CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
Peiping has persistently emphasized that its encouragement and support ol "revolutionary" wars was not only an essential element in true Communist policy, butethod of broaking through the US policy of containment and most specifically ofUS withdrawal from Taiwan. Thus the Chinese Communists have tried to bring "revolutionary"to bear against US interests throughout the world. Peiping apparently believes it can continue thiswithoutajor US attack on tbe Even such an attack, in the Chinese view, could not destroy Peiping's ability to resist occupation. In Mao's doctrine tactical caution is wedded to strategic disdainuperior enemy, raising the degree of risk Peiping is willing to take in confrontations with the US. In asserting their intention to preserve North Vietnam, however, the Chinese leaders have beon indefinite as to the precise character and time of their action.
PEIPING'S VIEWS ON "REVOLUTIONARY WAR"
This paper attempts toerspective for gauging Chinese and Vietnamese action in the Vietnam situation. Our perspective is formed largely by the past attitudes and actions of the two Coramu-nist powers, and we believe that certain persisting attitudes will lead to much the sane actions. In this connection, we believe that their dedication to the doctrine of revolutionary violence is real and not just verbal and it is primarily this matter which is discussed here.
1. The Basic Chinese Communist Attitude
The Chinese Communist effort to break through the American policy of military andcontainment is astrategy forwar as itolicy for handling foreign That Is, it apparently is conceived In terms of combating the enemy rather than in adjustingwith him by negotiations; revolutionary wars against him are encouraged and supported, and any compromise or concession is viewed as surrender. It is here that the doctrinal component in Chinesethinking significantly Influences thecomponent in their view of strategy, adding to the morbid hostility. And this hostilitya Chinese Communist attitude toward the USraditional Chinese attitude. The attitude of the Russian Communists toward Washington is now significantly loss hostile than that of the Chinose leaders, an underlying reason for this difference being Mao's veryneurotic--opinion of himself as the world's senior leader dedicated to armed revolution. This mixture of conceit andraises the anti-American animus in theof the Chinese leaders abovo that of the Russian leaders.
It is raised even further by the fact that Hao is above all dedicatedarticular armedChinesemeans for him nothing less than the process of destroyingChinaolitical unit. Revolutionaryagainst the Nationalist requires the same kind
of animosity against their defenders, the Americans. Chinese Communist criticism of the Russians carries the implicationevolutionary attitude can be gauged only by the degree of hostility directed against the major defender of tho Nationalists. Hao himself Indicated that the matter of Nationalist China is relevant to the Sino-Soviet disputeglobal strategy toward the US. He told aCommunist leader on1 that the "immediate and pressing problem of Taiwan" made the difference between the Chinese and Soviet attitude toward US policy. His dedication, however, torevolution and his personal conceit probablyajor part in shaping his thinking on the dispute.
2. Chinese Communist Global Strategy
Chinese strategy is sharply directedthe goal of effecting this American withdrawal from the Taiwan Strait. The Chinese tried to attain this goalnd again8 by direct pressures on the Nationalist positions in the Strait. These pressures were intended to ascertain theof the US determination to support the Failure to reduce the US commitment tothe contrary, it was significantly increasedthe Chinese Communist leaders to shift their strategy from confrontations orwith the US In the Straitore indirect strategy requiring pressures on US positionsin the world. The shift to this strategy was made all the more necessary by Khrushchev'sreluctance to support further probes in the Strait and by the open polemics which erupted between the two Communist allies.
Among the elements which constitute the complex Chinese Communist strategy of applyingon the US, smallrmedn underdeveloped areas are the most distinctive. The Chinese (and other Asian Communists)have tried this strategy in the Far East in thendnd failed to make headway anywhere but in Vietnam. Theyew approachsoft" line of peaceful coexistence and significantly de-emphasizing the use of small wars and overt incitement to violent revolution, but
in the subsequentChinese Communist talks regarding the Taiwan issue ended in an The compulsion to encourage violentagainst. was reactivated in Chinese Communist thinking by various domestic anddevelopments. Theof "armed struggle" was firmly re-established as the key element in Peiping's strategy bys witness their insistence then that tho heart of Leninism was recognition of theof small revolutionary wars. But this time the idea was not confined to strategy in the Far East; it was extended to all emergent nations.
