tv U.S.- China Competition During the Cold War CSPAN June 4, 2017 10:30pm-12:02am EDT
public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> history professor gregg brazinsky discusses the competition between the united states and china to influence newly independent african and asian countries during the cold war. he is the author of "winning the world: sino-american rivalry during the cold war." this 90-minute event was co-hosted by the woodrow wilson center and the national history center. today's seminar featuring gregg is co-sponsored by the woodrow wilson center asterisk program and the institute.
with that, christian will introduce today's speaker. >> thank you. welcome to all of you. they've been patient with us in the past -- running over session. c-span is here. be aware you will be taped. i feel good about giving them a couple minutes extra for set up. we have, for those of you who have been with us for this spring semester, we have had a number of really great presentations and special events. this is one particularly special, special to me, the brazinsky'segg "winning the third world." gregg, as many of you know, is associate professor of history and national affairs at george washington university, really
one of this country's leading historical voices and historians of asia. he is the author of "nation building in south korea." and of course now, "winning the third world." he is really a friend and part of the wilson center family which makes it more special. 2010, 2011 as in a wilson center fellow, the most senior fellowship you can get from the wilson center. he is a senior adviser to two of the programs at the wilson center the history of public , policy programs of north korea documentation project and is also a member of the advisory board. his current work, he is on to
his next project already, it focuses very much to our delight on sino-north korean relations. he is also working on a larger book on nation building in asia. it's a very, very special occasion to have you here, greg, g, to launch your next book. we launched your first one and it is just fantastic to launch this volume. copies of "winning the third world" are available for sale outside for your convenience. afterwards, please join us for small reception over in the room right next-door here. with that, i will turn it over to gregg and into questions and answers, questions and comments from all of you after his presentation. >> thank you for that very generous introduction. it's good to be here the woodrow wilson center.
where i am also known as the former advisor of james person. i want to thank the washington history seminar and the national history center. i also want to thank eric arnesen and christian ostermann for being such good colleagues over the years. i want to thank wrens and family members, in particular my mother and stepfather, for being in the audience today. this book is dedicated to the memory of five people we all knew well. as christian mentioned, i was a visiting fellow here about six years ago. in the interim, whenever i've had that conversation that we in the historical profession inevitably have about what it is you are writing a book about, and i say that i am writing on sino-american competition in the third world, they say -- oh,
you mean like what's going on in africa or the south china sea. when i tell them connection working on the cold war, they look at me with a combination of puzzlement and disappointment. when i was in beijing meeting up with one of my former chinese teachers and i told her about all of the interesting documents and materials i was finding about chinese cold war era foreign policy, she said, you know, i think all of this stuff about the cold war is going to be a very small part of your book. the stuff on the last 10 years is going to be your book. the idea is i should sort of be history ofpre- current sino-american competition. but when i set out to write this book, i really didn't set out to write a pre-history of what is going on in the current times,
in the present, or a pre-history of anything else. i came across this topic the way many scholars come across their topics, by stumbling across what i thought were some interesting primary sources. the first set of primary sources i came across when i was putting together a course on the cold world, andthird this course looked at u.s. policy, soviet policy in the third world. as i was finding primary source documents to give my students about u.s. policy in africa, one of the things i was surprised by was how concerned american policymakers were about chinese activities in africa. in fact, they were often more concerned about what the chinese were doing in africa than they were about what the soviets were doing in africa. i thought, this is interesting, maybe i will write an article
about this some day. i filed it in the back of my mind. and then i came across another even more important set of primary sources. in 2006-2007, i was invited to china for a number of conferences. when i went for these conferences, i do what all cold war historians do when they visit foreign countries. i looked in the archives. this is me in front of the foreign ministry archive . beginning in about the chinese 2004, foreign ministry started to declassify a growing number its cold warabout foreign policy. it declassified them in several batches. the first was from 1949-1954, then there were subsequent batches that covered 1955-59,
and then 60-65. this is me in front of the archive. i know the shorts and shirt don't match that well. live out of your suitcase doing archival research month this is what you end , up with. it was taken about 7:30 in the morning. those of you who know me know how much i hate to be anywhere d at 7:30 in the morning. at the time, the archive only had about nine computers. this was exciting stuff. all of these new materials about chinese cold war foreign policy. and so, a great motivator for getting you to the archives, he and i used to go about 7:30 so we could be there before all the
students flowed in from the provinces. we were there, i thought these documents were interesting. many of them documented china's relations with asia and africa. they have their limitations, but nonetheless, the documents also clearly constituted a significant advance in our knowledge about china's cold war era foreign policy. and i thought these documents really speak to those documents i found when i was putting together my class on the cold war in the third world in interesting ways. i thought that taken together, they told this story about sino-american rivalry, and an enduring and expansive rivalry between china and united states, for influence in the third world during the cold war. i felt these documents would let me get into the topic in ways that scholars have not done so previously.
