The Day After Russia Attacks
What War in Ukraine Would Look Like—and How America Should Respond
Since the dramatic developments at the Twenty-second Soviet Party Congress last year, no one can seriously doubt the existence of a profound dispute between Russia and China. But opinions vary widely as to its causes, its likely future development, its consequences and its significance, if any, for Western policy. My purpose is to provide a framework for exploring the implications of the Sino-Soviet dispute for the West.
It should be emphasized immediately that Western policy toward the Communist world cannot be based solely, or even principally, on the Sino- Soviet conflict. Many other considerations must be weighed. Moreover, as a result of the dispute, dangers as well as opportunities are open to the West, and such opportunities as are offered are limited. In some respects the dispute has complicated and intensified our problems. We can no longer assume, for instance, that basic Communist policy in Southeast Asia originates entirely in Moscow. We shall be faced increasingly with the need to evaluate not only Soviet policy and intentions, but also those of Peking and even of such key third parties in the Communist movement as the North Vietnamese, who exercise considerable influence on Communist policy both in Laos and in South Viet Nam. Our dangers may increase if Peking's charges that Moscow is soft toward the West goad the Russians into adopting a harder attitude. Not only, then, do the problems we confront persist; our ability to exercise leverage on either Russia or China, and thereby to influence relations between them, remains extremely limited. Even assuming that the few instrumentalities in our possession are used as well as possible, the United States, as the leader of the "imperialist" camp, will remain the major enemy of both Russia and China and its ability to exploit the rift will be greatly limited.
In the final analysis, a secularization of Communism's messianic and universalist ideology can be brought about not by manipulating developments within the Communist world but only by strengthening the unity and vitality of the non-Communist world. The Communists can ultimately be persuaded to reconsider their aims only if over a sustained period they are confronted by superior military power as well as by dynamic, purposeful leadership, alive to the demands of many areas of the world for social and economic reforms.
To recognize the limitations on our ability to profit from the Moscow- Peking quarrel is not to underrate its importance for the entire non- Communist world. It has altered the nature of the Communist bloc, perhaps irrevocably, and has had a considerable impact on both Soviet and Chinese policies in many directions. While we may not be able to widen the breach much by our own actions, we should consider all our objectives and tactics toward the bloc in the light of the dispute. Up to a point, the West has always been, so to speak, the unrecognized third partner in the Sino-Soviet conflict. Western action or lack of action, strength or weakness, resolution or irresolution, have affected the course of the dispute considerably and will continue to do so, since the conflict in part concerns Communist strategy toward the West. Conversely, certain Western problems arise directly out of the Sino-Soviet dispute. What attitude should we take, for example, to the Albanians, now that they have broken with Moscow and accepted Peking's support? Should we reëvaluate our strategy toward Communist China? In short, Western policy is bound to affect and be affected by the rift and we must try to determine what new problems, new dangers and new opportunities it presents.
Before we can talk about policy, however, we must have clearly in mind what are the essential causes of the dispute and what the future shape of Sino- Soviet relations is likely to be. To my mind, the basic cause of controversy between Russia and China lies in the irreconcilable clash of their revolutionary interests. I speak of "revolutionary interests" rather than "national interests" because, although the latter are not irrelevant in this connection, the term as normally used fails to take adequate account of the urge to expedite the revolutionary process so central to the world views of both the principals. The widespread assumption that the conflict demonstrates that the U.S.S.R. is becoming a status-quo power is, in my opinion, quite erroneous. The Russians prescribe a different and more cautious strategy for world revolution than the Chinese, but it is not the strategy of a status-quo power. Reduced to its simplest terms it is based on the view that the demonstrative power of the Soviet state, when combined with diplomatic man?uvre and economic and political manipulation, will promote Communism with less risk than will direct revolutionary-action tactics employed by Communist Parties in various parts of the world. The Russians maximize the Communist camp's ability to exert by example a decisive influence on world events, while the Chinese maximize the classical importance of wars and revolutionary violence.
Throughout Communist history, alternative revolutionary conceptions have been intimately tied up with struggles for power. If Stalin and Trotsky had genuinely different revolutionary conceptions at the beginning, it soon became difficult to tell whether their divergent views were being advanced merely as part of a power struggle or whether they reflected deeply felt convictions. It would be an oversimplification to argue that either Russia or China is cynically advancing its own revolutionary strategy simply as the best way of extending its own power and ensuring its ultimate hegemony over the future world Communist empire; but quite clearly there is a large element of conscious power-seeking in the policies of both.
