Sino-Soviet Conflict in the 1970s

Its Evolution and Implications for the Strategic Triangle

by Kenneth G. Lieberthal

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Analyzes the evolution of Sino-Soviet relations since the Cultural Revolution and explains China's policies in terms of political struggles which racked Peking during the 1970s. Key questions are explored: What bilateral strategies have the Soviet Union and China adopted to deal with each other since 1969? How has the Moscow-Peking feud affected dealings with other states? How have Sino-Soviet relations intertwined with domestic politics in China? What changes in relations are likely in coming years? What are the implications of these factors for U.S. policy toward Sino-Soviet affairs? The analysis concludes that American interests are best served by a Sino-Soviet relationship poised between rapprochement and war. The author argues that the dynamics of the relationship will very likely produce such an outcome. As well, the United States should pursue bilateral relationships with Moscow and Peking so as to maximize American interests without trying to affect their interactions with each other.

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