ONE of the most significant results of the war is the enhanced importance of the chain of frontiers running across Asia from Korea to Turkey. Everything on the northerly side of this frontier falls under the sovereignty of the U.S.S.R. In one sense, this is a single sovereignty, centered in Moscow. In another sense, it is a joint sovereignty in which a number of republics and important non-Russian peoples hold an interest. Because of this double aspect of Soviet sovereignty, the inner Asian frontier is important not only because it is the longest in the world, but because the Soviet Republics grouped along it are preponderantly Asiatic.
The lands on the southerly side of this frontier fall under a number of sovereignties. The roll call from east to west is: Korea; China (the northeastern or Manchurian provinces); Outer Mongolia; China (the vast Central Asian province of Sinkiang, with a Chinese population minority of 5 to 10 percent, and an overwhelming majority which includes a number of non-Chinese peoples); Afghanistan; Iran; Turkey.
The names of these countries are enough to call attention to the fact that this inner Asian frontier resembles the frontiers of eastern Europe and the Balkans in having two contradictory functions. On the one hand it divides different sovereignties and political, social and economic systems from each other. On the other hand, it sometimes divides similar peoples, cultures, languages and religions from each other. There are small but significant Korean minorities in both the U.S.S.R. and China's northeastern provinces. There are Chinese communities in the Soviet Far East. There are Mongols in the U.S.S.R. and also in the Inner Mongolian territories which have been administratively absorbed into the northeastern, northern and northwestern Chinese provinces, as well as in independent Outer Mongolia. All of the non-Chinese peoples of Sinkiang have closer affinities with peoples and cultures across the Outer Mongolian and Soviet frontiers than with the Chinese people and their culture. Similar but
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