The Day After Russia Attacks
What War in Ukraine Would Look Like—and How America Should Respond
No people is fonder of reading the future from the past than the Chinese, perhaps because no other people possesses a past which has for more than three millennia been as minutely recorded and as consistently glorious. The Chinese passion for their own history has bred a propensity for repeating both past triumphs and past mistakes. Until the end of the nineteenth century, the Chinese were in many ways in thrall to their own voluminous and detailed chronicles. When the intellectual sat down to the obligatory study of those chronicles, the profuse commentaries thereon and other quasi- sacred works of great antiquity, he was quite consciously performing an act of affirmation. He was at once affirming his personal commitment to the spiritual and political values of the great central tradition and renewing that two-thousand-year-old tradition. He was excluding any radical change in those values or the society based upon them, and he was severely restricting the possibilities of evolutionary change. Alterations did, of course, occur, some of them quite sweeping. But they occurred within the framework of the central tradition-or, at least, the Chinese could pretend that they occurred within that framework. When they considered the probable shape of the future they could therefore assume that it would, with some variations, repeat the past in perpetuity.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the politically engaged vanguard of China has deliberately sought to destroy both traditional society and the moral values on which it rested. Even before the establishment of the Communist Party in 1921, activists and idealists labored to prepare a site for a wholly different future by leveling the customs and the laws of the past. When, at the start of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, the adolescent Red Guards raised the slogan, "Wipe out the old civilization!", they were bringing to its ultimate expression the overriding political and cultural preoccupation of twentieth-century China. The old civilization has now been shattered, and the Cultural Revolution has also blasted the new society developed since the communist "liberation" of 1949.
After devoting the first two-thirds of the twentieth century to sweeping destruction, the Chinese may no longer be captives of their own past- although their direction is still, in part, determined by that past, just as a fugitive is impelled to put the greatest possible distance between himself and the jail. The moral and political values which were sustained through all the changes of the past and which limited those changes have been discredited. Attempting to read China's future from China's past- immediate or remote-is, therefore, a more hazardous undertaking than it was in the days of the Confucian Empires.
The People's Republic established by Mao Tse-tung eighteen years ago is disintegrating in much the same manner as previous short-lived and radically innovating dynasties like the Ch'in (221-207 B.C.) and the Sui (589-618 A.D.). None the less, changes in the fundamental matrix have rendered the events that followed the collapse of those dynasties only an uncertain guide to the events that will follow the Maoists' collapse. Enduring a few years longer than Adolph Hitler's thousand-year Reich, the "wholly new organization of human society and the wholly new kind of human being" offered by Mao Tse-tung as the model for all mankind could prove no more than the thorough catharsis of traditional Chinese civilization-an essential but hardly a glorious process. However, the phase of destruction appears to be drawing to an end. The Chinese people appear ready to give themselves once again to the great work of construction.
Their task is to create a completely new system of values and bring them to general acceptance. Other nations can, perhaps, live without a minutely formulated political and moral creed. The Chinese have never been able to do so in the past, and it is unlikely that they will be able to in the future. The historical phase which is most nearly analogous to the present radical transition was the change from the repressive Ch'in, with its strictly codified laws, to the significantly less intrusive Han dynasty, which endured from 206 B.C. to 221 A.D. The Han was based upon general acceptance of the five sacred relationships among men defined by Confucius four centuries before the dynasty appeared. The Han's succession to the Ch'in represented a fundamental alteration of social values and administrative institutions. All subsequent dynastic changes, including the transition from the Sui to the T'ang (618-805 A.D.), occurred within the broad political and moral framework established by the Han. New men took power and adjusted the system. They did not contrive a wholly new system as the Han did-and as the successors to the Maoists must do. The great problem the new régime will face is the absence of any well-developed model such as the Han found in the Confucian doctrine and that all its successors followed until the Ch'ing dynasty fell in 1911.
A period of intense disorganization is certain to follow the People's Republic of China, even if a presumptive government still exists in Peking and still calls itself by that name. The necessity to shape a new order, regardless of what it calls itself, will force upon the country's new rulers a problem which no Chinese government before 1900 truly acknowledged and no subsequent government solved-the nature of China's relationship to the outside world. Even before the emergence of an effective government, the Chinese attitude toward the other nations of the world will demonstrate whether the world's largest nation is truly entering a new epoch or is merely repeating the distressing recent past once again.