so this was really how the topic started to come together. but at the same time, i really struggled to figure out what exactly what the theme of this book was going to be. what was at the heart of this competition, what was a really about? i found a very difficult and challenging to write about. was it economic? both countries offered economic aid, but china's policy towards afro-asian countries, a lot of its economic programs didn't serve china's economic interests at all. in fact, chinese economic aid programs often promoted self-sufficiency and autarky. so that wasn't a good answer. was it geo-strategy and national security? this too was obviously a
consideration at some point. but there were also a lot of long activities that the united states and china engaged in in order to prevent each other from gaining influence. so i also realized national interests also had their limitations. their relationship with each other went far beyond national interest. i thought about this and i wrote chapters and re-wrote chapters and threw away chapters. and then i realized some of the stuff i was throwing away was an bad so illy that , picked it back up again. i went back and forth finally, i had an epiphany about this book, one afternoon, when i was parking in the costco parking lot, where all the wealthy
lobbyists are parking their cars. you can see a typical day at the cosco. mercedes, lexus, b.m.w. on the far left. my there in the middle is 2002 toyota corolla. i started feeling some sense of inadequacy at the moment. and i thought, why? would the better cars get me to where i wanted to go faster? with the beltway traffic, probably not. status, a request for status is a fundamental part of the human condition. it influences us. it influences our political leaders. influences our countries. so i started to think, do nations like us think in terms of status when they create their
foreign policy? what i am not claiming is i invented the idea that status is relevant to foreign policy. in fact, there has been a significant political science and theory literature on this. i had seen it. when i saw it, i do what most historians do when they see writings by political scientists. and that is, completely ignore everything the political scientists are saying. but i realized what i found wanting in their definition of status was that it insisted that status meant a position within a formal hierarchy. and this didn't fit china's aspirations. status iner of its the third world and what it aspired to was more like this, comrades. china is central -- it is
admired, glorified, it is important. but there is no formal hierarchy. and china does not command in a any formal reverence. china was a rival of the united states through almost the beginning of the cold war, then in the late 1950's-early 1960's after the sino-soviets what occurred. then it would become engaged in a protracted rivalry with the soviet union as well. but china always claimed that what differentiated itself from its great power rivals in the third world was that it was not seeking formal deference. it was different from the united states or the soviet union. it was not trying to create a formal hierarchy. in this book, i tried to talk about status in terms of how chinese and american officials saw it, rather than how political scientists have seen
it. i draw very loosely on their theory. if you read the book, you will see i am not a political scientist. i don't have the independent and dependent variables and i don't try to operationalize status or do anything crazy like that. why was status important to china? reasons.here were two there were a lot of things bandied about in the media about what motivates china. a lot of it is nonsense. there is one thing i agree with and that is the legacy of national humiliation and it's importance to china and its leaders. once an important actor in international affairs but had been divided, invaded, and robbed of its rightful place in the international arena by the west. chinese leaders, i argue, during the cold war saw the third world
in particular as a region where they could regain their lost status. communion, sense of a sort of special sense of communion with the other victims of imperialism. .ou can still see this today forget national humiliation, revitalize china." this is elementary schoolchildren today for testing a banner with that slogan. this is one reason it was important to china. reason this was important was the center of chinese foreign policy was oh -- always this man. he linked his personal status to the status of the people's republic of china. an insult or slight to him was
an insult to china, and vice versa. often when china made efforts to gain status in the developing world, these efforts were geared not only at raising china's prestige but also at raising the statute of chairman mao as a --xist beer attention tician.ra u.s. like china's its status inrove the third world? not very much. americans, i argue, were generally very competent in americansonfidence -- were generally very confident in their own status. they were the wealthiest and most powerful military in the world at the end of world war ii. but they do not want to see
china, arrival increase its own , status. americans even took an exaggerated view of chinese influence. but i argue the fact that they took this exaggerated view does not -- did not make the competition less important. i think was actually this perception that influenced american policies and led to very expansive and sometimes wasteful american commitments to trying to block chinese influence in the third world. in the book, i look at several different kinds of competition between the united states and china. i will summarize them briefly. in the book itself -- if you really want this in detail, you have to buy it. but what were these forms of competition? one, diplomatic china was a new stage in 1949 -- it was the first inaugurated of course in 1949. for a new state like china, just achieving basic diplomatic
relations with other countries was important. so china actually tries to first just establish basic relations with afro-asian states. the united states does everything it can to prevent it from doing so. china also tried to ultimate -- cultivate a positive impression of itself at major international conferences. these included conferences such as the geneva conference, and perhaps most importantly, the afro-asian conference in 1955. he is speaking before the conference in 1955 where he made a very important performance that really did raise china's standing among a lot of afro-asian countries that didn't
have relations with it before the conference. at these conferences, beijing often represented itself as a peaceful afro-asian nation that had also suffered from imperialism in the past and it tried to create a leadership role for itself among afro-asian countries as a successful example of post-colonial nationbuilding. state visits -- these were also a very important part of chinese diplomacy, sending diplomats abroad. china constantly tried to raise its international profile for -- by sending its africa,tatives to asia, different afro-asian states. famous 1964d the visit to africa which was regarded as a bold and important and also successful trip at the time. what did the united states do in response to this?
