Soviet-U.S. Contention for Hegemony Intensifies
[This unsigned article is reprinted from Peking Review, Vol. 18, #3, Jan. 17, 1975, pp. 6-8.]
NINETEEN seventy-four was a year in which the Soviet-U.S. advertised “detente!” reached an impasse and contention between the two superpowers for spheres of influence and world domination became still fiercer.
The two superpowers have tried to hide the truth of their rivalry and the resultant war threat to the people of the world. In particular, the one flaunting the signboard of “socialism” made a big fanfare over “detente,” preaching that “the process of detente has boundless possibilities and can develop without pauses and interruptions.”
Is there the slightest shadow of “detente” in the world today? None at all! On the contrary, there is the tense situation in which both superpowers are scrambling for hegemony everywhere; the social-imperialists especially have delved into every nook and cranny with their ambition for world domination “developing without pauses.” “Detente” in words is designed to camouflage intense rivalry for hegemony in deeds.
Europe—Focus of Contention
A piece of meat relished by the two superpowers, Europe is the focus of their rivalry. Striving for hegemony there, both in the past year have been bitterly contending over its flanks—the Middle East, the Mediterranean and the Balkan area. One has tried its best to pluck the other’s wing on the southern flank; the other has done its utmost to clip its opponent’s claws stretching into that region. In their view, the one who controls the region can influence developments in Europe.
The second round: of talks between Soviet and U.S. leaders in June 1973 was followed by the outbreak of the Middle East War in which the two sides almost had a big direct confrontation. Two weeks after the third round in June and July 1974, the Cyprus crisis erupted, clearly reflecting their heated contention in the region. Sometimes they brandished their swords and drew their bows. At other times they scurried about in an intense diplomatic struggle. U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger made seven trips to the Middle Fast in a year, shuttling between the capitals of nearly all countries in the region. Not to be outdone, Gromyko and other Soviet revisionist chieftains also made frequent visits to the region in 1974. Sometimes one came in as the other was leaving, almost stepping on the latter’s feet.
Taking advantage of the more thorough exposures of the Soviet revisionists’ true features and the further developing tendency of some Arab countries to shake off Soviet revisionist control, the United States switched to new tactics. While continuing to support Israel, it advocated a phased “peaceful solution” of the Middle East question under the banner of “mediating” the Arab-Israeli “dispute” in an attempt to gradually elbow out Soviet revisionist influence.
The Soviet revisionists also changed their tactics. Singing louder about “supporting” the Arab people’s struggle against Zionism, they tried to continue deceiving the Arab people so as to cope with the United States and secure and expand their own position. At the same time, they kept sending emigrants to Israel, providing it with manpower, colluded with it and reached into this U.S. sphere of influence. Meanwhile, the two hegemonic powers shipped large quantities of arms to the region which they called a “powder keg.” The Soviet Union and the United States have sent more than 10,000 million dollars’ worth of different kinds of military equipment into the area since the October Middle East War.
Contention between both in the Middle East has now spread west to Cyprus and east to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Soviet and U.S. warships sail between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean, every now and then holding naval exercises. At the mere rustle of a leaf in the wind, each promptly reinforces its strength to intimidate and keep watch on the other. Their contention for bases and a dominant position in the Indian Ocean has become sharper than ever.
Since the beginning of 1974, Soviet revisionist social-imperialism has grown more desperate and undisguised in its subversive and aggressive activities in the Balkan region, known as the “tinder-box” of Europe, which is closely linked with the Middle East. To control this strategically important region on Europe’s southern flank, it has spared no effort to unscrupulously foster pro-Soviet forces in one Balkan state to seize power at an opportune time. Using the stick and the carrot, it forced another Balkan state to provide it with a “military corridor.” When its plots were exposed and its unreasonable demands turned down, it arrogantly fell back on open military blackmail by carrying out massive troop manoeuvres along the border areas of these countries. It exploited the Cyprus question to go in for political opportunism in a big way, attempting to fish in troubled waters and make a breach in NATO’s southern flank.
Interpenetration and Mutual Exclusion
Contention between the two superpowers on the European continent has become fiercer and fiercer, with both sides always using political and military tactics in their contest. Moscow has all along tried to benumb the West with an illusory “feeling of security” and sow dissension between West European countries and the United States in an effort to squeeze out Washington and thus pave the way for its own expansion there. Capitalizing the economic and political difficulties confronting the West European countries in 1974, the Soviet revisionists used markets and raw materials as bait to curry favour and hoodwink some of these countries under the signboard of “developing bilateral relations” and “all-European co-operation,” and at the same time they made further efforts to engage in political infiltration in the region.
