expansionism, but of chaos. Instability within and among these states emerged as a more likely prospect than overtly aggressive regimes. Russia, the largest of the new states and in most respects the Soviet Union's successor, represented an altogether different entity for China and the United States. What has to become of this country now mattered much more than what it chose to do in the outside world. In any event, what it chose to do in the outside world early in its new life caused neither of the other two powers great concern. Given the generally pro- Western orientation of Boris Yeltsin and his foreign minister, Andrei Kozyrev, the United States soon came to think of Russia more as a partner in need than as the heir of a once difficult competitor. China, despite the pro-Western inclinations of the Yeltsin government, too, had little to resent in Russian policy, because the Russians were careful not to offend Chinese sensitivities or interests.
Still, it would be a shallow reading of the moment to conclude that the relationship among these three states will never again vex international politics. Each is too important to the others, even when Russia is but a pale shadow of its predecessor, to assume safely that developments in one bilateral relationship will never contaminate the other bilateral relationship. Not, it should be underscored, when so much history lies ahead of the Russians and the Chinese. Only the simple-minded or the reckless would take the present for the permanent.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: China, the United States, and the Soviet Union:Tripolarity and Policy Making in the Cold War. Contributors: Robert S. Ross - Editor. Publisher: M. E. Sharpe. Place of publication: Armonk, NY. Publication year: 1993. Page number: 88.