Premier Khrushchev's trip to Egypt marks the second round in what promises to be a titanic struggle between Russia and China for African affections. The Soviet leader has behaved in predictable fashion. He has condemned Western imperialism and pledged further assistance to African independence movements, additional economic aid to emerging African states and support to the Arab world in its quarrel with Israel. Each of these positions represented a response to Chou En-lai's earlier bid for influence among 250,000,000 Africans. Moreover, when Khrushchev decried the creation of racial or ethnic divisions in the world and championed instead "true proletarian internationalism," he was directly challenging Peking's right to speak in the name of progress of Marxism.

The Russians know that they are in serious trouble in the non-Western world today, and that many of their problems are caused not by the West but by their former comrades in Peking. The People's Republic of China, despite its substantial military and economic weaknesses, is now locked in a bitter struggle with the Soviet Union. It has already won some signal victories in Asia, particularly within the Communist movement, and it is now determined to make Africa the next major target. By the time the march toward independence has been completed on this continent, it is likely that some 40 sovereign states will have emerged. This will represent approximately one-third of the entire community of nations.

Soviet leaders are thus well aware of the fact that the outcome of this struggle could be crucial to the ultimate balance of power both in the world and in the Communist camp. They also know that this struggle cannot be won by military means. They have begun to fight hard, using a variety of psychological, political and economic weapons. But the battle is only in its opening stages, and it will surely grow more fierce. African leaders, meanwhile, watch developments with mixed emotions. There are certain advantages in being wooed vigorously by a number of suitors, but there are real dangers involved when complex international rivalries are transplanted onto the African continent.

Both the benefits and the dangers were illustrated by the recent African trip of Chou En-lai. For nearly two months, beginning in mid-December 1963, the Chinese Premier and a 60-man entourage visited ten states of North, West and East Africa. An assessment of current Sino-Soviet rivalry in Africa might well begin with an evaluation of Chou's journey, which had three basic objectives.

The first was to involve China as fully as possible in the process of African emergence and to thwart all attempts at the isolation of China from whatever source. The Chinese Communists began by countering Belgrade with Bandung. Fully conscious of the Jugoslav-Indian pincer movement against them, the Chinese repeatedly urged the convening of a second Bandung-type conference of all Afro-Asian states in preference to another Belgrade-type conference of non-aligned states from which China would be excluded. Chou's basic argument was a simple one: whatever our ideological and cultural differences, we have two vital goals in common. We are all committed to the establishment of our full independence and to the fight against imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism. Furthermore, we are all involved in the common struggle against backwardness and for economic development. Afro-Asian solidarity can be successfully achieved by keeping in mind these two primary objectives.

Having set forth the common goals of China and Africa, Chou next addressed himself to the question of how China could assist the Africans in their attainment. Borrowing from the Five Principles of Coexistence and the ten principles of Bandung, he outlined China's so-called "5-8 policy" toward emergent Africa. Significantly, he selected Algeria as the place to enunciate the five points "constituting China's consistent stand" with respect to political relations with Africa. The list was headed by a firm guarantee of support in the fight against imperialism and "for the winning and safeguarding of national independence." Support was also pledged to the African policies of peace, neutrality and non-alignment; to any form of regionalism or Pan-Africanism satisfactory to the Africans; to the settlement of differences by peaceful means; and to the struggle against interference "from whatever quarter" in the internal affairs of African states.

In Mali, Chou advanced the eight principles which, he asserted, governed Chinese economic and technical assistance. These included the themes that aid must be extended upon the basis of equality and mutual benefit, with no strings or special privileges requested by the donor; that the most favorable terms should be extended, with emphasis upon projects requiring minimal investment, yielding quick results, and aimed at launching nations on the road to self-reliance and independent economic development, not making them dependencies of China; that only equipment of the best quality should be sent and indigenous personnel should be fully trained by the Chinese; and that all Chinese experts would live at the same level as the experts of recipient countries, requesting no special favors.