To counter this, the United States readjusted its relations with West European countries and strengthened political and military alliances with them against the Soviet Union. Using the contradictions and growing rebellious trends within the Soviet redsionist “big community,” it also intensified “peaceful infiltration” into some East European countries through developing bilateral “economic and technical co-operation.” The “European security conference” and the talks on forces reduction in Central Europe over the lost year or so truly reflected the two superpowers’ rivalry, interpenetration and mutual exclusion in Europe.
The military confrontation between the two in Europe is becoming sharper. While holding talks in Vienna on forces reduction in Central Europe over the past year, they continued stepping up war preparations in terms of actual fighting, with Europe as the hypothetical battlefield.
The Soviet revisionists in recent years have continued increasing their armed forces’ strength in Eastern Europe, kept shipping various kinds of new weapons and equipment into the region and improved their logistics system, thereby raising the level of combat-readiness. Besides putting emphasis on expanding military strength in Central Europe, the Soviet revisionist clique last year reinforced its military deployment and command system against the northern and southern flanks of Western Europe. Joint Warsaw Pact military exercises were held more frequently and almost doubled in 1974.
On its part, the United States began large-scale renewal of its tactical nuclear weapons deployed in Western Europe to cope with the Warsaw Pact’s superior conventional forces and at the same time reduced non-combatant forces there while increasing and strengthening its combat troops.
Feverish Nuclear Arms Expansion
As their contention intensifies, the two superpowers continue their feverish arms expansion in quest of military superiority, especially nuclear superiority, each trying to outdo its opponent. There was sharp bargaining over the central topic of nuclear arms in the two meetings between Soviet and U.S. leaders and during the visits exchanged between their foreign ministers last year. Each sought to limit the other’s development. Consequently, the more they talked, the wider their disagreement and the greater the quantity, the better the quality and the larger the capacity of their nuclear weapons.
While engaging in massive nuclear arms expansion, both sides pay great attention to developing conventional arms. Disregarding the vital interests of its people, Soviet revisionism has in recent years spent an enormous sum of money on increasing the conventional war capability of its ground, naval and air forces while giving priority to development of nuclear arms. It has surpassed the United States both in the speed of building warships and in the total number of surface vessels and submarines. It is now making every effort to turn out aircraft carriers and speed up the nuclear-powering of its submarine fleet in the race to catch up with the United States in these two fields. It is also accelerating research and manufacture of different types of new warplanes and continuously developing tanks, anti-tank weapons and anti-aircraft missiles.
The United States also deems it imperative to put more efforts into developing its conventional war capability. Shortly after the 1973 Middle East War, it summed up the experience gained in the war; in the military budget for fiscal year 1975 set forth early last year, it called for greater efforts to increase production and storage of munitions, tanks, anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft weapons, and other conventional weapons. In recent years it also has continuously stepped up development of its naval forces in the scramble with the Soviet revisionists for maritime hegemony.
A fact worth noting is the two sides’ increasing war cries while intensifying arms expansion and war preparations. One clamours that “preparations for a world war are continuing and are even being enhanced” and that it is “prepared to wage a war using all kinds of arms.” The other declares that it must be ready for combat at any time.
All this shows that so-called “lasting peace” and “a generation of peace” are nothing but deceitful talk. The nature of imperialism determines that the relationship between the two hegemonic powers, the Soviet Union and the United States, can only be one of fierce contention, making the outbreak of war hard to avoid.
Lenin long ago pointed out that “the content of imperialist politics is ‘world domination’ and the continuation of this politics is imperialist war.” Chairman Mao also teaches that “politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.”
As rivalry between the two hegemonic powers sharpens, the danger of war looms larger. The people of all countries must get prepared for this. But the two hegemonic powers are weak in essence, and their strength is on the decline. The world is advancing and the people are awakening. The world’s people, with the Third World countries and people as the main force, in the past year have won one victory after another in their struggle against imperialism, colonialism and hegemonism. Crises-ridden and plagued with difficulties at home and abroad, both superpowers are caught in the plight so aptly described by a Chinese saying: “Flowers fall off, do what one may.” In the circumstances where the struggle of the world’s people against hegemonism is surging forward, the two superpowers are inevitably heading for total collapse in their feverish contention, aggression and expansion.
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