The explicit link between this global strategy andasic long-term goal. withdrawal from the Taiwan Strait area was made by Chou En-lai. Speaking to Edgar Snow onhou stated:
The Invasion and occupation of Taiwan can only make. the enemy of the Chinese
Only when other countries have suffered similar acts of invasion and occupation will they become hostile towardnd only then vill the people of these countries. imperialism as their common
Looking at the development of thesituationven if.ithdraw from the Taiwan region and no breakthrough occurs there, breakthroughs will occur elsewhere, alsoimilar chain reaction so long as. Government persists in its present policies of aggression and war. Because in bullying and oppressing other peoples,. will inevitably arouse their opposition and suffer ultimate defeat. It isatter of time. As to where the breakthrough occurs first, this depends on the development of the struggle. (emphasis supplied)
lsewhere"ajor component in Chinoso Communist strategic thinking. Chou's remarks carry tbe implication that. can be most
effectively pressed to withdraw Its commitments to Taipei and other governments by direct attacks. positionsroad front, particularly in underdeveloped areas. Mao and Liu Shao-chi came close to Baking this point in private discussions with Latin American Communists inhen they stressed the importance of simultaneous actions which cause "tension" in order to force. "to spread its forces thinast area." imilar point was made by Anna Louise Strong, whose views reflect aspects of the Chinese leaders* thinking. She statedemo in2 that: Khrushchev sees peace as secured by alternate threats andwhich he directs at Kennedy, plus theand nuclear power of the USSR. lie wants 'maximum quiet' for all revolutionary movements. The Chinese, however, seek world peace secured by combined pressure of ail anti-imperialist forces in the world, thwarting and holding down and over-coming imperialism bit by bit."
The Chinese prefer theseo take the form of small wars apparentlythey see local wars as providing the mostkind of pressure and the most difficult kind for. to handle. They also apparently believe that an armed revolution offers the best opportunity to wipe out American influence with the governments of emergent nations. They sharply criticized the Algerian Communists privately in2 for giving up their arms to Ben Bella's government forces, arguing that weapons were needed for the Communist revolution; the Chinese pointed to the danger that the Communist revolution would stagnate and Algeria would return to the imperialist orbit, becoming awould emergeewsusceptible. influence.
3. "Revolutionary War"
The Chinese Communist leaders have used one aspect of Lenin's ideas to buttress their contention that stress on armed revolution ls doctrinally They have returnedtatement in one of hiswars against the imperialist powers are not only possible and probable, they are inevitable, they are progressive, and they areargue against the Russian leaders' more "peaceful road." The Chinese previously had
cited this same statement of Lenin's when they were encouraging and supporting armed revolutions in the Far East in tho.
The Chinese define "jusf'wars in the same way that the Russians do. "Just" wars are simply wars of national liberation waged by tho people in the colonies or scmi-colonlos against imperialist oppression and enslavement, revolutionary civil wars of the proletariat In the imperialist countries, or wars of self-defense waged by the socialist countries against wars of oppression launched byRedhe decisive point,Chinese emphasis on the small, "just" war as the only way toevolution in ancountry..
Tho Chinese emphasis in effect excludes all forms of revolution which are not armed revolutions. Chou En-lal made this clear when,onversation with Indian Communist leaders ine came close to saying what other Chinese Communists had said regarding Khrushchev's removal of war from the arsenal of Communist weapons: namely, Communism can triumph only through armed revolution; Khrushchev's policies have already disrupted the world Communist movement, and all Communist parties should follow the road that the CCP took to power. The Chinese have raisod Mao's ideauerrilla war to the lovellaw" of the process of revolution. Theeditorial on the Congo rebellion carried in the Peiping People's Pally on4 makes this point clear:
State power, independence, freedom, and equality can be won by armed force and armed force alone and safeguarded by armod force and armed force alone. This has been and is the universal law of class struggle.
Revolutionary wars, in tho Chinoso Communist view, are not only the most effective means of tying down and then. influence in the emergent countries; thoy arc also the best way to ensure the consolidation of powerommunist takeover. Beyond that, the Chinese stress these wars in order to increase Mao's already considerable prestige as the guerrilla leader and Communist who creatively developed Leninist doctrine on revolutionary war.
