The hands of the Carter administration are "dripping with blood," according to Peking, which is applying this description to both the superpowers in a wide-ranging onslaught designed to emphasize China's distrust of the United States. Both superpowers, Peking says, are now caught in the net they themselves have cast over the world. But before long "the gravediggers of the bourgeoisie," the international proletariat, "will shake off their chains and win the whole world for themselves."
A re-thinking of China's whole foreign policy, particularly its relationship with the United States and the Soviet Union, is now under way in Peking. The article in the People's Daily from which these quotations come - as long as a small book, with nearly a hundred footnotes - is obviously a key document in the Peking policy debate.
It is reinforced by shorter commentaries, all of which are designed to show why the United States cannot be relied upon as China's ally against the Soviet Union. Soviet forces, Peking says, are "double" those of the United States. Russia has 400 more strategic-weapons carriers than the United States has. The numbers of its conventional weapons are "vastly" greater.
President Carter, Peking notes, speaks of the Soviet Union's "constructive cooperation," while his Secretary of State maintains that Moscow, "like the United States, is seeking a strategic balance." But the Soviet Union "will never be content" with equal status with the United States. Nor could peace be maintained by relying on "equal strength" - which means that, in Peking's view, the U.S. acceptance of parity is an admission of defeat, for Moscow will use the strategic-arms talks as a "smokescreen" to acquire superiority.
If the Soviet Union were to attack Western Europe, "no one knows how the United States would react." Indeed, says Peking, some Washington strategists believe that the United States "should give up Europe to preserve America." The implication is that if Europe cannot rely on the United States in a crunch, then China certainly cannot and must seek its salvation elsewhere.
Peking views Carter's appeasement of the Kremlin as the twin of Chamberlain's deal with Hitler. It sees "the shadow of a new Munich looming ahead." While the Soviet Union employs an "offensive strategy," designed to expand its influence, the United States limits itself to "protecting" its interests. But these are dispersed so widely that it is like "trying to catch 10 fleas with 10 fingers." The Kremlin is "vocally offensive," but Carter "speaks in gentle tones," keeps calling for "restraint," reciprocity, mutual accommodation.
Peking's harshest words are reserved for Marshal Shulman, the State Department's top Soviet adviser, who is said to "trumpet" for more cooperation with Moscow and to oppose U.S. military superiority, "lest it irritate the Soviet Union." Shulman's position is made to look much like Kissinger's advocacy of detente. But Peking also acknowledges that there is some opposition to it, and its "Washingtonologists" reportedly discern it - as do some observers - in the office of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter's foreign-policy adviser.
In Washington, says Peking, "the dispute seems to be going on," but the Chinese leaders don't know what its outcome will be and cannot afford to stake their own future on it. Churchill and de Gaulle, Peking recalls, tried to warn against appeasement, but the appeasers prevailed - and it sees them as prevailing again. The West gave a weakened Germany huge loans under the Dawes and Young plans, which ultimately enabled Hitler to "arm to the teeth." Its policy of "rearing a tiger" was now being repeated.
An economically weak Soviet Union was being given "huge" amounts of capital and advanced technology, so that "Soviet military strength is enhanced." Western capitalists see the Soviet Union as the world's biggest underdeveloped market, "a golden opportunity to make a fortune." But the capitalist thirst for profits prompts a "suicidal policy." Instead of finding the world's largest market, the West "is quenching its thirst with poison."
Did the aid and loans to Germany, Peking asks, help to save the West? It tried to negotiate on disarmament with Hitler, holding one conference after another. Today the pace is even "more hectic," says Peking disdainfully, what with SALT, the talks on force reductions in Europe and the Helsinki-Belgrade conferences. While war is "inevitable," it could be delayed. But the key to postponing it does not lie in talks and agreements, as "some people" - meaning Carter - "preach so vociferously."
The key lies in the united struggle of the world's peoples, from which the Carter administration has obviously excluded the United States by its appeasement. Indeed, since the peoples are called upon to rise against both superpowers, the United States may itself become the target of the struggle. Who, then, can Peking turn to? The debate has focused on several options, which will be considered in a further column.