China's 5-8 policy was intended to constitute a challenge to the Soviet Union quite as much as to the West. At its heart, Sino-Soviet competition in Africa will center on who is contributing most and demanding least. Who is prepared to make the greatest sacrifices on behalf of the National Liberation Movement? Who will abstain to the greatest extent from interference in the internal affairs of the African states and acknowledge most fully their desire for equality? Who will offer the most generous aid with the fewest strings?

China now uses in Africa the same arguments which she has advanced repeatedly against the Soviet Union within the international Communist movement. She charges that the Soviet Government under Khrushchev has at best given second priority to the liberation of colonial peoples, preferring an accommodation with the imperialist West. She asserts that the Russians employ typically imperialist methods in dealing with small states, interfering in their internal affairs and seeking to dictate to them. Soviet economic aid, according to the Chinese, is aimed at producing dependency upon the Soviet Union and providing a basis for obtaining special concessions. The eight principles advanced by Chou in Mali are in reality a product of Chinese grievances against the Russians based upon their experience with Soviet aid.

Before examining the Soviet answer, let us set forth briefly the other objectives of Chou's trip. A second major aim was to create in the African mind an image of China that would contradict the picture being painted by Peking's enemies. In this respect, Chou had a complicated task. In essence, he wanted to establish a series of dual images: a China dedicated to revolution and the overthrow of imperialism everywhere, but also a China committed to peaceful coexistence and non-interference in the internal affairs of states having a different social system; a China sharing a common timing of revolution and common problems of backwardness with Africa and hence able to understand Africa's problems and to exchange experiences, but also a China which by virtue of its size and accomplishments had to be regarded as a major world power, a state that could not be ignored or shunted to the political sidelines.

Two recent events had to be handled carefully by Chou—the Sino-Indian border conflict and the test-ban treaty. Many African leaders, including some on the left, have taken a dim view of the Chinese attack upon India. Almost all African states, moreover, signed the test-ban treaty despite Peking's violent attack upon it. Everywhere, Chou gave a spirited private defense of Chinese actions in the border controversy. In most states, he also made a public promise that China would strive for a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the dispute. At no point, however, did he indicate any change in China's attitude of qualified acceptance of the Colombo proposals. The present stumbling block to negotiations thus remains.

Nor did Chou give ground on the test-ban treaty. He advanced the customary Chinese position on disarmament with vigor: the world should accept complete disarmament and the total destruction of nuclear weapons, with nuclear-free zones being established as a preliminary step. Did not these positions, and the excellent relations which China enjoyed with such small neighbors as Nepal, Burma and Cambodia prove that the People's Republic was a peace-loving nation? The test-ban treaty, however, was totally improper in two basic senses, according to Chou. First, it was a fraud that did not guarantee peace but rather gave American imperialism certain significant military advantages. Second, it was a treaty negotiated essentially by the superpowers and then presented to the rest of the world to sign. Its primary purposes were to keep the nuclear club small and to perpetuate big-power control over the world.

Throughout his African journey, Chou played in contrapuntal fashion upon the themes of struggle and peace, backwardness and progress, weakness and power. Since imperialism and colonialism were the true threats to peace, he argued, the struggle against these forces was inseparable from the struggle for peace, and China stood in the forefront of both battles. A backward society itself, China could appreciate the revolutionary aspirations of the African people and their basic rejection of the status quo. If the have-not nations of the world hoped to have an influence in international affairs, they must overlook differences and achieve unity. Only then could separate weaknesses be turned into collective strength. And to impress Africans with the physical dimensions of the world's largest emerging society, Chou constantly told his audiences, "The 650,000,000 people of China stand with you!"

Chou's African trip had one final objective, that of allowing a top Chinese leader to assess the situation first hand, preparatory to reviewing Chinese policy toward this important continent. Today, Communist China stands at a crossroads in Africa, and certain basic decisions must be made concerning the future. Peking's African policies up to date, while reasonably successful, have been very modest. Should commitments be expanded and, if so, in what direction? The pace of political change in this area renders answers to these questions all the more imperative.


