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Additional info for Towards the End of Isolationism: China’s Foreign Policy after Mao
In China, however, it seems more likely that the opposite might apply. In other words, the broad strategic orientations of foreign policy have played a large part in shaping the patterns of domestic change. Thus the SinoSoviet alliance led to the adoption of the full Soviet model. The strategic break with the Soviet Union led to isolation fllld the strategic alignment with the West paved the way for the emphasis on modernisation. Reality, however, would appear to be too complex for either argument to carry ultimate conviction.
Their strategic association was an important and critical factor in establishing limits to American military actions during the Korean War and still later the Soviet nuclear shield provided deterrence against American threats. The Soviet Union also extended invaluable military assistance both in terms of equipment and advice towards the modernisation of the armed forces. It is a measure of the significance of the Soviet support that the technological levels of China's conventional forces at the beginning of the eighties were not much in advance of those established by the end of the fifties when Soviet assistance came to an end.
Throughout 1949 the American Administration proved impervious to the various diplomatic feelers which Zhou Enlai in particular sent in its direction. Zhou's position can be summed up in his crisp observation to an American emissary at the time: 'we shall lean to one sicle, but how far depends on you'. 26 Meanwhile the American Administration, imbued with the spirit of the Cold War and fearful of a domestic backlash to the 'loss of China' proceeded to pressurise its European allies not to recognise the PRC.