History Lessons from Three U.S. Misjudgments of the Chinese Communist Party (13)

(2) Nixon renewed the Life of the illegal Maoist Communist regime

Nixon’s appeasement of the Communist Party of China came at a difficult Time when the U.S. siege policy was working well and the Communist Party of China was struggling to survive amidst internal and external problems.

Since the Korean War, Communist China, as the aggressor, had been rejected by mainstream world civilization and isolated in the international community, just as North Korea is today, and in March 1969, the Soviet Union threatened to carry out a surgical nuclear strike against the Communist Party when it provoked a border conflict on Jumbo Island. The Chinese Communist Party was extremely frightened when it learned of this, and Mao Zedong was the first to flee Beijing. Due to the intervention of the United States, the Soviet Union did not act rashly. The Communist Party survived, but the shadow of Soviet nuclear deterrence lingered. Mao ordered that “we must prepare for war”, and based on early, big and thermonuclear warfare. The population was evacuated and air raid caves were dug, causing fear and panic. At that time, the Chinese Communist Party looked around, with the Soviet army in the north and nuclear bombs hanging over its head, and with Japan, Korea, Taiwan, India and other countries in the vicinity at the same time, plus the long-term blockade by the United States, found itself in a dangerous situation surrounded on all sides by the so-called empire, revisionists and rebels (the language of the Cultural Revolution period, referring to the U.S. empire, Soviet revisionists and reactionaries of various countries). Therefore, Mao Zedong asked Foreign Minister Chen Yi and other communist marshals in May 69 to study the international situation and provide suggestions for resolving the critical situation. [29]

In July 69, the Nixon administration eased trade and travel restrictions on Communist China. in September, it changed the routine patrols of the Seventh Fleet in the Taiwan Strait to irregular patrols. in October, it asked the president of Pakistan to convey to the Communist ambassador that the U.S. would withdraw two destroyers from Taiwan. in December, the U.S. ambassador approached Communist representatives at a fashion show in Warsaw to convey In December, the U.S. ambassador approached CCP representatives at a fashion show in Warsaw to deliver a message that President Nixon wanted to resume ambassadorial-level talks.

The series of U.S. moves caused Jiang Zhongzheng to be alerted, and he accurately foresaw that “the U.S. was determined to unite with the bandits to control Russia since it could not but abandon our Republic of China and Vietnam to seek bandits as well.” [30] He wrote to Nixon in March 70, reminding the U.S. to learn the lessons of past peace talks with the Chinese Communists and not to harm the interests of the ROC again. In his reply, Nixon assured that the U.S. will to defend Taiwan had not changed and sincerely hoped that negotiations with the CCP would not affect the years of friendship and cooperation between the U.S. and Chinese governments. [31] However, it was later proved that Nixon’s letter was only a perfunctory response to the ROC’s words, and he had already decided to abandon his support for the ROC by then.

The Chinese Communist Party, on the other hand, was at first half-hearted about the U.S. overtures. According to its usual rigid thinking, the Chinese Foreign Ministry initially thought it was the U.S. counter-revolutionary two-handedness, and that the détente was a sham, but the intention to kill us remained the same. But after all, the Soviet threat was more real, more immediate, and more deadly, so Chen Yi and others, after months of deliberation, came to the deviant conclusion that using the United States to suppress the Soviet Union would help avoid or postpone war. They suggested skipping ambassadorial negotiations and holding direct talks with the United States at the ministerial level or above, without presupposing acceptance of CCP claims (such as the Taiwan issue). This proposal was two months ahead of the U.S. proposal to resume ambassadorial-level talks.

But Mao was more impatient than Chen Yi or others. It gave an interview to Snow on Christmas Day ’70 and directly and verbally invited President Nixon to visit. in April ’71, Mao gave permission for the U.S. ping pong team to come to the mainland. In June of the same year, the U.S. president received what he called the most important international letter since World War II – a personal letter from Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, which contained a formal invitation for Nixon to visit Beijing for an interview with Mao. Zhou Enlai’s letter naturally excited Nixon, as the United States had not received a positive response from the Chinese Communist Party to its many previous conciliatory gestures.

The U.S. and the CCP came together and played international cards against each other, both targeting the Soviet Union first and foremost. The U.S. wanted to gain an advantage in negotiations on strategic arms limitation, while the CCP joined forces with the U.S. in order to reduce the military threat from the Soviet Union, especially the nuclear threat. As Chen Yi and others have analyzed, the mere fact that the CCP held high-level talks with the U.S. was itself a strategic deterrent to the Soviet Union, not to mention the Mao-Nepal summit. The CCP actually shared Nixon’s strong expectation that the visit would take place as hoped to reinforce the political effect of uniting the United States against the Soviet Union. But the United States underestimated the CCP’s urgency.