To appreciate this fact, let us briefly review the Chinese Communist record in Africa up to the present. The first substantial Chinese Communist contacts were in North Africa shortly after the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949. This was logical because "the liberation struggle" developed at an early point in this area; a sophisticated, articulate left existed in such countries as Egypt and Algeria; and Cairo in particular was a natural base for organizations such as the Afro-Asian Solidarity Council. Making use of the fierce struggle being waged by North African leaders against the British, French and Israelis, Peking proclaimed its full devotion to the Arab cause, hastened to establish relations with the Nasser government, gave support to the Algerian revolution and made Cairo its headquarters for contacts with all African revolutionaries. This policy paid dividends. By the end of 1963 the People's Republic had achieved recognition from four states in this area—the U.A.R., Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. In the aftermath of Chou's visit, however, it was clear that Peking faced problems in North Africa. Only in Algeria did Chou come close to getting a response matching Chinese hopes, and even here there was an absence of full support for Chinese positions.

What were the difficulties? Three factors stand out. First, material needs and cultural ties both draw the nations of North Africa closer to the West or to the Soviet bloc than to the People's Republic of China. For this region, the revolutionary era is over and the era of construction has begun. Many unsettled problems remain, including some having dangerous international implications—like Arab-Israeli hostility. In general, however, North African leaders are now anxious to consolidate their power at home, create a unified nation and push forward with modernization. Is the Chinese position conducive to these goals, and can China provide hardware for these tasks? Moreover, can she truly communicate with a political élite that has its cultural roots in the Western and Islamic worlds?

Related to this point is a second one: North African leaders like Nasser and Ben Bella see their interests best served by maintaining a judicious balance between the West and the Soviet bloc. Such a balance is not aided by any marked degree of alignment with a China angry at almost everyone. Given their positions, the natural political center of gravity for the U.A.R. and Algeria is Belgrade, not Bandung. North African leaders, moreover, have their own ideas about the tactics and leadership of the African liberation movement. Nasser believes that Egypt has an important role to play both in the Arab world and in black Africa. Algeria shares its experiences and provides assistance to a variety of African revolutionaries. These states do not intend to allow Communist China to assume the leadership of the African revolutionary movement.

Indeed, even the "left" states of North Africa have had sufficient trouble with their own Communists to be on guard when embraced too warmly by foreign Communist leaders. In Morocco, ironically, accused Communists were coming to trial on charges of subversion even as Chou hailed the "growing friendship" of the Chinese and Moroccan peoples. Nasser's Communists are in jail, in exile or in retirement. Even Ben Bella, the only African leader to be publicly praised by Chou as leading his country upon the path of socialism, has made it clear that the Communists will not play a leading role in the Algerian revolution. The North African Communist parties, to be sure, are primarily Moscow-oriented, but the Chinese can scarcely benefit from prevailing political conditions, especially when the Peking line is that the proletariat (read C.P.) must capture national democratic revolutions at some strategic point so as to make possible an uninterrupted march to socialism.

China also faces certain problems in East and Central Africa today. Here, too, contact was relatively early in terms of the political evolution of these regions. The Chinese made their initial contacts, generally through Cairo, while colonialism still prevailed over much of the area. Their basic tactic—like those employed by the Bolsheviks three decades earlier in Asia—has been to invest seed money in promising individuals. Generally, Peking has concentrated upon journalists, politicians and student-intellectual types. To those receptive, Peking has offered red-carpet trips to China, special training programs and funds for a variety of purposes.

The mass media have received particular attention. A number of journalists and presses have been subsidized with the result that a pro-Peking flavor can often be detected in the radical African press. The Chinese have also established one of the world's most powerful transmitters so as to beam Swahili, Arabic and English language programs into eastern Africa. Peking, however, does not confine its activities merely to propaganda. Increasingly, the Chinese have indicated a willingness to give substantial aid to revolutions against colonial or "reactionary" régimes.

The Chinese Communists appear to be involved, directly or indirectly, in every active revolution on the African continent at present. Perhaps the most striking example is the uprising led by Pierre Mulele in the Kwilu region of the Congo. Mulele, who only returned to the Congo in the fall of 1963 after two years in Peking, has sought to follow Maoist principles completely. He is seeking to develop a guerrilla movement based upon the support of the peasants. Instructions have been issued to the troops to cultivate the people, winning their confidence and support, so that the "Liberation Army" can swim in their midst as fish in the water—Mao's famous dictum.