The Chinese state was for two thousand years aloof and self-centered as no other great realm has been. It developed in substantial isolation from any realms which could claim to be its material or cultural equal, and it was, quite self-evidently, vastly superior in power and size to all its neighbors. The concept of the nation-state therefore never took root in Chinese minds. The Chinese were not only incapable of grasping that specific concept of the nation-state which was a product of the Renaissance and the Reformation in Europe, but were incapable of recognizing the existence of distinct-but equal-national or racial entities.
China was, until the late nineteenth century, a realm without diplomats. Only one relationship was possible between the Great Empire and other peoples-near or far-subordination to the Chinese. Believing themselves the center of a world which would, in time, be brought into harmonious order under their suzerainty, the Chinese could not conceive of entering into relations of equality with other self-avowed nations. The few visitors who were permitted to penetrate the forbidden vastness of China came as "tribute-bearing envoys"-neither as ambassadors nor as traders or tourists. China was T'ien-hsia-all under Heaven-and the Ta-t'ung-Great Unity-was the goal of humankind-a utopia spanning the entire world and with laws enforced by Chinese wisdom. When Mao Tse-tung promised to "liberate" all mankind and create "a wholly new era," he was reaffirming the fundamental Chinese view of the world which rose before Confucius and ended with K'ang Yu-wei, who tried in vain to reform the structure of the Ch'ing dynasty in 1898. Implicit in the Confucians' doctrines and evident in their actions was the use of armed force when force was necessary to move mankind toward the state of unitary blessedness. Mao Tse-tung's theses on "people's war" explicitly declared that force, deceit and subversion originating in China were essential to the "liberation" of mankind from the exploitation of the past. "Power grows out of the barrel of the gun," Mao asserted. "Force is the midwife of the new era," his followers echoed.
The crucial problem of China since it first came into sustained contact with the intrusive West in the eighteenth century has been its inability to adjust to existence as an equal member of the comity of nations. But amid the turmoil of the last days of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, there are signs that a profound change in the Chinese approach to the outside world is now in train. The Chinese pragmatists are being forced toward recognition that China is not so powerful-morally or materially-that she can impose her own order upon mankind. The same men are moving toward the corollary recognition that the outside world is composed not of evil midgets to be controlled by China, but of equal nations with which China must live on amicable terms, Although the vision of millennia will not dissipate for many decades, the auguries are favorable for the essential psychological adjustment without which China can neither build a viable nation, untormented by a messianic mission, nor cease to torment the world.
The chief attack leveled by the Maoists on the foreign-policy doctrines of their opponents, "the power-holders within the Communist Party who follow the capitalist road," is compressed in the Chinese phrase "three harmonies and one reduction." The bald official translation charges the anti-Maoists with championing "the idea of doing away with struggle in our relation with the [American] imperialists, [all] reactionaries, and the [Soviet] modern revisionists, and of cutting down our assistance and support to the revolutionary struggles of other peoples." By the Maoists' own admission, the group that advocates such a radical change is a strong majority of the officials of both the Communist Party and the People's Government. The Chinese masses, though bemused by the vision of the Great Unity, have never displayed any great desire to sacrifice either their lives or their comfort to attain it. The pragmatists have been forced to alter their approach to the outside world by the realization that China can afford neither the enormous costs nor the great risks inherent in Mao Tse-tung's policy of perpetual revolution. They recognize that they must choose between China and the world, and they choose China. They have learned that China cannot remake the world and that, in any event, the pursuit-or even the attainment- of that purpose does not necessarily serve China's own interests. Recognizing that much of China's present agony of deprivation and disorder is due to the sacrifices demanded by Mao's forward policy, the pragmatists are moving toward a non-ideological foreign policy. The conviction that China's activities should seek to advance China's self-interest, rather than to found a worldwide utopia under Chinese hegemony, is the beginning of a new wisdom based upon the realities of the modern world, rather than the internal compulsions of men like Mao Tse-tung.
If this much is accurate then some forecasting is possible, however risky. In the beginning, the new Chinese foreign policy is likely to march behind the militant slogans of its aggressive predecessor. But little force is likely to back those slogans. By the summer of 1967, there was solid evidence that Peking was already either too weak or too indifferent to intervene effectively in the "liberation struggles" it supported verbally in Hong Kong and Burma. As new men reshape the mechanism of power and recast foreign policy, the slogans will become less strident. They will in time subside to whispers.
