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Power and Primacy

Abridged and Updated Edition

A.B. Abrams

Today the Asia-Pacific region stands on the verge of major change, with centuries of western dominated regional order being seriously challenged and quite possibly nearing its end. The emergence of a potential new order dominated by regional rather than extra-regional powers - an «Asia for the Asiatics» in the words of Japan’s pan-Asian scholars - means it is now more than ever essential to understand the history of the current western-dominated system, the full implications should it continue and the nature of the West’s intentions towards the region.

This book undertakes the task of elucidating the complex and little-known history of western intervention in the Asia-Pacific, providing information critical to understanding contemporary developments

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Chapter 16

The Russian Factor in the Asia-Pacific


I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.1


The end of the Chinese Civil War and establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949 saw the end of over two decades of war and over a century of hostile foreign military deployments on the country’s territory and extensive interference in its domestic affairs – referred to by the Chinese people as the ‘century of humiliation.’ The Western powers had in the eyes of the new PRC government revealed themselves to be unremittingly hostile, not only historically since the British Empire had pillaged large swathes of Chinese territory and propagated opium addiction to improve its own balance of trade,2 but also the actions of the U.S. military during the Chinese Civil War and in the early 1950s. This included the United States’ extensive support for Chiang Kai-shek and deployment of the U.S. Marines against the Chinese communists, the blockade and trade embargo placed on the country, and the threats to invade and ‘roll back’ Chinese communism which had led U.S. troops to approach the Chinese borders and threaten an attack on the country during the Korean War. Support for insurgent groups in and regular CIA incursions into Chinese territory further worsened the situation. They came alongside the United ←555 | 556→States’ threat to use nuclear weapons against...

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