the united states did everything possible to undermine chinese diplomacy. it pressured neutral countries not to establish relations with the people's republic of china. and when china participated in conferences such as geneva and bandon, the united dates generally tried to do everything it could to minimize the importance of these conferences and to limit china's role. in fact, there's this famous story about the 1954 geneva conference where he approaches secretary of state john foster dulles, and tries to shake his hand. disses himently and walks briskly past him. there is some debate about whether this actually occurred. isn if it did not occur, it
easy why it took on such powerful emotional and symbolic resonance. another form of competition i write about in this book is cultural competition. cultural competition i powerful emotional and symbolic resonance. argue by its very nature involves itself with presenting a positive image of your state and a negative image of your rival's state to the greatest degree possible. i focus on a lot of different things talking about cultural competition. propaganda -- oruprint propaganda. one thing i found interesting was that they both emphasized each other's treatment of their own ethnic minorities. both china and united states had in very different ways built continental empires that forcefully incorporated different kinds of ethnic minorities.
so what chinese propaganda in asian and african countries often used the civil rights struggle in the united states, which was of course gaining momentum a great deal during the 1950's and 1960's, the chinese propagandists would use this to demonstrate this is how the united states treats its own minorities. how could the united states be trusted by other afro-asian peoples? one of the things that china often did was it invited disenfranchised african-american as w.e.b. du bois who became more radical over time and was already any radical when he went to china. this picture is of him with a high-ranking chinese party official. he visited china when he was
about 90 if you can imagine that. he was taken around to african embassies in china. he basically spoke about how well treated he was in china, and how awful things were for african-americans back in the united states. he even wrote a poem, something like, i praise china. so china really established bonds with a limited number of african-american radicals. it did try to use them for propaganda value in competition with the united states among african and asian countries. how did the u.s. respond to this? it often responded by emphasizing china's treatment of its own minorities, especially workers, muslims, anti-buttons
ibetans.yp beijing's suppression of the 1959 uprising was a gift that kept on giving for american propagandists. the usa arranged for films to be shown in theaters throughout parts of asia and africa. this is actually a somewhat effective strategy. a lot of the regions that the united states and china were competing in in south asia, , southeast asia, africa, where either heavily muslim, or heavily buddhist. this was an important counter dimension. who treats its ethnic minorities worse? this was going on, there was a lot of back and forth on this on radios and newspapers and other media, that the united states used and china used to propagandize in the third world.
this is another kind of competition that i talk about in the book. i call it insurgency and counterinsurgency. i think one of the most important ways that china sought to expand its influence in the third world was through promoting insurgencies. i talk about how china used different strategies for promoting its influence in asia and africa at different times. sometimes it focused more on diplomacy and tried to present an image of itself as a peaceful afro-asian country, sometimes it presented a more revolutionary image of itself, especially after the sino-soviet split, when the chinese want to emphasize they were the more radical, the ones that truly supported revolutionaries, and that moscow didn't. but beijing also hoped mao
zedong's ratings would serve as -- writings would serve as an inspiration to anti-colonial revolutionaries throughout the world, thus making china a more important part of a new postcolonial international order. what's new in this book -- i think people have written before about china's foreign vietnam and china's relationship with ho chi minh, and -- there's good literature on that. i covered that with some new documents that i found in the chinese foreign ministry archive, but i also focus on china's support for revolutionaries in africa, especially the congo, zanzibar, some of the more interesting material that i found. some of the more interesting materials i found were records of conversations between chinese officials and congolese insurgents, who visited china or requested aid from the chinese government. here is where this argument i was mentioning before about how
the united states took an exaggerated view of chinese influence in the here's one of third world, the places where this becomes particularly important. robert mcnamara years later in his memoir talks about how at the time, they took this exaggerated view of chinese influence and how they did not realize that the vietnamese were actually nationalist revolutionaries with their own agenda. that was absolutely correct. he apologized for it of course. it doesn't necessarily justify u.s. policy at the time. but this perception in the united states that maoist doctrine was gaining influence in southeast asia, even throughout the world, played a very important role, not only in america's decision to escalate the war in vietnam, but also in a number of other ventures, such as u.s. support for intervention in the congo, and elsewhere.