Any Chinese government must provide for the country's defense by denying possession of North Viet Nam to a powerful and hostile power like the United States. But the tenor of support for North Viet Nam is likely to change. Hanoi's total commitment to "liberation" of South Viet Nam at all costs and Peking's belief that the victory of the "National Liberation Front" must be won by internal "people's war" rather than outright invasion had come into conflict even before the Cultural Revolution began. Under the pragmatists, Chinese support of Ho Chi Minh's war to take South Viet Nam will slowly diminish. A foreign policy based upon Chinese self-interest must make that adjustment during a transition period when all China's resources are urgently required for reconstruction. Besides, the most pressing problem of foreign policy will be to reduce the vicious mutual antagonism which now makes the Chinese fear American invasion.
The Chinese will in the course of the next few years come into possession of a nuclear arsenal adequate for defense of their own borders and of adjacent areas of primary interest, like North Viet Nam. They will be able to take a more relaxed and more confident view of their position in the world than they now can. With the passing of the obsessed Maoists, Chinese foreign policy will, at once, be less aggressive and more wary. If-as is unlikely-the "power-holders" were to come to total power tomorrow morning, China would not rush back into Moscow's arms. The Chinese have learned too much of the world-and of themselves-since 1949 to subordinate themselves again to "Big Brother" Russia. Although the transition is likely to be protracted, the Chinese will probably seek more normal relations with the Russians, just as they will, in time, seek better relations with the United States. Still feeling themselves encircled by the two great powers, they will be determined to keep their guard up. But they will also wish to reduce the present acute tension.
That tension will, of course, diminish when China's foreign policy no longer proceeds from an absolute determination to assert China's absolute supremacy. Lingering Marxist commitment to the world revolution may prevent rapid thawing of Sino-American relations. But, in four or five years' time, Peking and Washington should be progressing toward the same kind of understanding which today prevails between Moscow and Washington. It may actually take longer to restore "fraternal" relations between Moscow and Peking than to arrive at an armed truce between Washington and Peking. Any Chinese government is likely to be wary of the Russians for some time because of its memories of the Russian "betrayal" of China-the "betrayal" having consisted of the Soviet refusal either to give Peking nuclear arms or to underwrite Chinese ambitions in the underdeveloped world. Besides, the 4,000 miles of Central Asian border between China and the Soviet Union will remain a potential source of trouble in view of China's resentment of Russian control of territory that was once Chinese.
Tremendously important in itself, the new direction of foreign policy will also indicate the general orientation of their rulers toward the Chinese people. If the new Chinese régime can shake off the millennia-old obsession with imposing a Chinese-directed utopia on the world, all things are possible to it. But pure pragmatism, which can provide guidance for an ad hoc foreign policy, is an inadequate foundation for a consistent internal policy. The fundamental assumptions and basic moral values from which China's new government proceeds are, therefore, at least as important as the exact composition of that government and the name by which it calls itself. The nature of those assumptions and values is also the single most difficult projection to make. The difficulty stems from the fact that the Chinese themselves will find it exceedingly difficult to create a satisfactory new doctrine-if, indeed, they can finally create such a doctrine at all.
The Chinese are an ideological people because they are not a formally religious people. Confucianism provided them not only with a minutely detailed moral code and an intricately organized political system shaped after a legendary Golden Age, but also with spiritual sustenance and a satisfactory relationship to the supernatural. Acknowledging the possible existence of "spirits," the Confucian Mandarins none the less felt that the self-conscious worship of such spirits was a fit occupation only for the lower orders. The philosopher-officials, who managed society by example as much as by authority, derived their own spiritual satisfaction from the unending progression of mankind through this world. Albeit naïvely, the masses also shared that satisfaction. The spiritual pragmatism of Confucianism stemmed from posterity worship rather than the ancestor worship which the West discerned in Chinese doctrines, The past, the present and the future were inextricably linked by the unbreakable continuity of custom and the obvious immortality of humanity.
Starting with Darwinism, modern science has depreciated that doctrine, for an ignoble beginning implies the likelihood of an ignoble end. Modern power has further depreciated the spiritual worth of Confucianism by destroying the political system which was at once its expression, its affirmation and its indispensable matrix. Deprived at once of their temporal grandeur and their spiritual certainty, the Chinese have in the twentieth century tested a wide range of substitutes. Communism was the most recent and the most sweeping of those substitutes, which ranged from parliamentary democracy to science and esthetics among different individuals at different times. The failure of Maoism either to achieve its objectives or even to endure has now deprived the Chinese of their last ideology.
