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Untrusting and untrusted: Mao's China at a crossroads, 1969

Radchenko, Sergey ORCID: 2017. Untrusting and untrusted: Mao's China at a crossroads, 1969. Klimke, Martin, Kreis, Reinhild and Ostermann, Christian F., eds. Trust, but Verify: the Politics of Uncertainty and the Transformation of the Cold War Order, 1969-1991, Cold War International History Project Series, Washington, D.C.; Stanford, California: Woodrow Wilson Center Press; Stanford University Press, pp. 17-41. (10.11126/stanford/9780804798099.003.0002)

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This chapter analyzes the border clashes between the People's Republic of China and the Soviet Union in March 1969. It details the development of Chinese leader Mao Zedong's perception of the Soviet Union as a challenge to China's autonomy and the (cultural) revolution, underscoring Mao's failure to understand how the Soviet Union interpreted his actions as a credible threat. Employing his own frame of reference, Mao failed to grasp that the Soviet Union did not see the border conflict as a catalyst for internal mobilization and political control at home and in its satellite states, but as yet another manifestation of the seeming irrationality of Chinese foreign policy. Mao's surprise and feeling of hostile encirclement, as well as the deepening of Soviet distrust, paved the way in turn for China's famous rapprochement with the United States under President Richard Nixon.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Publisher: Woodrow Wilson Center Press; Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804798099
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2022 07:15

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