Kissinger found out only after he arrived in Beijing that the CCP was deeply anxious about a possible invasion by hostile forces. Zhou Enlai told Kissinger that the CCP had prepared for the worst and was digging bomb shelters everywhere to prepare for war. He stated that the CCP would defeat the invaders with a people’s war, while seemingly testing the intentions of the United States, as the CCP had always suspected that the United States, the Soviet Union, Japan, and India would one day unite to carve up Communist China. [32] But the CCP’s fear of the Soviet Union in particular was overwhelming, and Zhou Enlai repeatedly suggested that a summit between Nixon and Mao would be better arranged after the U.S.-Soviet summit. It said that although we were fearless, we did not want to invite unnecessary trouble,[33] reflecting the CCP’s weakness in wanting to be close to the U.S. but also fearing to annoy the Soviet Union.

Kissinger was quite “understanding” at this point and treated the CCP as an ally. He assured Zhou Enlai that the U.S. would inform the CCP in advance of any major issues involving the CCP in its negotiations with the Soviet Union; that the U.S. would fully consider the CCP’s views; that the U.S. would consult and accommodate the CCP’s position in the negotiations; and that the U.S. would never conspire with other powers to divide up the CCP,[34] and suggested that the CCP deploy its forces to protect itself against the U.S. where they were more needed. [35] Kissinger later even suggested that the United States would be willing to provide a nuclear umbrella for the CCP. Kissinger was like Marshall in his day, urging the CCP to do what it wanted and thinking what it did not want!

In short, before Nixon arrived, the U.S. had already given the CCP a piece of mind, making the CCP’s uneasy diplomatic crisis mostly resolved. Only because of America’s almost ingratiating initiative and excessive enthusiasm, the CCP’s strategy of uniting with the U.S. to control the Soviet Union was immediately effective, and it took “no effort at all”! This is not to mention that the CCP had an additional surprise on the Taiwan issue (see later).

However, the Soviet Union was not the only thing the CCP was worried about at that time; the situation within the CCP was also chaotic. Five years after Mao’s Cultural Revolution, it was a self-destructive and unprecedented civil unrest. There was no end to martial fighting, production was paralyzed, the economy was regressed, Education and Culture were stagnant, political persecution was widespread, and countless intellectual elites were killed. Mao’s perverse actions even triggered a split at the top of the Communist Party.

When Kissinger made his first secret visit to Beijing in July 1971, Lin Liguo, son of Lin Biao, was in the midst of his “May 7-1” coup against Mao. The attentive Kissinger smelled something unusual. He brought gifts to Mao, Lin and Zhou, but Zhou only thanked Mao and himself without mentioning Lin Biao. Zhou also ignored Kissinger’s reminder and droned on about the Cultural Revolution, which had nothing to do with the talks, suggesting that decades of revolutionary gains would be cut short. Kissinger, of course, could not have known that only two months later, Mao’s deputy commander-in-chief and legal successor, Marshal Lin Biao, fled the mainland with his wife and son and died in a plane crash in Mongolia, perhaps the greatest “achievement” of the Cultural Revolution.

The Lin Biao affair revealed the dark side of the Communist Party’s glamorous appearance, but also the scandal and crisis of Mao Zedong himself. The “close comrades” whom Mao himself promoted and reappointed publicly broke with him in just two years, even to the point of dying with him, and Mao could not justify himself in any way. The criticism of Mao and the Cultural Revolution in the “Summary of the May 7 Project” was so loud and deafening that it was almost “every word is the truth” and resonated strongly throughout the country. Mao Zedong had never failed to make a mistake in his life, but in front of the seemingly weak Lin Biao, he met his greatest Waterloo, and Mao’s image as a wise and supreme man was tarnished, and the myth of the four greats was shattered. The company’s first and foremost, the company’s first and foremost, is a company that has been in the business for over a decade. [36]

But the thought of meeting with the upcoming Nixon, Mao Zedong again exuberant, actively cooperate with doctors treatment. Nixon gave it a chance to repair its image. After all, it was the head of the world’s top power, the U.S. empire, who had come to China for 10,000 miles to offer goodwill and could no longer ignore the presence of Communist China. When Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution in ’66, he mouthed the bold words, “Isn’t U.S. imperialism big? It’s nothing if we top it.” It was referring to the Communist forces taking on the U.S. military in North Korea to save the Kim regime. A year ago, Mao Zedong called on “the people of the world to unite and defeat the American invaders and all their lackeys” because of the U.S. invasion of Cambodia, but Nixon abandoned his siege of the Communist Party and personally came to the door to seek peace. On the surface, Mao Zedong did not give up without a fight, highlighting that Mao Zedong is still great. Mao then immediately proposed to divide the three worlds and appointed himself the leader of the third world, finally saving face for Mao Zedong’s thought which is no longer shining. Nixon inadvertently helped Mao survive the crisis, and may have even renewed its life.