Lacking a generally accepted formal religion to provide both purpose and reassurance, the Chinese will find it difficult to make do with the materialistic pragmatism which is the secular creed of Western nations and the Soviet Union. The new generation of Chinese leaders is almost certain to be pragmatic in the sense that it will test policies by their accomplishments rather than by the towering goals they should ideally attain. None the less, the Chinese will always be driven back to the question: Pragmatism for what end? Even if they could transcend the common human need for submission to a power and a purpose greater than the individual and, ideally, greater than mankind itself, the Chinese could hardly devote themselves totally to the pursuit of material betterment. China's prospect of creating an affluent society within the foreseeable future is so remote as to be almost nonexistent. It would, therefore, hardly be pragmatic for the Chinese to dedicate themselves to making such a society. That is not to deny that gradual material betterment is one of the few clear-cut, concrete purposes on which all Chinese pragmatists can agree when they contemplate the deprivation of their compatriots. In any event, even dwellers in an affluent society need to believe in-or, at least, to believe that they believe in-some supernatural sanction.
The working doctrine, which will probably never be quite satisfactory, will probably include elements from all China's past ideologies, as well as Western and Marxist thought. Certain organizational principles developed by the Communists are likely to endure, in the long run making for greater efficiency. After the first total revulsion from the dogmatic Thought of Mao Tse-tung, the virtues of altruism, honesty and hard work so assiduously preached by the Maoists and the "power-holders" alike will probably be assigned the honored position they always just failed of attaining under Confucianism. But those virtues, like the organizational devices, will be purified of much of the compulsion and extremism that the Maoists attached to them.
The reaction to the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution will inevitably shape the China of the immediate future because of the intensity and the viciousness of the Maoists' attempt to destroy all existing institutions, traditional or communist. Words like anarchy, confusion, upheaval, even chaos, are too abstract to convey the reality of life in a country where almost all acceptance of authority-moral or temporal-has vanished. Even the reporting of pitched battles between supporters of the half-dozen-odd feuding groups can give no more than an impression of the situation; nor can the Maoists' own anguished appeals to their presumed followers to "restore revolutionary discipline" within their own ranks. An exceedingly minor incident in Shanghai, one of the few cities the Maoists claim to rule, may obliquely illuminate the state of China under the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
A sympathizer of the "power-holders" entered a local branch of the Public Security Office to apply for an exit visa which would permit him to visit Hong Kong. His aged father was ill in the British Crown Colony, he told the sympathetic policeman who interviewed him.
"I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do for you," the policeman said. "That fellow over there is a 'revolutionary rebel,' the next one is with us, and so on. The whole office is split." "Well," the applicant finally asked, "who's in charge?" The policeman put on a sorrowful face. "I guess nobody's in charge here," he answered.
The episode reveals not only the breakdown of order, but the immense effort which will be necessary to recreate an effective structure of authority. The Maoists have fought a losing battle to impose their own utopian extremism on China; and they are now treading the dreary path to political annihilation. The anti-Maoists too have been battered. The formal structures of both the People's Government and the Communist Party have been gutted, and leaders like President Liu Shao-ch'i and Secretary-General Teng Hsiao-p'ing have been publicly humiliated. In the West, a leader like Liu Shao-ch'i who has borne the most vicious calumnies with dignity, restraint and the determination not to yield would probably emerge from his ordeal much revered and much respected. He might come to power on a wave of enthusiastic support from a public that had repudiated his predecessor. Normally such a reaction would be most unlikely in China, where the man's weakness, rather than his strength, would be most apparent. But the manner of the Maoists' attack has had the curious effect of increasing Liu's stature-a fact most simply attested by the growing support his faction enjoys among the people. (The growth and increasing stubbornness of that popular support is derived neither from the accounts of refugees nor by inference from Peking's reports, but from the Maoists' direct admissions.) Many Chinese find in the attacks on Liu renewed reason to support him. Liu, after all, is the symbol of rational and courageous resistance to the extremist policies of Mao Tse-tung which have spread deprivation and disorder throughout China. The Maoists themselves have declared repeatedly that Liu opposes rigid economic policies at home and an aggressively messianic policy abroad. Since the people, concerned primarily with their own well-being, share those attitudes, Liu's personal prestige has risen. It is, however, still questionable whether he can overcome the great practical obstacles to recapturing power. Although the anti-Maoist forces have managed to maintain themselves in many areas, they possess neither a coherent organization at the provincial level nor any national structure of power. It would therefore be precipitous to predict that the so-called "power-holders" will inherit authority over a united China, particularly since the military remain the key to the future.