The Chinese Communists have long been ambitious to lead the nationalist, anti-imperialist, as well as Communist, revolutionary process in the underdeveloped and largely colored areas of the world. Indeed, there has been latent claim to this effect in Maoist writings for three decades. If Peking yields to the Soviet strategic conception, it will have to reconcile itself to a secondary role in the underdeveloped areas. For the Chinese simply do not have the resources to compete for influence and prestige with the Russians by means of military and economic aid programs, technicians, trade and so on. Their principal means for gaining hegemony in these areas are armed struggle and guerrilla warfare. They probably calculate that the insurgents, whether nationalists like the Algerian rebels, or Communists like the Pathet Lao, will come to Peking for advice, training and support. Thus while Russia plays a more cautious game, China will get a foot in the door and ultimately take the leading role.
The Chinese challenge to Soviet influence in the underdeveloped areas manifests itself in many ways. First, there is the towering image of an all- knowing Mao which the Chinese have been building up since 1958. Mao is said to be the "most outstanding" of all living Marxist-Leninist theoreticians; he alone has adapted Marxism-Leninism to the needs not only of China but of all the underdeveloped areas. Second, there is the implicit Chinese claim that their own revolutionary model, both for seizing power and for "building socialism," is more relevant to the colonial and semi-colonial areas than the Soviet model. Third, there is abundant evidence of the intense Chinese activity throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America, where Peking is operating independently of, and often in obvious competition with, Moscow. Rivalry in the large, pro-Communist trade unions and student organizations, as well as in the local Communist Parties, is acute. The Chinese challenge to Soviet policy in Asia extends beyond the Communist and pro-Communist organizations. Completely indifferent to Moscow's arduous efforts to win Nehru's friendship and to cut Indian ties to the West, Peking shows little interest in resolving a border dispute with India that could lead to war.
Why, it may be asked, have Moscow and Peking not been able to divide the world into spheres of influence in which each would reign supreme? For one thing, Communist ideology claims to be universal, and the existence of two competing ideological centers might sooner or later undermine the common beliefs that still bind all Communists together. Secondly, both parties recognize that such a division could never be stable. Nothing could prevent a European Communist state such as Albania from defecting to Peking or an Asian party such as the Indian from defecting to Moscow. Even if there were no overt defection, there would be no way of abolishing factionalism; one faction could look to Peking for policy guidance while another looked to Moscow. Moreover, the policies pursued by one partner in its own sphere might violate the interests of the other.
Since sharing of authority within the international Communist movement does not seem to be workable, the only alternative is for Moscow and Peking to arrange that one of them is clearly recognized as the senior, the other as the junior partner. It is inconceivable that Moscow could ever reconcile itself to a junior status. The evidence of the past four years suggests that Peking will not easily accept it either. It follows that China's restiveness will grow as it approaches great-power status.
In spite of its seriousness, the rift is not irreversible; nor is an open break inevitable or even likely in the near future. Events since the Twenty- second Soviet Party Congress suggest that, although the rivals are too far apart to resolve their differences easily, they both recognize the necessity for containing the rift. There has been little change in the positions taken by each side on the important questions of ideology, strategy and authority.
But there has been a notable effort to mute ideological polemics and to resume some limited coöperation on the conventional diplomatic level. Thus, the Chinese Ambassador has returned to Moscow after a prolonged absence; trade protocols have been concluded between China and most of the countries of the Soviet bloc; there has been an increase in the number of Chinese cultural, "friendship" and trade-union delegations in Moscow; and a new agreement has been signed for joint exploitation of Amur River water power.
For some time to come, relations between Moscow and Peking will probably move unsteadily in the middle ground between reconciliation and complete disruption. Because there is no room at the top for more than one Communist power, a complete settlement appears unlikely. But the two powers will continue to have major interests in common. Both want to advance the Communist cause in non-Communist areas. Both would like to see the American alliance systems in Europe and Asia eroded and erstwhile allies turned into neutrals. Both would like to preserve at least the nominal unity of the international Communist movement. Both have an interest in maintaining the 1950 Treaty of Alliance, which pledges each to provide the other with military and other assistance in the event it is attacked by Japan or a country allied to Japan. To the Chinese, the treaty is important for both offensive and defensive reasons. As long as it is operative, the United States will be uncertain how far it can go in opposing Chinese initiatives without risking war with Russia. This constraint should be worth a great deal to the Chinese. China must also value the defensive benefits of the treaty, for the large movement of troops to the coastal provinces last June testified to its growing concern over a possible invasion from Taiwan. The Russians, for their part, will have a continuing interest in deterring any kind of Western attack on China and particularly an attack of such magnitude as to threaten the Chinese Communist régime.[i]
On balance, we may expect Sino-Soviet relations to fluctuate between tolerable and bad in the coming years. Looking somewhat further into the future, the deaths of Mao and Khrushchev might open the way to reconciliation, but it seems unlikely that it could be permanent.