Peking gives trips, funds and training to other revolutionary movements. Rwanda exiles plotting a return to power receive Chinese Communist assistance. Certain leaders of the Zimbabwe African People's Union, which aims at African control of Southern Rhodesia, have been ardently wooed by the Chinese. Full support has been promised the African nationalists of Angola and Mozambique, and leading representatives of both these movements have been to Peking where they presumably have obtained aid. South Africa represents a natural target. On April 13, 1964, a typical Peking "rally" on behalf of South African "freedom fighters" was held, with various African speakers being featured. The radical portion of the South African National Congress is reportedly under strong Peking influence. Thus, as the revolutionary tide sweeps through central and southern Africa, the Chinese Communists are determined to be in the vanguard.

Peking, however, is anxious to play both sides of the street. It has balanced its revolutionary program with one of seeking formal relations with self-governing African states of widely varying political coloration. Apparently there is only one qualification: recognition of Nationalist China is unacceptable. To some of the East African states, moreover, Peking has offered economic and technical assistance. The campaign to win friends thus progresses simultaneously at different levels and via different tactics.

As in North Africa, Peking's East African policy has produced mixed results. Most states in this area have granted recognition to the People's Republic and established formal relations with it. Some of Peking's seed money, moreover, appears to have paid off. At least a few individuals aided by the Chinese have been in a position to repay their benefactors. Perhaps more importantly, African nationalists still struggling against white rule are undeniably gravitating to the left at present, and Peking has good reason to hope that it can achieve major gains here, both against the West and against the Soviet Union.

There is a debit side to Peking's ledger, however. A program of "buying" individuals is not very costly, but its long-run effectiveness may be questioned. Most individuals do not stay hitched. Either they are independent-minded men who will take funds but not orders, or they are opportunists whose "convictions" last only as long as the subsidies. A more serious question for Peking is whether the Chinese can simultaneously ride the two tides now running strongly in this region: revolution and stabilization. If Peking continues to invest in revolution, it will inevitably gain the hostility of the African moderates. Because they are already suspicious of Peking and anxious to keep foreign interference in Africa to a minimum, many East African leaders would prefer that the Africans themselves underwrite the remaining liberation movements. If Peking decides to invest more heavily in stabilization, a much greater outlay of funds will be required.

In West Africa, the Chinese Communists were relatively late in their arrival. Thus they were confronted with independent states many of which were using the designation "socialist." It was in this part of Africa, therefore, that Peking first experimented with official aid programs. Beginning in 1960, the Chinese advanced credits and shortly thereafter started to operate tea and rice plantations, promised to build cigarette and match factories, and undertook technical training programs. These activities were in addition to Peking's usual programs of cultural relations. In this area, there is little evidence of the seed-money approach; extensive unofficial ties would be dangerous—as Russian experience has shown—and they are also basically unnecessary.

Up to date, the Chinese Communists have scored their most significant gains in selected parts of West Africa. In considerable measure, this is a product of the political climate of the region. But it is also a product of the Chinese capacity to learn from the mistakes of others, and their ability in this region to keep their policies clear and unambiguous. Their aid programs have been successful partly because they have been small-scale and hence have not involved the Chinese in the total planning process, with all of the complications which this involves. The Chinese have been in pursuit of immediate political gains. From all indications, their technicians have made no demands, there has been no interference in domestic politics, and no obvious quid pro quo has been sought. Peking has shown a capacity to tolerate waste and inefficiency without complaint. Even in this region, however, the issues for the future are troublesome. Should and can present activities be expanded? More importantly, in the long run, can Peking rely upon the parties and leaders of the African left? It is significant that Chou En-lai refused to apply the term "socialist" to the governments of Ghana, Mali or Guinea.