The People's Liberation Army has managed to avoid a civil war in which its various units supporting different political groups fight each other. It has also, by and large, managed to retain those units intact. None the less, the Liberation Army, too, has been riven by the Cultural Revolution; it is bewildered by external events and tried by internal strains. It remains, however, the closest thing to a functioning, nationwide institution in China. It is, therefore, not unreasonable to expect it to play a major role in the consolidation that will follow the Cultural Revolution, when the exhausted combatants realize that neither side can win because they have destroyed the very structure of power for whose possession they fought.
Six of the ten men who held the rank of Field Marshal until formal military ranks were abolished by Mao's chief lieutenant Lin Piao are now disaffected from the Maoists. They are not necessarily supporters of the anti-Maoists, a term which, in any event, describes a loose alliance of men whose opinions and allegiances cover a broad spectrum, rather than the coherent group the term implies. Possessing a wide-meshed-if tenuous-network of allies, clients and supporters throughout the military establishment which covers all China, those former Field Marshals could form the nucleus of a military junta. When the declining personal prestige of Mao Tse-tung has fallen even further, they may make a coup at the center. Having either displaced Mao or captured him, they could then attempt to rebuild the Chinese power structure.
Regardless of whether a military junta actually seizes the tattered shreds of central power, the immediate prospect for China is the erection of three separate façades of power with a complex reality half-revealed behind them. The configuration, which was taking definite shape in the high summer of 1967, will, barring unlikely outside intervention, show itself clearly no later than the end of the year.
The first façade will be the "Victory of the Great and Invincible Thought of Mao Tse-tung." There are no avowed anti-Maoists in China today, and all the contending groups fight in the name of Mao and his canonical Thought. Unless anarchy destroys all semblance of the institutions of power, a victory for the doctrines of Mao Tse-tung will be proclaimed and Mao himself will be hailed until his death as "the supreme leader, the helmsman, the great teacher." Since all his extreme policies have already been conceded by the Maoists themselves, Mao will be even more of a figurehead than he has been in the recent past. The rapid decline of his personal prestige, however, means that the first façade will be gossamer- thin. In certain areas, where Mao's name has already become an object of opprobrium, the authorities will spare themselves the bother of maintaining the pretense.
Behind the Great Victory of the Great Thought of Mao Tse-tung will stand another facade, hardly more substantial than the first. A government calling itself the Central Government of the People's Republic of China will exist in Peking. Its authority is, however, likely to be limited to certain sections of Peking, though it will perform the ceremonial functions of a government at home and abroad. Unless the Maoist mania destroys China's relations with almost all foreign nations-a prospect not wholly unlikely-the Peking government will maintain embassies abroad and will treat with foreign embassies in the capital. It will most closely resemble the government maintained by successive warlords in Peking from 1916 to 1928, when the Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek took the city. Cut off from effective authority over the great mass of China, that government none the less maintained the dignity of a sovereign government-and, occasionally, extended its sway beyond Peking.
Regardless of whether a junta of generals makes a coup at the center, the third and final facade will be the most substantial. Since the People's Liberation Army is the only coherent institution remaining in a chaotic China, it will appear that the country is under effective, centralized military rule. But the Army will be unable to rule China effectively for a number of reasons. It is itself too badly split to act in a coördinated fashion throughout the country. It is also too heavily committed to regional loyalties and to allegiances with local "power-holders" to function as a wholly independent organism. Besides contending with the problems produced by the shattering of normal communications and lines of command, the Liberation Army will have to settle its own struggles between pro-Maoists and anti-Maoists before it can act as an effective, integral force.
