Mending Fences: The Evolution of Moscow's China Policy from Brezhnev to Yeltsin

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MENDING FENCES: The Evolution of Moscow's China Policy from Brezhnev to Yeltsin, Elizabeth Wishnick, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 2001, 320 pages, $45.00.

In Mending Fences, Elizabeth Wishnick carefully details the evolution of Moscow's China policy from 1969 to the present. Soviet policy toward China has come full circle from alliance to containment then back to strategic partnership. Wishnick chronicles the policy's slow evolution and lists the players behind the scenes. She outlines the primary problems the Soviets faced during the Brezhnev period that resulted in the policy of containment. The major factors were border and ideological disputes, Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia, and improvement in U.S.-Chinese relations. These factors culminated in Moscow's hard line against China and detente with the U.S. in an effort to contain China.

After Brezhnev's death, Moscow's policy toward China was in flux because advocates in Moscow and the border regions wanted to improve trade with China. …