Within the international Communist movement, the Sino-Soviet rift has accelerated the already existing trend toward diversity and independence of the U.S.S.R. The Communist bloc never was as monolithic as is sometimes imagined in the West. But it was a tightly disciplined association of states ruled by a Soviet-dominated hierarchy. There seldom was much significant variance between the policies, foreign or domestic, of the bloc members. By and large, Communist Parties everywhere were responsive to Soviet demands and followed Soviet policies.
Today all this is changing. The Sino-Soviet rift has accelerated a process of change that has been under way since Stalin's death. Increasingly one can observe important differences in domestic views on socio-economic matters within the bloc. Poland, for example, has not yet collectivized its agriculture and retains a larger margin of domestic freedom than, say, East Germany. The process of de-Stalinization has gone much further in Poland and Hungary than elsewhere. One can observe significant differences between Communist states even in their attitudes toward the West and on major East- West issues. The North Korean Party, for example, like the Chinese, has shown much more hostility toward the Kennedy Administration than Moscow or most of the East European states have done. At the other extreme, the Poles have expressed a greater fear of war and a livelier interest in disarmament than most other Communist states.
As long as Moscow and Peking offer different roads to socialism, such diversity is likely to increase. Moreover, along with political and economic differentiation goes a growing measure of independence of Moscow. Neither of the two Asian satellites, North Korea and North Viet Nam, followed Moscow in attacking Albania at the Twenty-second Congress. Perhaps even more significant, Poland, Rumania and Bulgaria, although European neighbors of the Soviet Union, did not follow Moscow in breaking diplomatic relations with Albania.[ii] This decision was almost certainly made against the wishes of the Russians who were clearly anxious to demonstrate to the Albanians that they must surrender or face diplomatic isolation. Had Moscow and Peking remained united, it would have been difficult for the smaller bloc members to gain even such a limited amount of independence of Moscow. But with the two large Communist powers at odds over basic questions of foreign and domestic policy, the smaller Parties, particularly those in Asia, can increasingly play Moscow off against Peking and thus gain greater independence of both.
The Sino-Soviet conflict weakens Soviet control in another way. It prevents large conferences of all the Parties from agreeing on a common line, so that Moscow must increasingly rely on bilateral rather than multilateral discussions in order to change policy. Thus, after deciding earlier this year to seek anew a rapprochement with Tito, Khrushchev journeyed to Bulgaria and Rumania, the two satellites which together with Albania have been most hostile to any such development. While he evidently succeeded in his purpose, he probably had to undertake genuine bargaining with the satellite leaders. Diplomacy has thus replaced diktat within the Communist bloc.
An important task for Western policy-makers in the coming decade will be to encourage the incipient pluralism in international Communism. Our instrumentalities for exercising leverage are, of course, limited. Nevertheless the non-Communist countries do have a variety of economic, political and cultural relations with the Communist states, and they could harness these to a common purpose. Lately, for instance, it has become clear that the bloc as a whole is extremely interested in increasing trade with the West, Unquestionably it needs such trade more than the West does, a fact which in itself is significant. In the past, Western economic relations with the bloc have been limited by a number of export controls, and these have been interpreted much more strictly in the United States than elsewhere. Our approach has been guided by the negative principle of deciding what not to export rather than by any positive attempt to define our purposes in entering such a trading relationship.
This negative approach is, I believe, deficient in two respects. First, it is impracticable. In most cases the United States has not been able to stop its allies from selling a variety of goods to the bloc. In addition, Western trade with Communist China is almost certain to increase in the future as a result of the radical decline in Chinese trade with the U.S.S.R. and the East Europeans. In 1961 Sino-Soviet trade was down to about half the volume for the year preceding. This decline may be only temporary; on the other hand, a substantial reorientation of Chinese trade may be taking place. Two of the four Chinese commercial attachés have been formally withdrawn from the Soviet Union and have not been replaced. Hints have been thrown out that Peking desires increased trade with the West and possibly exchanges of technical personnel. China seems prepared to abandon its earlier insistence on political prerequisites for trade with Japan, and the Japanese have indicated that they will increase trade with China to the same level as that of West Germany and Italy. The Chinese are already negotiating with the British for aircraft, and they also have indicated an interest in turbines, generators and other equipment which, presumably, they no longer obtain from the Russians.
Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are reportedly forming ambitious plans to develop a wool market in China, and Canada seems to believe that China can provide a steady and expanding market for food products. The Commonwealth countries, in particular, will be under heavy pressure to increase trade with the bloc if their traditional markets are constricted as a result of Britain's joining the Common Market. A new trading relationship between these countries and Communist China would probably lead to the granting of diplomatic recognition by those which have not already done so. There is already substantial trade between the bloc and some of our European allies. The West, for example, accounts for 40 percent of Poland's trade and 30 percent of Hungary's. West Germany's trade contributes vitally to the East German economy. Given the hard economic facts of life, there seems little that the United States can do, even if it so desires, either to bring about a decline in East-West trade or to prevent an increase.
