Chinese Foreign Policy Factionalism and the Origins of the Strategic Triangle

by Thomas M. Gottlieb

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Provides a new interpretation of the very important yet poorly understood origins of the Sino-Soviet-American triangular relationship by tracing through the evolution of China's policy for coping with the Soviet Union as an adversary. The analysis suggests that the Chinese discussed and debated improving relations with the United States well before the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968. Some principles that underlie the Chinese approach to policymaking are illuminated in an effort to comprehend how the Chinese handled critical foreign policy decisions. The study presents evidence on why the Chinese leaders split apart on the issue of ameliorating tensions between China and the United States and analyzes the impact such factionalism had on their ability to respond forcefully and consistently to Soviet political/military pressure.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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