement of the war because there is a suspicion that they feel that the war has certain advantages for them. I personally think that this is an incorrect assessment but nevertheless there is there is that suspicion on the Russian side to the Russians. If they if they don't want to Chinese victory they certainly don't want an American victory. And I think they're using their influence mainly to bring about something of a draw. In any case I think that the Russians have been interested in Vietnam. Largely because of what the United States and China. Largely because the United States and China are involved there. I think if one goes back and looks at the history of Russian involvement in Southeast Asia in general or in Vietnam in particular one would find that the Russians have always looked upon Europe as being a much more important
area for them and one they have a number of times shown a willingness to subordinate the interests of the men and communist parties in Southeast Asia to the interests to their own interests in Europe. Perhaps the best example being the fact that the Russians and the French communists did not support Hokie men in 1945 although he was the first time is the leader to take power in a state outside of Russia itself. In fact the French Communist Party voted work credits against that for use in Vietnam. They were supported by the Russians who gave rather explicit orders to the Vietnamese communists not to disturb the prospects of the French commies coming to power in Paris. In that period. And I think this is one of a number of in 1054 again the Russians
were perfectly willing to put heavy pressure on who came in to come to terms with the French largely because they saw an opportunity or in part because they saw an opportunity to sabotage the European defense community at that time. The first example showing that the Russians have always regarded the communist friends are friendly friends as being much more important than a communist Vietnam. The second that they again are much more worried about the danger of Germany than they were interested in helping ho G-man achieve his objectives in Vietnam. I think in short that the Russians look upon Vietnam as a nuisance as a potential danger of war as a dilemma but so far they have maintained business as usual attitude with the United States despite Vietnam. So I would probably be prepared to argue that the war in Vietnam has speeded up
to date. My personal feeling is that the further escalation of the war will lead to a much bigger freeze in Soviet American relations. Could turn for a moment to the Chinese American relationship here. We're quite clearly dealing with a relationship in which each believes that a gain for the other is a loss for ADD. The NRM is a good example of the situation. Although China and the United States are not directly opposed in Vietnam with their own forces each sees Vietnam as an opportunity to strike a very substantial blow at the other. And each sees some of its very important interests being challenge there by the other of the Chinese as you heard this
morning regard Vietnam of them as the test case of a liberation war strategy. They see it as the beginning of a series of guerrilla wars in the United AAB areas that will lead the United States and eventually force its retirement from Asia. The United States on the other hand believes that victory in Vietnam will contain China and other places and will discourage other communist revolutionaries allied to China from starting that guerrilla war law and this situation has allowed both the Chinese and the Americans side to be rather rigorous in their own peace terms and it's clear that pokes both sides.
Feel that they have a very heavy investment in this war. The Chinese so much that their terms for negotiations have consistently been tougher than the North Vietnamese terms themselves. Indeed according to a recent interview with Joe and why the Chinese now say that they will intervene if there's a sell out peace and I don't know how that can be interpreted except as a warning to the North Vietnamese themselves or it's a warning to one faction in North Vietnam that China will not tolerate a capitulation to the United States even if Hanoi and the NLF are so inclined. Before the man was insured. Vietnam is really the last
stand of what is so far been a rather bad series of years. They have suffered a number a series of foreign policy reverses without the world and. Vietnam represents. If Vietnam goes against them this could really be the straw that broke the camel's back. And this would I think confirm a lot of the charges that many of the opposition have been making to mouse policy namely that it's unrealistic that had it has led to increased Chinese isolation in the world it is counterproductive and so. I don't think that the Chinese or the Maoists want a war and Vietnam with the United States on the contrary they have avoided.