The present policy of export restriction is not simply ineffective; it fails to exploit the need of Communist countries for trade with the West. No American administration has yet developed a consistent policy designed to do this. A policy for this purpose might start, it seems to me, by reëxamining with our Western allies those common political principles that should determine trade with the bloc. Selectivity might be one such principle. Trade, as well as political and cultural relations, should be intensified with those Communist states which are moving toward moderation in their external policies, some degree of independence from the Soviet Union, and genuine de-Stalinization and reform in their internal policies. Where a Communist state meets some but not all of these requirements, the West should insist on at least some signs of movement in a favorable direction. Clearly, we should avoid the impression of rewarding the more militant of the bloc countries. At the same time, we should explore the possibilities of securing some degree of moderation in return for a minimum economic commitment that could be subsequently withheld or increased.
It would also be desirable to have a single negotiating agency through which European countries would establish terms for trading with Communist countries.[iii] This may be facilitated by the Common Market. Such a centralized bargaining agent would make it more difficult for the Russians to play one Western country off against another-a key element in Soviet strategy. It would also help to bring American and West European trade policies closer together, since the United States would find it easier to harmonize its policy with that of a unified European agency than with a variety of separate national policies. Finally, a central bargaining agent would make it easier to apply commercial sanctions.
In the United States, the decision as to which of the bloc countries meet specified criteria for trade and aid must be left to the Executive department and cannot be considered a suitable matter for Congressional legislation from year to year. The Senate's vote last June to bar aid to all Communist states demonstrated how domestic political considerations and lack of understanding can combine to inhibit a policy designed to take advantage of, and promote, pluralism in the bloc. Such actions harm our efforts to encourage liberal elements in the Communist states and give a powerful argument to those that want to reduce ties with the West and link their economies more closely to the Soviet Union.
We are already practicing a policy of selectivity in relation to Poland and Jugoslavia. This should continue, and most-favored-nation tariff treatment should be given to their products. Polish and Jugoslav enterprises should be allowed to obtain regular commercial credit in the United States, as well as limited development loans and credits. The Battle Act might well be amended in order to give the Administration more flexibility in regulating trade with Communist countries. We ought also to consider ways of lessening the adverse effects of the Common Market on the Jugoslav economy.
If the Administration decided to adopt this approach, it would have to explain to Congress, the American public and our Western allies why it is so desirable to have a differentiated approach to trade with the Communist nations. The guiding principle should be to provide Gomulka and Tito, and any who wish to emulate them, with sufficient leverage to maintain or increase their independence of the Russians. At the same time, we should quietly impress upon them that the West is not giving them a blank check and that we expect them to continue to follow independent and moderate policies.
The way in which Communist orthodoxy and organization are eroded by Polish and Jugoslav ideological and economic innovation is easy to illustrate. Polish journals and newspapers are eagerly read wherever they can be found in Communist countries, because they often contain news and articles not otherwise available. The Jugoslav press is considered so "subversive" that it is not generally admitted. The Polish theatre has been described as the most experimental in Europe; its plays are often thinly veiled attacks on the more totalitarian aspects of Communist rule or on the basic assumptions of Communism. The first abstract art exhibition seen in Moscow was Polish, and it created considerable stir amongst Soviet intellectuals. In the realm of foreign policy, Tito and Gomulka were both ahead of the Soviet Union in emphasizing the dangers of nuclear war and they have vigorously attacked the high-risk strategy advocated by Peking. The continuing assaults on "revisionism," particularly heavy in the Stalinist satellites, testify to the fear of the Old Believers that their rule may gradually be undermined by Western ideas and influence transmitted via the dissident Communist countries.
It must be recognized, at the same time, that there are limitations on the ability and even the desire of Communist states to depart substantially from Soviet-approved positions. Even those that are dissident share a number of common interests and goals with the Soviet Union. Their independence, therefore, can be assessed only in relative terms-a complex task that can be performed better by Administration experts than by members of Congress. Moreover, the essential issue, as Ambassador George Kennan has pointed out, is not whether we should continue to aid Jugoslavia or Poland, but whether the Administration is to be allowed the latitude and flexibility necessary to manage our commercial relations with Communist countries in general.
