Issues on Strategy and Tactics

Some of the points at issue and the respective positions regarding the question of strategy and tactics are as follows:

1. Moscow believes there is a real possibility that world war can be avoided. Peiping believes that “imperialism” is an inevitable source of wars and although the avoidance of a nuclear world war is theoretically possible it is unlikely.

2. Moscow maintains local wars such as the Korean conflict are not needed to advance socialist causes. Local wars can get out of control, risk world war, and hence must be avoided. Peiping maintains that until “imperialists” are destroyed local wars are inevitable. Further, Peiping argues that local wars will not of themselves lead to world war, that they can be contained by resolute struggle.

3. What effect would world war have? Moscow claims world war would be ruinous. It would destroy the centers of civilization, setting mankind back hundreds of years. Peiping contends, although a nuclear war would be destructive, “imperialism” would perish and socialism could re-create with extreme rapidity a “beautiful new civilization.”

4. With respect to national liberation movements, Peiping charges the Soviets with failing to support national liberation struggles because of its view toward the risk of local wars precipitating larger conflicts. The Soviet position is that liberation struggles must continue and will be supported; however, a sharp distinction must be drawn between internal wars and wars between states. Wars of national liberation must not be promoted from the outside. National liberation wars are conflicts between people of an area against their rulers. Moscow, unlike the Chinese, does not believe Korea is an example of an acceptable type of war of liberation.

5. Moscow has taken the line that disarmament is feasible and desirable. Peiping maintains disarmament prior to the final destruction of “imperialism” is inconceivable, unattainable, and undesirable. Negotiations and talk about disarmament, according to the Chinese, impedes the liberation struggle by reducing revolutionary drive.

6. Peaceful coexistence has become a principal plank of Moscow’s foreign policy. Moscow believes that time is on its side. Given some years of peace, enabling the Communists to develop without the disruption caused by war, they believe the superiority of their systems will be demonstrated and victory assured. Therefore, peaceful coexistence should become the cornerstone of foreign policy of socialist states. On the other hand, Peiping’s view is that liberation movements are strengthened only by struggle—not peaceful coexistence.

7. According to Moscow, the role of international Communist front organizations, such as the World Federation of Trade Unions, World Peace Council, World’s Federation of Democratic Youth, and women and student groups, should be to serve as a means for mobilizing non-Communists as well as Communists. Their effectiveness should not be impaired by requiring their involvement too deeply in militant revolutionary activities. To Peiping, front organizations must be used in the struggle against “imperialism” and their value is directly proportionate to their responsiveness to Communist control and manipulation.


House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Sub-Committee on the Far East and the Pacific, Sino-Soviet Conflict (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1965), pp. 4R–5R.


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