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They haveharp distinction between revolutionarysmall, "just"world war. However, partly for polemical purposes, the Russians blur this distinction and insist that Mao wants big as well as small wars, ajor war. The Russians also blur this distinction andthe dangers of "war" in general in order to avoid the necessity of committing themselves to small wars which might offer unacceptable risks to the USSR. They have cited as evidence for this position their version of his major speech given in Moscow
In China, wo are engaged inwe want peace. But, if theneverthelessar, weto clench our teeth, postponeand resume it after the war. Pravda, (emphasisielTJ
Ignoring the conditional "if" in Mao's statement, the Russians say that this indicates Mao's "orientation toward an armed conflict." They deliberately fail to point out, as Mao had pointed out, that the Chinese do notorldajor) war with. unless it is absolutelyis, if it is "forced" onwhich case, the Chinese would have no alternative but to resist.
Chou En-lai,V interview for Western audiences, stated in4 that "We are perfectly clearuclear world war would cause enormous havoc to mankind." "It is claimed that China isto lose half her populationar. China will neverar. But,. imperialismwar on us, we wouid""have no alternative but to resist firmly, and, whatever the cost, we would never surrender." (emphasis supplied)
4, Chinese Communist View of Risk of Small Wars
The Chinese apparently believe that they can support small. wars "elsewhere" and even adjacent to their borders without running the risk of. attack on the mainland. They believe theyood understanding (which maya degree of self-deception) of the extensive damage. nuclear strike could cause
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to mainland Installations and morale. But thishas not led them to conclude that small wars ln general, and ln Laos and Vietnam In particular, should be avoided. They believe that those wars should be pushed "uninterruptedly"rotracted time scale-In Laos,top-go tactical basis, and ln Vietnam,hased-Increase hit-and-run basis. Their comrades, the Vietnamese Communists, are very explicit about their plan to wage protracted war and about how this will frustrate the impatient Americans, who wantvictory"ar of "quick decision." Thisls rooted firmly ln Mao's thinking on small wars, enabling Communists to take comfort in the long view despite tactical reverses.
When,ao said that "to wage awar foroars, as we have done, might be surprising ln othere was rejecting Western military doctrine on quick-decision war and supplying Chinese Communist military thought with one of its most valuable concepts. It hasey idea In Vietnamese Communist military thinking and meshes well with his other concept: "Absolute superiority exists only at the endar or campaign. Itexists at tho outset.**
Crucial to the Chinese view of risk is their apparently pervasive feeling that. will not use nuclear weapons against the mainland. The reasons for this feeling seen to be:
. nuclear weapons strike against tho mainland would beln. as woll as ln other countries. In their viow, Americans are too "soft" to accept tho presumed necessity. -Chinose Nationalist long-term effort on the ground to secure the mainland afterajor strike.
Chou has made several reaiarks on the matter. Ine told Japanese Socialists that "Mostdo not want to go to war. Why do they whose standard of living is so high have to engage in war? It ls possible that they who are dwelling In concrete buildings and oatlng Ice cream want to come to China to eat millet and put on strawn view of this, we beliovo that. will never do such a
thingttack tho raainland7." Chou laterointed to criticTsra. allies and. "internal situation" as factors inhibiting. in expanding the war in Vietnam.
estruction of the major cities andcomplexes on the mainland would not mean defeat for the PLA. The Chinese. forces in Korea with anrecognition that. might hit tho mainland with nuclear woapons; they apparently believe, however, that this would not destroy their ability to resist aoccupation.
Marshal Mich Jung-chen told the Indian ambassador in0 that: "We know what we are in for, but, at all. aggression has to be stopped. The Americans can bomb us, they can destroy our industries, but they cannot defeat us onmay even drop atom bombs on us. What then? They mayew millionfter all, China lives on farms. What can atom bombs doarshal Chen Yi made asimilar statementewsman inhat. might "destroy cities like Shanghai and Peking with atomut that. could not occupy the mainland with military units.
ost importantly, the Chinese leaders have. threats to use nuclear woapons against them asarge element ofuclearand have madeoint of emphasis that small wars should be sustained despite direct or. threats. They seem to reason that their refusal over the years to bend in the face of threats has reduced tlie possibility. nu-clear weapons strike; others are urged to follow this reasoning and act on it.