a final form of competition that i write about in this book, is economic competition. when i talk about economic competition between the united states and china, the first isestion people ask how could china have possibly , competed with united states economically during the 1950's and 1960's? china was in desperate poverty for part of his time. way forwardhe great had been a horrific failure. during the 1950's and you have 1960's, as many as 40 million people starving to death. so where does china get the money and resources to compete with the united states in terms of economic aid? i argue in the book that china was actually highly strategic aid and also
surprisingly successful. in fact, i would say china's economic aid programs were significantly more successful than its diplomacy and support for revolutions. china focused its paid -- a lot of its paid on poor countries in africa. these are not well understood united states. and where the chinese leave that they were to really have an impact. the idea that they would also be showcases, they would be models. they would show how chinese aid was more selfless and altruistic than american aid or soviet aid. this would in turn, ultimately create a model of economic cooperation -- both
sino african cooperation and south south economic cooperation. that other countries would seek to emulate. when china implemented it aid project, it tried to assure that they look different from american and soviet a project. -- aid projects. they had a different symbolic geography. how did they look different? one of the things that the chinese always insisted on and they became known for in africa was that chinese technicians were expected to adopt to local living conditions. they couldn't demand imported luxuries. part of it was because china wasn't in a position to send over air-conditioners and refrigerators in the first place. nonetheless, china was saying
look how our technicians live and work in the old -- fields beside africans. i praise the chinese just for this. it enabled some people on the ground to proceed the chinese as brethren. the obvious criticism is are you getting this from chinese sources? the cia also said it. if you look at cia document about chinese foreign-policy, they actually say that chinese aid programs were successful.
can say there is some element of truth to this. design --project for they argued this was in contrast to u.s. aid projects which frequently forced countries to contract with american firms or by american goods. the most famous of these projects, i won't talk in great detail about specific chinese aid projects. if you want something that is free for more detail, i published a paper here at the wilson center about chinese aid.
if you want something really specific, you can go to the international history project. the most famous of the chinese aid projects worthy trans am railway which created a land like between zambia -- this was the kind of a project that china wanted to be involved in. they desperately wanted it so china understood this as an opportunity to step in and expand its influence. the united states understood what china was attempting to achieve through these aid projects surprisingly well. interestingly, what i found was that sometimes the united states tried very specifically with its own aid projects to not counted economic impact of china's aid but to capture the political
impact of chinese aid. for instance, when china built the trans-am railway, the united states try to build the great north road as a market based capitalist alternative to the more state driven trans am railway. these are the kind of competitions i highlight. who won? in reality, neither side one. in many ways, both sides lost. i think china's revolutionary model of nationbuilding did have some genuine appeal to nationalists in newly independent countries. at the same time even though china had this appeal, china never gained the status that it
craved. as a leader among afro-asian countries. part of this was because the afro-asian world where china was seeking to expand its prestige was actually far less of a unified thing than china and other people made it out to be. china saw to bring afro-asian countries together under anti-colonial nationalism and revolution. it often oversupplied and misunderstood the motives of leaders in the region for espousing solidarity. afro-asian leaders often shifted their views and strategies. you also have political chaos sometimes in afro-asian countries. they would cultivate one leader and then they would be overthrown. some countries were interested
in trying to play the great powers against each other in order to pursue their own interests and next their own independence and autonomy. another reason that china did not gain the status that it craved is that china was its own worst enemy. china's revolutionary zeal was a double-edged sword and a mixed blessing. in other instances, it also led to an overzealous defensiveness on the part of china that alienated many of the countries and the leaders whose loyalty china was seeking. i point to several examples of this in the book. one was beijing's failed effort to present an afro-asian conference. the idea was that in 1964, and
1965, china started advocating for a second afro-asian conference to be held. the idea is that it would be a 10 year follow-up to the 1955 conference bringing together afro-asian countries again. china not only advocated for the conference but it also tried very hard to control the tone and the agenda of the conference. it tried to insist that the conference's platform strongly denounced both american imperialism and soviet revisionism. the problem was that there were many afro-asian countries were open to having a conference but they didn't want to involve themselves in china's feuds with the soviet union. the second afro-asian conference turned into a giant boondoggle.
