The New Cold War: Moscow v. Pekin

The New Cold War: Moscow v. Pekin

The New Cold War: Moscow v. Pekin

The New Cold War: Moscow v. Pekin

Excerpt

This book was started at a time when quite a strong body of opinion in the West was still refusing to take seriously the rift between the Soviet Union and the Chinese People's Republic. To uncommitted observers, whose duty or interest it was to make a close study of Communist activities, the existence of a conflict had been apparent for a number of years. But because the reogdes of the dispute were carefully concealed, and because in public utterances neither side attacked the other by name, it was impossible, even as late as the early autumn of 1962, to prove the eamt and bitterness of the quarrel without the most elaborate documentation; and, although this had up to a point been done, very few people in the West were any the wiser because, to understand the documentation, the reader first had to master the code-language of Communist polemics. Many who should have knawn better were able to play down the seriousness of the rift, or to dismiss it as a 'family quarrel' (what a family!). The only conceivable reason for doing that was fear of 'wishful thinking', that hoary old inhibitor of common-sense and rational thought -though why it should appear immediately desirable, in a world striving for peace, for two of the world's greatest powers to be at each other's throats has never been clear to me.

Then, in October 1962, came the Cuban episode, and China's invasion of India. After that it was impossible for anyone to pretend that all was well between Pekin and Moscow. Soon afterwards, in December, the two sides for the first time permitted themselves to refer to each other by name. And since then the open polemics have been fast and furious.

The main purpose of this book, as originally conceived, was to demonstrate beyond all refutation the existence of the rift -- seen not as a passing quarrel but as a critical breach. Once the affair became public property in December 1962 it was necessary to ask whether there was any point in finishing the book. But it did not take long to decide that it still should be written -- indeed, that what was needed was a convenient outline of the genesis and . . .

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