Their post facto reading of the non-use of nuclear weapons during the Korean war seems to have increased their confidence that non-use will continue toS policy. (They have stated that during the Korean War, Washington believed that "the mere threat to use atom bombs would scare the
peoples of Korea and But they continued
to stand upright in the face of the nuclear The only way of thwarting the nuclear bluff of the US is to have no fear of it." Red
Mao and his lieutenants have applied his civil war concept ofuperior enemy strategically (persisting in fighting) whilefull account-of him tactically (but fighting cautiously, not rashly) to the military aspects of Peiping's protracted anti-US effort. They believe that the task is effectively controlled in thehalf of the formulation. They have taken thistacticaljustify their backdown in the Taiwan Strait situation of
Nevertheless, the policy has an ingredient of high risk: when an enemy is "slighted" in the long view (as Maohe inclination is to slight himarticular tactical situation as well. Further, the enemy might well refuse to be tactically restrained in the use of his superior force. Mao has been criticized by the Sovietfor advancing an "adventurist" (high-risk)their reasoning being:
It is incompatible to slight the enemy strategically and take full account of him tactically at the same time. (Red Flag,ttributes this criticism to "some people.")
The Chinese reply has been that the Russians aretheyider margin of safety in confrontations with the US than is really necessary.
Beyond the Chinese view that thecan be held against any US airis inviolable even if the US attacks with nucleartheir view that forces actively engaged In small wars are even more secure against nuclear
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weapons attacks. Tho Vietnamese Communists seem to share this view with them and have disparaged the feasibility of US use of tactical nuclear weapons effectively against their forces in South Vietnam. They seem to believe that the US will not use these weapons.
ecause in the guerrilla war in South Vietnam, the opposing forces are locked together in closeand there are no definite front This is only the military side of the matter. As for the. .side, it is difficult for the US to estimate beforehand all the consequences of their eventual use of nuclear weapons to suppress the national liberation movement. (Hoc Tap.
Use of nuclear weapons against North Vietnam is probably viewed by the Vietnamese "leaders in the same way that the Chinese leaders see such anagainst theas capable of destroying cities and installations but not the PAVN's ability to fight. This concept of military Inviolability and willingness to takeaken Chinese andustains Vietnamese determination to persist in the war in South Vietnam despite US threats.
n the Chinese view, is an Important ingredient in the current situation of confrontation with the US. Itsychological factor which has military consequences and it has been recognized as such for many years by the That is, they believe that the deterrentto be combined with the military factor isa deliberate effort tothe US that Communists are not afraid ofthe risk of major war. train of thisappeared, among other materials, in Red Flag "Dulles wasn-thinking that by merely threatening to use atomic weaponshe US wouldn intimidating the people of the world in general and those of Indochina in particular." It appeared again in People's Dally "US clamors to extend the war to the North can only frighten those who have lost their nerve." It appears today in Vietnamese Communist materials.
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The Chinese response. threats in4 and to the air strikes against North Vietnamese base facilities in August was tothe Vietnamese to continue the fighting in the South, as. "threat of force can no one" (People's. he" Soviets were intimidated, in the Chinesehinese Foreign Ministry official complainedeliable source onugust that. air strikes had achieved one aim: "to cowdown the Soviet Union." That the Vietnamese had beento continue the fight in the South despite the strikes is suggested, among other things, by the Viet Cong broadcastugust, stating that the Communist army in tbe South "considers itself responsible for stepping up the attack against, and the annihilation and destruction of, the enemy on all battlefields so as to contribute to theof the North. Thus the important aspect of the Chinese-Vietnamese reaction was not so much Chinese statements regarding the degree of their commitment to help Hanoi, but Peiping's and Hanoi's determination to stiffen the backs of the Viet Cong.
The Chinese leaders have made clear their intention to preserve the viability of North Vietnam, using various formulations at various times. . statements regarding possible escalation, Chen VI told an Austrian newsman In late4 that the PLA "would come In if the war in Indochina should be carried to thend oneiping declared: "The Chinese people will not watch with folded arras if its fraternal neighbor, the DRV, is under attack. Thisromise, and we have always kept our promises." In response to the first Gulf of Tonkin incident, the Chinese leadersovernment statementugust warning that the Chinese people "will not sit idly by" and that "aggression by. against the DRV means aggression against China." Shortly(inoreign Ministry official stated privately that "We will totally. action and aggression against Vietnam which weas aggression against us." More recently, in commenting on Ambassador'Taylor's consultations ln Washington, the People's Daily (onovember) warned: "One should "realize that if aggression is enlarged regardless under whator not verystill constitutes an act of war
razen attack on thell big aggressive wars in the world were begunimitednce an agressive neck has been stuckt must be chopped off." In asserting their intention to preserve North Vietnam, however, the Chinese leaders have been indefinite as to the preciseand time of their action.Original document.