When a bloc country, even one as ill-disposed to the West as Albania, actually breaks with Moscow, the West should be receptive to requests for economic and political support of a limited kind. It should be made clear that such support will continue and increase provided the country in question maintains a moderate attitude toward the West. This could make the difference between a temporary defiance of Moscow and a long-range decision to try to go it alone. Jugoslavia, for example, cut its ties with the bloc only after it knew it could obtain Ruhr coal. Once a Communist country breaks away, there is a chance that no matter how militant it was prior to the break its policies may change, as Jugoslavia's did after its break with Moscow in 1948. Albania, since its schism with Moscow, has moved rapidly to improve relations with its non-Communist neighbors, Italy and Greece, and has indicated a desire to improve relations with the West generally. If Communist states that have broken with Moscow are denied Western economic and political support, it will only serve to deter others from seeking a greater measure of independence.
It may be objected that the West should not support a country such as Albania which breaks with Moscow only to embrace Peking more warmly. Such an objection is overruled, in my opinion, by several considerations. First, the alternative course-continuing to isolate Albania-would facilitate the Kremlin's efforts to pull that country back into line, particularly in as much as China can give it only very limited material aid. If Moscow were to succeed in its efforts to re-subjugate the Albanian Party, a pressing and immediate issue between Moscow and Peking would be removed. It is therefore very much in the Western interest to help maintain a dissident Albania, particularly one that embraces Peking; for the existence of a pro-Peking satellite within the European bloc exacerbates Sino-Soviet relations and makes it extremely difficult for Russia and China to compromise their differences. Secondly, as the Albanians do not represent a serious political or military threat to any of their non-Communist neighbors, strengthening them would not involve any risk to the West. Thus, a policy of supporting a dissident Albania would involve few risks, would offer large potential gains, and would enable us to determine whether closer ties of this kind would in future prove profitable.
The most controversial problem in our strategy toward the Communist world today concerns our approach to Communist China. Two diametrically opposed strategies have been suggested in the wake of the Sino-Soviet conflict. One school of thought contends that we should continue trying to isolate China from the world community and should maintain our trade embargo. Several arguments are advanced for this strategy in addition to those that are familiar. Thus it is contended that any indication that the West was wooing China might have the effect of making Russia more aggressive. It is also argued that American isolation of China has been a powerful factor in causing Sino-Soviet tensions, and that any reversal of this policy might reduce them; further, that American overtures would have the effect of strengthening China's position in the Communist world. Again, it is argued that the establishment of economic and political relations with Communist China would enable it to overcome present severe economic and political difficulties and to reëstablish its former high rate of industrialization; hence, we would be strengthening a power that might well turn out to be our principal enemy in the coming decade. Finally, it is said that since the Soviet Union has not been able to moderate China's attitudes, despite all the sanctions which it has available, the West cannot possibly do so; and in any case, if China should indeed become more moderate, it would move closer to Moscow. So we would lose either way.
The opposing view is that since it is unrealistic to expect the Communist régime in China to be overthrown, we should adopt a strategy designed to bring about a change in Chinese Communist thinking and objectives. The rift with Russia, it is contended, and the severe economic crisis at home, provide us with the opportunity to establish, first, a trading relationship, and then a political relationship that can be used to try to moderate the attitude of China and to achieve some limited agreements with it. Since American isolation of China has greatly contributed to its militance, the argument continues, a change in this policy will make it possible for the more pragmatic elements in the ruling Chinese élite to gain the ascendancy.
Although some of the reasoning behind each of these positions is undoubtedly valid, there is, it seems to me, much to be questioned. It is dubious, for example, that modest overtures to Peking would have an appreciable effect on the Soviet Union, much less make it more aggressive. Peking has already shown considerable interest in reorienting its trade pattern toward the West, this interest has been reciprocated, and no noticeable change in Soviet behavior has followed. On the other hand, it is even more dubious that, in the short run at least, such overtures would succeed in appreciably moderating the policies of Peking. If China were to become more moderate, however, it does not necessarily follow that its dispute with the U.S.S.R. will end. As I tried to indicate earlier, the Sino-Soviet conflict has to be understood in large part as a power struggle that will continue even if there is agreement on some aspects of strategy toward the West.
Any strategy toward China must be risky since it is based on a number of imponderables. Yet it is possible to conceive of a policy, between the two positions just described, that would be alive to the possibilities of tactical change in Chinese Communist behavior. If Peking does substantially increase its trade with non-Communist countries, it will have to balance its desire to support "liberation wars" against the possible loss of important Western supplies, provided, that is, that the West has achieved some coördination of policy.
If the leaders in Peking decide that the militant forward strategy they have been advocating since 1958 has not paid off, or is too risky to pursue without Soviet support, they may well revive the "Bandung spirit" in the hope of making gains by more peaceful tactics. Several considerations will inhibit a sharp swing to the right in China's foreign policy in the near future-not the least of them being the Chinese commitment to the more radical elements in the international Communist movement. Yet the possibilities for some degree of change are present. Moreover, Peking's verbal and ideological attacks on the West have always been less restrained than its military policy. The widespread picture of a reckless leadership ready to risk a nuclear Armageddon has never been supported by Chinese behavior in the face of superior power. However much Mao may "strategically despise" the American enemy, he has consistently shown his "tactical respect."
