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Perils of DominanceImbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam$
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Gareth Porter

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520239487

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520239487.001.0001

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The Communist Powers Appease the United States

The Communist Powers Appease the United States

(p.32) 2 The Communist Powers Appease the United States
Perils of Dominance

Gareth Porter

University of California Press

This chapter demonstrates how the Soviet and Chinese governments adjusted their policy to their weakness relative to the United States by acquiescing to the U.S. assertion of its interest in keeping South Vietnam in the American sphere. The Communist powers pursued a conscious policy of appeasement of the United States on Vietnam. Soviet and Chinese diplomacy at Geneva was a prelude to a much longer period of appeasing the United States on Vietnam in the hope of averting direct military conflict with the dominant power. The sharp change in Soviet policy during the first six months after Nikita Khrushchev's ouster marked the transition in global politics from an ostensibly bipolar structure that hid actual triangular dynamics to a fully articulated triangular structure. The Soviet–Chinese strategy of placating the United States achieved the desired objective of eliminating the threat of a potentially uncontrollable conflict over Vietnam.

Keywords:   Communist powers, United States, Soviet government, Chinese government, government, Nikita Khrushchev, Soviet policy, Chinese diplomacy

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