The reality behind the three façades is likely to resemble that reality which existed behind the façade of central rule by the Ch'ing dynasty as it lay dying between 1890 and 1900. Groups of four or five provinces, perhaps corresponding to the six Regions into which the Communist Party divides China, will resemble the viceroyalties of the Ch'ing's last days. No more than the viceroys controlled their sub-realms wholly will the rulers of the new subdivisions exercise total power in every county and prefecture. They will, however, make their political decisions and manage their economies in substantial independence of the ineffective central government. Just as the great viceroys possessed their own semi-autonomous armed forces, treasuries and powers of life and death, the new satraps will possess almost complete discretion. Their relations with the armed units within their territories are likely to be complex and to assume divergent shapes in each of the satrapies, since the People's Liberation Army will still exist as a national organization. But those satraps who are not themselves generals will be dealing with generals who have been so long in specific localities that their dominant, immediate loyalties, too, are regional rather than national. The satraps on the borders, like the viceroys of the Ch'ing, will even manage their own relations with neighboring countries.
The process of growing together of those semi-discrete parts of China is likely to be slow. Perhaps the Army will become so strong and so unified that it can impose an apparent unity and a degree of centralization upon the vast country. The regionalized structure is, however, likely to endure for some time. One of Mao Tse-tung's chief errors was his attempt to impose complete centralization and total conformity upon a nation and a race which feel themselves one but cherish their differences above their similarities in times of crisis like the present. China is almost too vast and too disparate to be ruled from a single center even by a government which possesses both popular support and the full paraphernalia of modern technology for communicating its decisions and processing the information on which those decisions are based. It certainly cannot be ruled in an intrusive and totalitarian fashion from a single center by a government which possesses few of those devices. A federal pattern of rule is therefore likely to emerge in time from the confusion of regionalization.
In the long run, the temper of the Chinese people will determine the shape of the Chinese nation. The greatest achievement of Mao Tse-tung is, ironically, the very factor that has completed his downfall. That achievement is summed up in the injunction: "Let the masses manage the great affairs of the state!" Brought into the political turmoil by the Maoists, who believed the popular will would support them, the masses turned against Maoist extremism. Since the masses decided the outcome of the struggle, the remaking of the nation must depend largely upon their wishes. They must be wooed with measures of which they approve, since they can no longer either be hypnotized by demagoguery or compelled by coercion.
The real future of China, therefore, comes back to the observations which opened this essay-the question of the forging of a new moral consensus which is accepted by most Chinese. The Cultural Revolution has, at once, splintered Chinese society and created a new unity of opinion arising spontaneously from the people, rather than imposed-or exhorted-from above as were all previous attitudes. The Red Guards, the adolescent symbol of the Cultural Revolution, began by supporting the Maoists without reservation. But, as they became aware of their own intellectual and physical powers, they tended to carve out new positions which the essentially authoritarian Maoist leadership found extremely antipathetic. The Red Guards finally escaped from the Maoists' control. Despite the mindless enthusiasm and the vicious vandalism which characterized their early activities, the Red Guards have not withdrawn from Chinese society but have become totally involved. Despite what the Maoists call their "indiscipline," the Red Guards are not alienated, but engagé. Although most Chinese will emerge from the turmoil desiring only a quiet life, both industrial workers and young farmers have realized that they can affect the course of "great affairs"-and their own lives-by their own actions. They will not be content to be quiescent in the future, particularly if they object to the direction the nation is taking. The "masses" must be reckoned with as never previously.
The so-called intellectuals have always been a group apart in China, although, by the Chinese definition, they range from high school graduates to professors with three doctorates. One of Mao's greatest failures has been his inability either to arouse the enthusiasm of the intellectuals for his programs or, even, to bring them into unwilling coöperation. The intellectuals, too, have been united by their revulsion from Maoism. They have in many cases actually converted senior party officials by their example and their stubborn advocacy of reasoned policies. Although the intellectuals are not likely to form a new center of power, the new rulers must depend upon their managerial and technical skills if they are to create a nation out of the present debris of power. The intellectuals, too, are likely to be heard as they have not been heard for decades.
A host of outside factors could, of course, vitally influence the future course of China. The Nationalists, for example, might seek to reassert their authority, and might even succeed in a number of coastal provinces. The Russians may tinker with the northern tier of provinces, since Moscow abhors a political vacuum. American intervention of some sort is most unlikely, but not totally impossible. Given the state of critical equilibrium of the present mixture, insertion of such outside catalysts- even in minute quantities-could have profound effects.
Regardless, however, of the outside influences and the man?uvres of men seeking power, the new state of China will be shaped by the forces released by the Cultural Revolution and, above all, by the will of the Chinese people. It would be excessively optimistic to declare definitely that China is now coming to the adjustment with the outside world-and with her own complex character-which she has sought by so many different roads for the past century and a half. It would be excessively cynical not to recognize that she is moving in that direction.