Provocation they've avoided doing a number of things that they might have done. I think what they want on the other hand they've certainly discouraged negotiations. They want neither a negotiated settlement nor a larger war which would bring them face to face with the United States what they want is a low level war of attrition which will gradually bleed the United States which will they hope will be soon accompanied by second fronts in other areas whether it be in the Middle East or Latin America. BERLINER so on. While the Chinese or the Maoists do not want war with the United States and Vietnam and have avoided a number of steps that they might have taken I think there are a
some circumstances that one can already see visible under which they would would fight. If one might imagine that they for example might like the North Vietnamese use air bases in southern China which the United States under the doctrine of hot pursuit and no sanctuary would then attack North Vietnamese planes and those bases one could readily imagine this is developing into something larger. I think it's also conceivable that American action in southern in the southern part of North Vietnam could eventually lead to a situation which would lead to military activities further north which might lead to a Chinese American war.
So I'm not at all I sang when about the possibility of avoiding that any longer as perhaps some other speakers here earlier. Let me conclude by saying making a few comments about United States policy in the triangular although my main criticism I suppose of American policy would be that the United States has not seized the opportunity of the Sino-Soviet lead to turn what is what is and has been a kind of relationship with China into an adversary relationship. I think we have tended to put most of our chips on the Russians. It's now clear as I indicated at the outset that the Russians fear a Chinese-American rapprochement. I think the Russians fear this so much that they would probably make
concessions to us to avoid it. And I don't think we've made sufficient use of that potential leverage. I think was a more flexible policy towards China. Particularly in light of the present situation in the end I would reduce the danger of miscalculation on both sides and I'm glad Albert was better warned against overestimating the rationality of the Chinese I think we should be careful about overestimating the rationality of any political leaders involved in a political crisis. There is a very serious danger of miscalculation here and I think for example the Chinese leadership is convinced or some of it has long been convinced that what the United
States is really after in Vietnam is not Vietnam but China and that what our policies are all about in the end is just the prelude to an attack on China. And if they believe this I think this could lead to some very serious miscalculations. I think that also we were never before in the history of communist China since the Chinese Commies took power in one thousand forty nine has there been as much opposition to Maoist policy amongst the Chinese leaders as there is now. And I think a more flexible policy on our side could strengthen the opposition the more moderate opposition to me. It's true that there are limits on what the United States can do to intervene in conflicts taking place
in a communist state. But the very least it seems to me that we ought to have is a policy that makes it possible for a Chinese opposition to argue against Mao's policy. It's now I think rather easy for any Chinese leader to be violently anti-American. And I would suggest we need a policy that makes it a little more difficult. You've just heard Professor Donald say Goriot of Columbia University discussing the triangular relationship between China the United States and the Soviet Union. This program brings to a close a special series on China based on a conference held by the University of Chicago's Center for Policy Study. Through the support of the Johnson Foundation of race scene Wisconsin. Previous speakers were pink tea hall the James Westfall Thompson professor of history at the University of Chicago. Mr. Holt
commented on aspects of Chinese history salient to present day policy. Tang So Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago discussed political development in China and the Cultural Revolution. John Wilson Lewis of Cornell University analyzed the proletarian movement. Well David missing though also of Cornell University spoke on Chinese foreign policy. Frank Armbruster of the Hudson Institute Croton on Hudson New York an expert on guerilla warfare analyzed China's conventional military capability. Delbert was that our university professor of political science at the University of Chicago. He spoke on China's nuclear capability. This is Ben China perspective and policy produced for radio by the University of Chicago.
This is the national educational radio network.
China: Policy and perspective
China, U.S. and the Soviet Union
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University of Chicago
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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This program features a lecture by Donald Zagoria of Columbia University.
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A series of talks from the University of Chicago dealing with current events in China.
Global Affairs
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Producing Organization: University of Chicago
Speaker: Zagoria, Donald S.
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University of Maryland
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Duration: 00:29:23
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Chicago: “China: Policy and perspective; China, U.S. and the Soviet Union,” 1967-11-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “China: Policy and perspective; China, U.S. and the Soviet Union.” 1967-11-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: China: Policy and perspective; China, U.S. and the Soviet Union. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from