In the light of these facts, the United States might consider the sale of food to China on a small scale in order to determine the impact, if any, of our economic assistance on Chinese foreign policy. As a minimum quid pro quo the United States could demand the release of American political prisoners. We might also consider such a modest step as approving an international air route from Paris to Peking, as a sign of the West's readiness to expand relations with China under the proper conditions.
Another possibility would be to send to China an informal delegation of highly respected Americans to learn from the Peking leaders the limits within which bargaining with the West may seem to them worthwhile. At present, it must be admitted, the area of worthwhile negotiation probably seems as small to them as it does to us. But much depends on the pressures which they are currently feeling. Their receptivity to Western approaches will be affected by such factors as the depth of the Chinese economic crisis, the East-West balance of power, the extent of China's dependence on Western suppliers and changes in its relations with the Soviet Union. A wider range of relations with Communist China could be to our advantage if it is made to recognize the contingent nature of Western assistance and if its leaders are aware that they must meet certain criteria for these relations to be maintained-this all on the assumption that the West is pursuing at the same time a united policy.
China's appetite for power cannot, of course, be appeased by a few gestures. Although it is advisable to keep the door to Peking slightly ajar, the most insistent problems that the United States will face with China in the coming years are not how to negotiate with it, but how to contain it and how to prevent it from dividing us from our non-Communist allies. One of Peking's major goals has been to eliminate American power from Asia and to break up the Western alliance throughout the underdeveloped world.
Moreover, messianic, radical, chauvinist and xenophobic elements have been increasingly apparent in Chinese Communism over the past few years and, as Russia has discovered, they will not easily be eliminated or muted. The Chinese extremists insist that the Communist bloc must foment and support "liberation wars" in various parts of the underdeveloped world. Negotiations with China, or any reduction in tension between it and the West may well be impossible unless the West demonstrates that it has both the will and the capacity to resist indirect aggression, and that the risks that a small operation may grow into general war are considerable. We should remember that Russia is also interested in restraining China's more ambitious ventures, and in this respect we share an important objective with the Soviet Union.
Moscow has made quite clear in the course of the Sino-Soviet dispute that it has no intention of being drawn into hostilities with the United States in areas where it now has only a marginal interest. A vigorous American response to Chinese-sponsored "liberation wars" in Southeast Asia therefore need not appreciably raise the danger of nuclear war. In the event of a new crisis we should intervene quickly so as to prevent the local Communists from gaining a foothold and calling for Soviet support. Moscow will have much stronger motives for supporting "liberation movements" once they have achieved partial success. Since the Peking régime believes, or has believed in the past, that the West can be forced to accept local defeats out of fear of nuclear war with Russia, the United States must be prepared to assume a high degree of risk and to make credible its willingness to do so.
The Off-Shore Islands will continue to present a difficult problem for American policy toward both Communist and Nationalist China. As long as the Nationalists unwisely insist on maintaining large forces on these islands, the Communists can raise tensions in the Taiwan Strait at will. So, of course, can the Nationalists, who could put us in the awkward position of having to support an attack on the Mainland of which we did not approve, or leave them to almost certain defeat. If Communist China believed that the United States would support a Nationalist assault on the Mainland, it would be forced into closer relations with the Soviet Union. The United States, therefore, should continue to emphasize-as President Kennedy did last June- that its commitment to the Nationalists is exclusively defensive. At the same time, until we can persuade the Nationalists to withdraw from the Off- Shore Islands, we must also continue to deter the Communists from attacking these islands by associating their defense with the defense of Taiwan itself. To back down in the face of military pressure by the Chinese Communists would only encourage them to take greater risks.