There can be little doubt that Communist China, despite the problems it faces, has scored significant gains in Africa during the past five years, some of them at the expense of the Soviet Union. How shall we assess the Russian position at present? Like Peking, Moscow has engaged in a wide range of activities: subsidization of journalists; training of revolutionaries; scholarship programs; and large-scale economic aid. In retrospect, it can perhaps be said that Russia was at the zenith of her revolutionary influence upon Africa in 1960. Prior to that time, she and her close allies stood as the sole alternatives to continued dependence upon the West. The Soviet Union, moreover, was able to outbid all external competitors in supporting national liberation movements, until the Chinese entered the field.

Even after 1960, the Soviet Union has continued to have certain significant advantages over the Chinese. As a major world power, it can confer a degree of prestige on a movement or government which Peking can scarcely offer. Moreover, unlike the Chinese, the Russians derive strength in the contest from industrialized allies. Finally, Soviet resources are infinitely greater than those of Peking. It is not surprising that Soviet operations have been on a much larger scale in almost all of the areas where these two nations are in serious conflict. According to figures believed reliable, Soviet credits extended to Algeria total $100 million whereas Chinese credits equal $50 million; Soviet aid to Somalia is $44 million in comparison with Chinese credits totaling $20 million; the figures for Ghana are $81 million and $20 million respectively; for Mali, $55 million and $19.6 million; and for Guinea, $80 million and $24 million. Only in Zanzibar did the Chinese recently commit themselves to a more extensive aid program than the Russians, and in the light of recent developments, that commitment may be reëxamined. If East European assistance were added to the Russian figures, the gap would be significantly wider.

In the competition for students, also, the Soviets are far ahead of the Chinese Communists. It is difficult to get reliable figures because many African students go to bloc countries "unofficially," but the evidence suggests that there are presently about 1,000 Ghanaian students in the Soviet bloc countries and no more than a handful (possibly 5-10) in China; there are some 600 Sudanese in the bloc and few if any in China; Guinea has about 600 students in the bloc, not more than 20 in China—and many of these may have returned home.

Both the Soviet Union and China have had difficulty in attracting good students and in satisfying those that they get. Indeed, in the light of Soviet experience, it may be doubted that having a large number of students is an asset. Relatively few Africans have thus far returned from the Communist world as enthusiastic supporters of the system. A significant number have been disillusioned. Linguistic and cultural barriers are formidable, but social and political problems have also been serious. While the situation is not as critical as some Western reports have indicated, African students are a somewhat dubious factor in the struggle for influence. There is no reason to believe, however, that the Chinese problem in this respect is less difficult than the Russian.

Weighing these various factors, we can state that the Chinese Communists are engaged in an uphill struggle to match the Soviet Union in volume of aid, influence and general prestige on the African continent. Nevertheless, the Chinese have made recent gains, and the Soviets find themselves in trouble at many points. Perhaps the roots of the Soviet problem lie in three factors: racial-cultural differences; the developmental gap between the Soviet Union and Africa; and Soviet weaknesses or errors in diplomatic-political policies. Naturally, the Chinese have been quick to exploit these factors when they could do so. Thus, in some cases, they have thrown the Russians onto the defensive in spite of the much larger Soviet presence in the African scene.

Moscow has repeatedly charged Peking with using racism to advance its cause in Africa. There is some exaggeration in this charge, but it also contains an element of truth. The Chinese have rarely if ever resorted to straight racial appeals. To do so would be un-Marxian and probably unpolitic. As is the case with most people, Africans are primarily for the Africans. At the grassroots level at least, there is no reason to believe that the Asian is regarded with any more enthusiasm than the European. A strong element of racialism does exist in contemporary Africa, but any direct appeal based upon this theme by the Chinese would probably backfire.

Nevertheless, the general thrust of the Chinese line in Africa has racial implications. The strong emphasis upon the unity of the Afro-Asian world, the heavy assault upon Western imperialism, even the slogan about the East wind prevailing over the West wind, suggest the unity of the black and yellow peoples against the whites. The unremitting attacks upon the Russians as non-Asians in the attempt to force them out of Afro-Asian organizations is clearly an effort by the Chinese to identify the Russian people with the advanced, Western world. Clearly, the many stories of discrimination in the Soviet Union against African students have done the Soviet image some harm. And it is possible that if anti-white sentiment in Africa were to be extended or increased by a series of bloody liberation wars in the south, Chinese advantages over the Russians might also increase.

