Sino-Soviet Relations: The American Factor
In 1949, the triumph of the Chinese Communists vindicated the Soviet Union's apocalyptic faith and served as critical reinforcement for the Soviet regime's self-justification. When it strayed from Soviet orthodoxy, that orthodoxy was diminished. What it chose to do at home with its revolution stirred Soviet concern for its own revolution, not, of course, by endangering the Soviet system's immediate stability, but by tearing at the unity of values so zealously guarded by Soviet leaders. What the Chinese said and did about revolution elsewhere involved the integrity and coherence of the entire socialist world, particularly those East European parts directly under the Soviet thumb. When China refused to honor the Soviet way of seeing reality, when it challenged Soviet priorities, China, as no capitalist state ever could, raised doubts about the rightness and virtue of Soviet foreign policy itself.