China, the United States, and the Soviet Union: Tripolarity and Policy Making in the Cold War

By Robert S. Ross | Go to book overview

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.


Notes
1.
Richard M. Nixon, "Asia after Vietnam," Foreign Affairs ( October 1967): 122.
2.
N. Kapchenko, "The Heart of Maoism and Its Policies," International Affairs, no. 5 ( May 1969):16.
3.
For a later Soviet article saying as much, see G. I. Mirsky, "Book Review of Ameryka patrzy na Chiny," SShA: Ekonomika, Politika, Ideologiya (hereafter cited as SShA), no. 5 ( May 1974): 94.
4.
Although Arbatov, going back to 1969, generally took a sunnier view shaping U.S. foreign policy than most, it was, one assumes, of some significance that he was allowed or invited to provide the first major commentary on these developments in Pravda. (See G. A. Arbatov, Pravda, August 10, 1971, pp. 4-5.)
5.
Kissinger, White House Years ( Boston: Little, Brown, 1979), p. 836.
6.
In a speech in Tashkent, reported in Pravda, September 23, 1973, p. 1.
7.
S. S. Sergeichuk, "Iz istorii amerikano-kitaiskikh otnoshenii," SShA, no. 3 ( March 1972): 45.
8.
V. P. Lukin, "Amerikano-kitaiskie otnosheniya: kontseptsii i deistvitelnost," SShA, no. 2 ( February 1973): 16. Lukin was a sector chief in the Foreign Policy Department of the Institute USA and Canada at the time. He moved to the Foreign Ministry and then to the executive of the new Supreme Soviet. He is now Russia's ambassador to the United States.
9.
Ibid., p. 23. Much later, when looking back on this period, some Soviet authors had a far less favorable impression of what the United States was up to or of the controling effects of détente. See, for example, V. B. Vorontsov, Kitai i SShA: 60-70-e gody ( Moscow: Izdatelstvo "Nauka," 1979), pp. 46-48.
10.
Sh. Sanakoyev, "The World Today: Problem of the Correlation of Forces," International Affairs, no. 11 ( November 1974):43-44. Other critical views of U.S.-Chinese

-88-

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