China: the Struggle Within: Is There a U.S.-USSR Alliance Against China?

Is There a U.S.-USSR Alliance Against China?

February 17. 1967


Premier Kosygin's visit to Britain is likely to go down in history not so much for what it signified about the Vietnam war or the relations between Britain and the Soviet Union, but rather for what it revealed about the Soviet leadership's orientation toward the Chinese People's Republic. One can search far and wide for a parallel to the unprecedented attack levelled by Kosygin against the revolutionary leadership of a socialist country while on a diplomatic mission to an imperialist power.

"We are aware there are today in China," said Kosygin, "in the Communist Party of China, and in the Chinese Government people who are struggling against the dictatorial regime of Mao Tse-tung.." And then he added: "We sympathize with them...."


This was no polemical sally made during the course of a speech at a Soviet Party conference. Nor was it an off-the-cuff remark made at an unguarded moment. On the contrary, it was a premeditated and carefully deliberated statement of political position. The imperialist press could scarcely contain its delight. The New York Times in an editorial on February 11th gleefully pointed out the critical import of Kosygin's assault on China.

"Mr. Kosygin spoke in his capacity as Premier of the Soviet lotion while in the capital of a 'capitalist' nation." And then the Times went on to explain: 'His point could scarcely have been registered in more arresting fashion if he had said the same thing in front of the White House with President Johnson at has side." indeed! To the bourgeoisie the world over, what Kosygin said was music to their ears.


His remarks constituted nothing less that an open and brazen call for a counter-revolutionary rebellion against the revolutionary government of China. They were also a clear and unambiguous appeal for collaboration with the imperialists against China. Here was the spectacle of a Premier of the Soviet Union on a visit to an imperialist capital, where he is supposed to achieve a united front against aggression in Vietnam, but instead he makes an appeal for a united front against China.

This must have come as sobering medicine for those who have for a considerable period attacked the Chinese CP for its alleged failure to take up the Soviet leadership on its offer for a united front against U.S. imperialist aggression in Vietnam.


A unified and coordinated effort, especially on Vietnam, is most desirable. There could scarcely be any doubt about it even among the most hidebound sectarians. A united front ought by all means to encompass as many diverse elements with as many divergent points of view as possible as long as it is bound together by a common objective. But it is precisely the Soviet objective which is now being called into question. There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that the objective of the Chinese leadership is to get the U.S. out of Vietnam and thereby off the southern tier of its own territory. The objective of the Soviet leadership, however, in view of Kosygin's open appeal to the U.S. to join it in the struggle to overthrow the revolutionary leadership of China, is obviously different. This appeal makes mockery of its proclaimed desire to stop U.S. aggression in Vietnam!

Kosygin's attack, both in spirit and content, was that of a bourgeois statesman, and not of a leader of a socialist country.


The "sympathy" which he expressed for "those struggling" against the revolutionary leaders of China is not based on abstract sentiment. It is based on the existence of long established ties between the revisionist neo-bourgeois social stratum in the USSR and its counterpart in the privileged officialdom of People's China.

In the eyes of China's leaders this is not only rank and outrageous interference in their internal affairs but by now an outright attempt at political subversion.

Kosygin's appeal to the imperialist powers against China is in line with an earlier one made by Andrei Gromyko, the Foreign Minister of the USSR. This happened when he was in this country to confer with President Johnson and Secretary Rusk during the latter part of last November. At that time, it was reported in the press that the Soviet Foreign Minister had "repeatedly stressed his nation's concern over a China armed with a growing arsenal of nuclear weapons." (N.Y. Times, Nov. 22, 1966)


What invests Kosygin's London attack on China's leaders with such ominous significance is that it was followed a mere two days later with a similar attack launched by the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, U. Alexis Johnson The latter's attack came during the course of an address delivered in Tokyo at the Asian Affairs Research Council and was reported in the World Journal Tribune, Feb. 11.

"I would hope and expect," he said. "that those forces in China, which want to move from a reliance on outworn shibboleths and doctrines . . . will ultimately prevail."

Johnson did not identify "those forces " he referred to in China but the press report conveniently did it for him

Then the Ambassador added, "When their day comes, I can assure you that they will find the United States responsive. Indeed, this is our goal." U. Alexis Johnson has been a top foreign policy official in the U.S. government for many years and a principal advisor to the President. He also participated as a member of the U.S. delegation at the 1954 Geneva Conference. His speech, it is important to note, was cleared by the White House before delivery, according to the WJT dispatch quoted above.

While the statement of the U.S. Ambassador is more guarded than that of Kosygin, it is nonetheless basically similar in content. What is most striking about it is its timing -- it was made while Kosygin was still in London


It is not, however, necessary to believe the Kosygin-Johnson pronouncements were deliberately coordinated and timed. That matters little. What the Kosygin-Johnson pronouncements do however is to bring to the surface what has long been a more or less concealed form of collaboration against the People's Republic of China.