However, the most telling blows struck against the Russians by the Chinese relate to the issue of Soviet methods and motives. The Chinese have not hesitated to charge Russia with being guilty of big-power chauvinism in Africa—ignoring the rights of small nations, interfering in their internal affairs, making economic aid a weapon of Russian power. These charges strike home, of course, because there is some substance in them. In the postwar era, the Russians came forward rapidly as a global power from a background of relative inexperience in formal diplomacy and a record of great highhandedness in dealing with the international Communist movement. As a result, the Russians have made numerous mistakes in Africa. They have interfered in internal affairs, as in Guinea; they have often appeared to favor major-power diplomacy at the expense of small states; and they have granted economic aid on less generous terms than might have been possible.

Like certain Western powers, moreover, the Russians have often found the experience of aiding underdeveloped societies terribly frustrating. The usual complaints have been voiced: the unwillingness of aid recipients to take advice; massive inefficiency, waste and corruption; and lack of gratitude. The very scope of Soviet operations in some societies has presented a problem that the Chinese have not faced. The Russians have been intimately involved in the total economy, and hence forced to share the blame when general crises developed. In the final analysis, it might not be unfair to say that the Russians have faced the disadvantages of being both developed and developing in African eyes. On the one hand, Africans tend increasingly to group the Soviet Union with the advanced West, hence to doubt the applicability of the Soviet model and to view with suspicion Soviet economic and political objectives. But on the other hand, the Soviet Union frequently does not fare well when compared with the West in cultural or technological terms. This is important in a period when the African élite is still strongly influenced by Western civilization.

Needless to say, the Russians are not passive in the face of Chinese assaults. Recent months have witnessed a rising tide of counterattacks, many of them timed to coincide with the Chou En-lai trip. When Chou reached Algeria, Khrushchev managed to vie for the headlines by granting a major interview to African journalists that was spread across the Algerian press. Indirectly, he challenged many Chinese views on revolution and development, setting forth the Soviet position in persuasive fashion. In Mali, Sino-Soviet rivalry has grown truly intense. When Chou landed at the Bamako airport, Soviet leaflets entitled "Friends and Comrades in Africa" were being distributed among the crowd gathered to greet the Chinese Premier. The leaflets contained a recitation of the extensive aid given Africa by the Russians and a vitriolic attack upon the Chinese for their attempts to disrupt proletarian internationalism and use Africa for their own ends. These are but two of many examples of the spreading quarrel that could be cited. Despite the difficulties, the Russians have shown no intention of halting economic aid or terminating their scholarship program. They continue to fight for the right to be represented in Afro-Asian organizations. African delegations fly into Moscow in increasing numbers.

What are the main conclusions to be drawn at this stage? Four basic points would appear to merit emphasis:

1. A bitter struggle for influence has now erupted on the African continent, a struggle between the Soviet Union and China in which all available political and economic weapons are being used. Fundamentally, the basic issues involved are the same as those that provoked the global Sino-Soviet split: a conflict over organization, decision-making and leadership in the revolutionary movement; sharply differing positions on the most appropriate tactics and strategy for Communist victory in the late twentieth century; and quarrels over the proper treatment to be given comrades and allies. Each of these basic issues reflects in some measure the different traditions, timing of revolution, stage of development and degree of power that mark the two Communist giants.

Increasingly, the central tactic of the Chinese in Africa and elsewhere appears to be that of trying to couple the Soviet Union and the United States together, as the two imperialist superpowers which threaten the rest of the world. The Chinese seek to isolate their two primary opponents and to establish a series of "United Fronts"—one tying them with the Afro-Asian-Latin American world, another connecting them with selected "advanced" or "transitional" societies of Europe and Asia. Thus Peking will strive with all its capacity to read the Russians out of the Afro-Asian group, and present itself as the leading revolutionary model.

