Pivot of Asia: Sinkiang and the Inner Asian Frontiers of China and Russia

Pivot of Asia: Sinkiang and the Inner Asian Frontiers of China and Russia

Pivot of Asia: Sinkiang and the Inner Asian Frontiers of China and Russia

Pivot of Asia: Sinkiang and the Inner Asian Frontiers of China and Russia

Excerpt

Sinkiang is a Chinese province in which the overwhelming majority of the population consists of non-Chinese peoples. It stands at the back door of the old Empire of India, in which the new political, economic, and social forces of the Dominions of India and Pakistan are now at work. It stands at one of the front doors of the Soviet Union -- the front door most inaccessible to those forms of power, prestige, and influence which are at the disposal of the foreign policy of the United States. It stands, finally, at an angle of the hinterland frontier which for centuries has been regarded as the back door of China, but which two thousand years ago was China's front door to the heart of Asia and is now becoming once again the most important front door on the landward side of China.

When Russia was expanding into Central Asia in the nineteenth century, American interest was lively. There was a strong traditional American bias against Britain, and in the rivalry between the British and Russian Empires the sympathy of Americans was rather markedly in favor of the Russians, who were regarded as benevolent and competent empire builders. Eugene Schuyler, a member of the American Diplomatic Service, wrote a classic account of the new Russian conquests which, under the simple but fascinating title of Turkestan, was widely read and influential in its day.

American interest in Inner Asia died down after the RussoJapanese War of 1904-1905. America and Britain, though not committed by any formal alliance, had by then become tacitly . . .

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