The Prospects for Communist China

By W. W. Rostow. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
SINO-SOVIET RELATIONS TO 1949

I. THE PRINCIPAL ELEMENTS

In official Communist doctrine the relations between Moscow and Peking since 1949 have been exceedingly simple: in a virtually exclusive alliance the Soviet Union is senior partner, Communist China the 'creative' junior partner; the Soviet Union is assisting China on the road to industrialization, socialism, and communism, while, with a common ideological approach to both domestic and foreign affairs and with a common view of modern history and its destined course, together they lead the world struggle against 'imperialism.'

There may be some temptation to accept such an easy explanation of current Sino-Soviet relations. For, if their development since 1949 is taken exclusively as a logical sequence in Russian Communist and Chinese Communist history, then, it would appear, they can be summed up in a clear alternative: either the Sino-Soviet alliance is indissolubly knit by the common ideology and goals of international Communism-or that alliance is inevitably doomed to rupture by a struggle between the parties for the unequivocal leadership of Asian, if not world, Communism.

This would be a very misleading oversimplification. Granting a real if partial convergence of interests between Moscow and Peking over the years of rapid Communist expansion in Asia, 1946-1951, based on Chinese Communist ambitions and continuing substantially down to the present, the nature of that convergence, and of the frictions between Peking and Moscow as well, is more complex than overt statements of Soviet and Chinese Communist leaders would indicate. Communism and Communist history make but one of several strands in a relationship which is anything but simple; they must be placed

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