The launching of this bilateral attack puts a new face on the actual constellation of reactionary forces that are arrayed against the Chinese People's Republic. It gives weight to the growing body of evidence that has been accumulating over the years, that Washington and Moscow now have an implied if not publicly expressed alliance against China.

Startling as this may be, it should not make it incumbent on us to draw extreme and unwarranted sociological conclusions. These, especially if made in haste, could have the effect of clouding rather than clarifying existing political as well as class relations.


We only have to ask ourselves: What has been the principal content of U.S. foreign policy towards China and the USSR? It has been to exploit the profound differences in their fundamental policy for the purpose of weakening both the USSR and China -- and if and when possible, to effectuate their common destruction. At no time has the U.S. lost sight of this goal. This has been the unchanging objective of the U.S. government regardless as to which administration has been in power.

There was a time when a majority of progressive mankind understood this well enough. The changes that have occurred in the relations between the USSR and China have not altered the basic strategy of the ruling circles of U.S. finance capital. They have merely brought about a new tactical approach make necessary by new conditions.

It is only proper to recall the very early days immediately following the victory of the Chinese Revolution when the U.S. foreign policy makers tried desperately to wean away the newly formed People's Republic from friendly collaboration with the Soviet Union. The particular tactic at that time was to try to duplicate the Yugoslav experience. When it became apparent that this tactic would not succeed, a redoubled effort was made in the direction of the Soviet leadership. Both tactics followed from the same common imperialist strategy of divide and conquer.

Only recently, the fundamental conceptions of U.S. foreign policy were aptly summarized by one of the nationally syndicated columnists, William S. White, who more often than others reflects the Johnson Administration's view on foreign policy. Gloating over the depth of the Sino-Soviet split, he said, "In short . . . the one true question now is how the West can exploit it towards its own security The man who finds the right answer, and finds it in time, will take a place in history that few leaders have ever had." (Washington Post, Feb. 11.)


While collaborating with the revisionist Soviet leaders in order to undermine if not destroy the People's Republic of China with one hand, the Johnson Administration is at the same time, with the other hand, leaving no stone unturned to achieve the same objective with regard to the USSR.

A recent example is the threat by the Johnson Administration to put into operation the Nike X anti-missle system (ABM) while nonetheless continuing to build up its offensive missile weaponry, which is directed against the USSR as well as China.

To millions of people throughout the world it has become plain that the U.S. government has been stretching out its hands to embrace the Soviet leaders for a very long time now. But the motive for the embrace is to strangle the Soviet Union and not to befriend it. The class antagonisms between the USSR and the USA have not been eliminated but have been driven beneath the surface, or have rather been subordinated to what appears to the Soviet revisionists to be a "superior objective." But the class antagonisms are sure to reassert themselves with greater force than ever at a later date.

However, the alliance between the U.S. imperialists and the Soviet revisionist grouping is a fact of international life today which cannot be ignored. It makes a consistent revolutionary struggle against it on the part of all the working class and liberation forces throughout the world all the more necessary.


But this does not mean, as has been asserted recently, that the social system of the USSR has become capitalist. Not at all. State ownership of the basic means of production still exists in the Soviet Union. This is absolutely incontestable. As long as this is so, capitalism as a social system has not been restored in the Soviet Union. Elements of a capitalist economy have been introduced in the Soviet Union. But this has not yet materially altered the basic character of the social foundations of the USSR, which is shaped by state ownership of the means of production.

It may also be said that there have been many instances of mass repression practiced by the Soviet authorities. These repressions and gross violations of the civil liberties of Soviet citizens are nothing new either. But here again it is incorrect to infer from this that a capitalist or fascist dictatorship now exists in the USSR as some already claim. This would necessarily mean that the class foundations of the proletarian dictatorship established by the October Revolution had undergone a qualitative change.


Such a sweeping generalization is both inaccurate and unnecessary for the proper conduct of a firm and irreconcilable struggle against the revisionist grouping in the USSR and against imperialism. It could also cause endless ideological confusion and pose a considerable danger in the event of a sudden turn in the international situation.

It would also unnecessarily alienate millions upon millions of working people throughout the world, who know in their bones that all is not lost in the Soviet Union and would passionately defend it against imperialist aggression.

All the more is it necessary to have a clear line of demarcation between the neo-bourgeois restorationist grouping on top and the basic social system of the USSR. The latter has survived as a wholly progressive social development and shows tremendous potential for continued growth. The former can be vanquished as a regressive social phenomenon only by the combined effort of the Soviet people. In no other way can the Soviet Union be regenerated as a healthy socialist state.

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