Another difficult decision for the United States concerns the attitude it should take toward the admission of Communist China to the United Nations. Without going into this tortured problem in detail, one can say that China, if admitted, would not necessarily vote with the Soviet Union on every important issue. On Kashmir, for example, China would probably continue to support Pakistan, while Russia continued to back India. There would probably be important differences in the Soviet and Chinese attitudes on aid to underdeveloped areas and on disarmament. Also, there would very likely be major differences in their attitudes toward interventions by the United Nations in colonial or former colonial areas. In 1960, public statements by the Chinese made it quite apparent that they did not agree with the Soviet vote supporting the initial U.N. intervention in the Congo. China's admission to the United Nations, then, would have mixed effects. It would give greater public exposure to differences in the bloc and thereby exacerbate them. At the same time, it might weaken the capacity of the United Nations to act as a cushion between the two opposing power blocs. In view of this, the Sino-Soviet conflict cannot, in my judgment, be the determining consideration with regard to Communist China's admission to the United Nations,
It has already been suggested that Sino-Soviet competition will continue to be most intense in the underdeveloped areas, particularly in Asia, as a result of Communist China's ambition for leadership there. This competition holds both advantages and disadvantages for the West. As long as China and Russia pursue independent and competing policies, some of their strength will be dissipated, and we shall gain. Still more Asian Communist Parties will be torn into factions and perhaps, as in India, paralyzed at the national level by divergent allegiances. Furthermore, to the extent that local Communist Parties out of power take Chinese advice and exert increasing pressure on their nationalist governments, they will worsen their relations with the "national bourgeoisie" whom Moscow has been assiduously cultivating over the last seven years. Sino-Soviet competition in Asia and Africa will enable even the smaller independent countries there to exercise some leverage on both Russia and China. Finally, the abrupt deterioration of relations between China and India since 1959, and Moscow's decision to remain neutral in their border conflict, have greatly worsened Sino-Soviet relations in South Asia. The Russians have evidently decided that they will not jeopardize their friendship with India no matter what the costs in their relations with Peking. The Chinese, for their part, have moved closer to India's arch-enemy, Pakistan, and supported that country's claim to Kashmir-a rather clear indication that their ambitions and determination to pursue an independent policy outweigh their desire to heal the breach with Russia. Thus the Communist powers speak with sharply divided voices in South Asia and their political attraction probably diminishes as a result.
On the other hand, Sino-Soviet competition will be dangerous to the West wherever local Communist Parties, with or without Chinese instigation, pursue strategies of armed struggle. Local Communists will be in a good position to bargain for the support of both Russia and China, since each major power will want to prevent the other from gaining predominance. It is quite likely, for example, that a major influence on Soviet behavior in Southeast Asia over the past three years has been the desire to ensure that Ho Chi Minh does not fall into the Chinese camp. When in 1959 Ho decided to sponsor an armed struggle both in Laos and South Viet Nam, the Russians either had to support him or risk his defection to Peking. Contrary to widespread opinion, Ho and other Asian party leaders such as Aidit in Indonesia are walking a tightrope of non-commitment in the Sino-Soviet quarrel. Ho has in fact tried several times to mediate the dispute. Nevertheless, while most of the Asian Parties desperately hope there will be no open break, because this might deprive them of their leverage by forcing them to choose sides, they are all quite alive to the possibilities of taking advantage of the present situation to pursue their own interests. And Ho's interest lies in reunifying North with South Viet Nam, the principal source of rice for the food-short North.
Ho's increased leverage on Moscow as a result of the Sino-Soviet rift has forced the Russians to play a less cautious game in Southeast Asia than they might otherwise have done. The fact that Russia flew military supplies into Laos for the support of the Pathet Lao can probably best be explained by its fear that if it did not intervene to help Ho, Peking would. The Russians would thereby let Ho fall into Peking's arms and lose all control over his actions. Moscow did not want to be placed in a situation where the Chinese could control the risks of war with the West. No matter what Russia's reasons were for aiding the Pathet Lao, however, intervention was of a kind that may well have been decisive in turning the tide of battle in favor of the Communists. Thus, while it is almost certain that Moscow is not particularly interested in taking risks simply to bring about Chinese gains in Southeast Asia, and that it fears a major war in peripheral areas, it is quite likely to take limited risks to support gains by local Communist Parties in Asia.
In these complicated circumstances, the West has a strong interest in persuading Moscow that it is too risky to support Ho in military action, even if there is a danger of losing him to Peking. At the same time, Western attitudes must be such as to persuade both Ho and the Chinese that the allied response to "liberation wars" cannot be limited either geographically or in point of violence, since any limitation would favor the Communists. In short, although we must continue to show a willingness and ability to combat guerrilla warfare with counter-insurgency techniques, we must also make plain that we will not refuse to raise the level of violence and to extend the area of fighting, to North Viet Nam for example, if the Communists do not desist from armed struggle. Our actions must provide Moscow with the arguments to persuade both Hanoi and Peking that the strategy of armed violence is too risky. In our public pronouncements, for example, we should echo Moscow's view, expressed in its debate with Peking, that local wars between states will almost certainly escalate. Moreover, we should convince Moscow that its support of "liberation wars" in Asia will be costly to its own policies in Europe and on major East-West issues. Decisions on whether or not to talk about Berlin and disarmament, for example, should be directly and consistently related to Communist tactics in Southeast Asia. It goes without saying that we cannot oppose "liberation movements" only by military action and that in some countries it will be necessary to bring about a change in the political leadership if counter-insurgency activity is to be successful.
