The Soviet Union and China

by Harry Gelman

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The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan at the close of 1979 set in motion a readjustment of the world's political alignments which is likely to have far-reaching ultimate consequences in many spheres, and not the least in the Soviet geopolitical competition with Beijing. The effects of this event upon the Sino-Soviet conflict may be particularly important because they came at the culmination of a transitional year in this relationship, a time of testing. The paper seeks to explore Sino-Soviet interaction in this transitional period, to examine the motives and behavior of the two antagonists as they have reacted to evolving circumstances prior to the Afghan watershed, and on this basis to assess the possible effects of Afghanistan upon the future of the Sino-Soviet relationship.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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