The Russians, on the other hand, are increasingly drawn to the strategy of banking upon development rather than revolution, in the belief that the leaders of post-independence Africa are primarily interested in political unification and economic modernization, and that socialism can be achieved only in the context of indigenous development. Thus their tactic is to underwrite certain lines of economic and political "growth" in Africa while charging that the Chinese are attempting to force the pace of African revolution on behalf of their own selfish bid for world power.

2. In assessing the tide of battle, one cannot ignore recent Chinese gains. In the past few years, Peking has made its presence felt throughout the African continent. Prior to 1956, no African state recognized Communist China. Today, that government is recognized by 14 African states (counting Tanganyika and Zanzibar as one). Now, however, the Chinese may well have reached a more difficult part of the road. Initial gains were easy; Peking could take advantage of Moscow's errors and mount modest programs having an impact far greater than their cost. (It should be noted, however, that Taipei also did well with limited aid programs in selected African states.) But the Russians have advantages that cannot easily be overcome: Soviet power and resources are vastly more extensive; despite its troubles with Eastern Europe, the Soviet Government in its quest for African "votes" has allies upon whose ideological commitment and technical skills it can generally count; and whatever the record of Russian interference in African internal affairs, Moscow's current ideological-political line would seem to be more compatible with that of most established African leaders than the Chinese line.

The Chinese Communists have an interest in keeping the revolutionary fires stoked. Their greatest opportunity for influence is in areas of Africa which are not yet self-governing or where independence seems most incomplete. In the aftermath of successful revolution—in the cold, grey dawn of consolidating power and nation-building—Chinese competitive advantages sharply decline. Not only are Chinese resources very limited. The Chinese revolutionary model has limited applicability for Africa, despite the relatively common timing of the Chinese experience and certain common socio-economic problems.

3. One basic political problem looms ahead for both the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. At what point will it be necessary or natural to encourage the establishment of more Communist parties? Today, there are only a few bona fide Communist parties in Africa and, without exception, the majority of their leaders appear to be inclined toward Moscow. As the importance of being able to count upon votes—to have disciplined supporters—in all parts of the world increases, both Moscow and Peking will be under greater pressure to create their own orthodox parties. It is entirely possible that rival factions will emerge almost simultaneously in a number of African states. Up to date, Soviet and Chinese Communists have managed to maintain cordial relations with governments which have taken a tough line toward their domestic Communists. If Russia and China get into a deadly struggle for the establishment and control of Communist parties throughout the African continent, it could have serious repercussions in their relations even with the leftist African states.

4. The overwhelming majority of African nations want to re main strictly neutral in the quarrel between the two Communist leaders. Their foreign policy is one of "positive neutrality," friendly relations with all-or almost all-nations. For a number of African states, this includes Russia, China and Jugoslavia. As noted earlier, the Africans want maximum aid and minimum interference. The leftist states in particular are thus deeply troubled by the Sino-Soviet rift; it threatens to add new complications to an already complex foreign-domestic situation. It is not easy to maintain "positive neutrality" when the neat inter national divisions of yesteryear have been fragmented. More over, many African states can now feel the heat of the Sino-Soviet dispute since it has been carried onto their own soil, and they can feel the increasing pressures to take sides, at least on some issues. This they will resist as long and as fully as possible. The most basic theme underlying African politics will continue to be "Africa for the Africans." Ironically, however, one by-product of the Sino-Soviet competition in Africa may be greater opportunities for the West to play a significant role in future African development. After the Russians and Chinese have slashed at each other for a while, the French, the British—and even the Belgians—may not look so bad to those newly emerging African states in quest of help.

You are reading a free article.

Subscribe to Foreign Affairs to get unlimited access.

  • Paywall-free reading of new articles and a century of archives
  • Unlock access to iOS/Android apps to save editions for offline reading
  • Six issues a year in print, online, and audio editions
Subscribe Now
  • ROBERT A. SCALAPINO, Professor of Political Science, University of California; author of "Democracy and the Party Movement in Pre-war Japan" and "Parties and Politics in Contemporary Japan"
  • More By Robert A. Scalapino