On the whole, the Sino-Soviet rift should make it possible, particularly in Southeast Asia, for the United States to take firmer positions without increasing the risks. In the past five years, a basic assumption in Peking- and of many persons in the West-has been that a missile gap would appear in the early 1960s and that the Soviet Union would gradually acquire a decisive strategic superiority. It has been the very essence of Mao's strategy of "brinkmanship" that the bloc could afford to pursue more revolutionary policies in the underdeveloped areas and to rely more strongly on armed struggle, subversion and civil war because the West, realizing that it was, or would soon be, strategically inferior, would not dare to risk escalation and would therefore have to accept local defeats. In retrospect, it would appear that both the Chinese and many people in the West were fooled about Soviet strategic missile strength. Indeed, it would not be surprising if the United States turned out to have a much more accurate appreciation today of Soviet strategic capabilities than China, so poor has been the coöperation and exchange of information between the two Communist powers in recent years.
If this view is correct, it must have come as a great shock to the Chinese leaders to learn that the United States now considers the Soviet Union strategically inferior to itself and likely to remain so indefinitely. If they believe that the United States is right, their already critical view of Khrushchev's leadership will no doubt be confirmed. But it should also make them less anxious to pursue brinkmanship tactics themselves or to recommend armed struggle to other Communist Parties in Asia. For they will now have to assume that the West is well aware of its strategic superiority and can threaten effectively to raise the ante in any limited war. The main prop has been pulled from under the strategic concept that Mao has unsuccessfully pressed on the Russians over the past five years. There is some indication already that the Chinese recognize a new situation in world power relationships; recently Peking has soft-pedaled its thesis that, in grand strategy, the "East wind prevails."
If the Chinese, careful to appraise the balance of forces between themselves and their enemies, are really becoming more cautious, it should be possible for the United States to take a firmer line in Southeast Asia. It should be able, for example, to take whatever steps are necessary to close the Laotian corridor through which supplies and men reach the South Vietnamese rebels. It should also step up assistance to Thailand, which may soon be presented with a guerrilla problem in the northeast near its Laotian frontier. Laos, it must be squarely faced, is probably lost to the Communists. But Ho's major objective has been rice-rich South Viet Nam, not Laos, which is of value only as a springboard from which to attack Thailand and South Viet Nam.
Although foreign economic aid is clearly not a panacea for the numerous and complex problems of the underdeveloped countries, there is a particular reason, within the context of the Sino-Soviet dispute, why such aid is beneficial to Western interests. There is no question that the scale of Soviet aid to certain non-Communist countries, particularly India and Egypt, has been greatly resented by the Chinese, who believe it means less Soviet assistance for themselves. Moreover, they feel at a disadvantage in that they do not have the resources to compete for influence in this manner either with the United States or with the Soviet Union. Yet the Chinese must offer such economic aid as they can, for one of their main goals is to establish their authority throughout Asia and Africa. Hence, Peking continues to offer limited aid to such countries as Guinea, Afghanistan, Nepal and Cambodia, despite the very serious economic crisis at home. The West, by increasing certain of its own aid programs, may be able to force the Russians and the Chinese to compete increasingly both with it and with one another-this, too, in a field where the West has the advantage. Aggravation of Sino-Soviet relations should not, of course, be the governing criterion for aid to underdeveloped areas, but it is a factor not to be ignored.
To conclude, it might be well to recall the Sphinx's reply, in one of Robert Frost's poems, to a question asking for the wisdom of the ages. "Don't expect too much," was the oracle's answer. The falling out of our two major antagonists does not remove any of the intractable problems with which we are faced and in some respects it only complicates them. No vast new opportunities have been given Western diplomacy, no magic doors opened to the end of the cold war. The Sino-Soviet dispute may prove of undoubted advantage to the West only in the long run, when the corrosive acids of nationalism may ultimately split the bloc asunder. Yet Communism already speaks with several voices, and one of the principal tasks of Western diplomacy will be to create an environment in which the voices of moderation can be given freer rein, while the voices of militancy are restrained.
[i] On July 2, Khrushchev warned that anyone daring to attack Communist China "will meet with a crushing rebuff from the . . . entire socialist camp"-a clear indication of Moscow's continuing interest in deterring an attack on China. Peking's newspapers gave the statement prominent attention.
[ii] The motivation was probably different for Poland than for Rumania and Bulgaria. The Poles, while disagreeing with Albania, nevertheless support the right of local Communist Parties to domestic autonomy. The Rumanians and Bulgarians share some of the Albanian world view, particularly the hostility toward Jugoslavia.
[iii] This idea was developed by Horst Mendershausen. See "The European Community and the Soviet Bloc," The RAND Corporation, May 1962.