what happens is the president of algeria was overthrown days before the conference was supposed to begin. china tried to insist that the conference continue as planned and it work with the new algerian government to try to assure this. other afro-asian countries were starting to become deeply ambivalent about the whole enterprise. it ended up being a disaster. china have been too strongly consistent that the conference needed to follow its agenda. at the same time, i also argue that beijing's failings in the third world were nothing for the united states to congratulate itself about. they were rarely, if ever because of anything united states did. in many instances, washington devoted significant resources to
the struggle against chinese influence. it put pressure on other afro-asian leaders to stem and block chinese influence. often, this only made the united states look more and more willing. i argue that american interests were ultimately ill-served by the competitive and at times paranoid mindset with which american officials approached chinese influence. i started off by saying that current sino-american rivalry did not influence the genesis of this book. that doesn't mean i think the policy community should ignore this book. i think the lessons of this book very much before themselves.
i think the lessons should be -- it should in many ways be sobering to leaders of both china and the united states who call for ratcheting up confrontation over different issues whether it is north korea, competition in africa or the south china sea. i think we're seeing competition between the united states and china reemerge. it has reemerged in many of the same regions where the two competed so vociferously in the cold war. i argue this is not really a case of history repeating itself but more so as mark twain is reputed to have said, history rhymes. some parallels are that as with
cold war, asia and africa remain critical and central to china's effort to reinvent its position in world affairs. "a formal conference to launch this one vote initiative which will link china to asia, africa and some parts of europe through massive investments in infrastructure and efforts to increase trade. i think that asian and african countries, china remains convinced that it has something to offer them. chinese officials don't like to say things that overtly but you hear chinese scholars and intellectuals bringing up these points. the american response is more measured but there are still often exaggerated reports for responses.
before 2016, you had instances of overreactions. in 2010, johnny cochran, the assistant secretary of state for african affairs at the time called the prc a pernicious competitor with no morals. the problem is that wikileaks got a hold of this document. it is one that is pretty easy to find nowadays. it damaged sino-american relations. i would say that in the future, there is inevitably going to be some forms of competition between the united states and china. we compete with everybody in some ways, even our allies.
there is always going to be some form of competition. with china, there is simply going to be areas where our strategic and economic expense are not aligned. there will be competition for influence. i also think that it is important that we not let the competition and rivalry dominate our relationship again. it is important to remember that competition between the united states and china solved a few if any of the problems of new independent afro-asian places in the cold war. the competition between the united states and china and the great power rivalry actually left many afro-asian states worse off than they would have been without it.
similarly, i don't think for new competition this going to contribute to the solutions of the most important issues that confront the world in the 21st century. the interests of both the united states and china will be better served if they can find better ways to cooperate and balance out any competition. i think this is the only way we can resolve and try to fix pressing problems such as nonproliferation, global warming and global poverty. i think that ultimately, through increasing sino u.s. cooperation in some of these areas you can also add, simultaneously, increase the status of china and united states for a long time to come.
i will end there and be open to taking questions. thank you. [applause] >> thank you for this distillation of some of your core arguments and themes of the book. we will have time for questions and comments on your part. if you could wait for the microphone, especially today since we are on camera, once we call on you, please state your name and affiliation if you like. let me start off the discussion with a couple of questions. first, start off by talking about the fantastic new sources that became available in the early 2000's. many of you are aware that those
archives are closed. they are no longer accessible to researchers. i should say that greg has been enourmously generous about sharing the documents. we're hoping for better access in the beijing foreign ministry archives. the heart was central to this. the party archives still remain closed. to what extent does that limit your findings here and maybe as a site menu there, did you consult soviet sources that would give you a third view of the competition?
>> second question, this book is about sino-american competition, i understand that. i was surprised that the other competition in the cold war, one that is fundamental to the cold war -- could you bring that into the narrative of your narrative? it occurred to me, one of the reasons why american policy and lots of places around the world, including vietnam, the reason they have had tremendous difficulties is for our lack of understanding -- to what extent do you give china
a positive review of the third world? to what extent was that based on a greater cultural and economic policy as a compared to other powers? >> thank you very much. those are three very important and interesting questions. in terms of materials, you always want more materials. there is never a historian that doesn't want more material. i was limited. i talk about this in the introduction. there are limits to what could be done with the foreign ministry archive. one of the things i talk about is chinese support for insurgencies and bit him. -- in vietnam. this is not the party archives but perhaps the pla archives. there are many archives in china
that are still not accessible. there is a lot of material in the united states. there are many times when i went follow request or mandatory declassification reviews and i get the document after two years and you think they are keeping this a secret? obviously, i would also say that this is not going to be the last word on the topic. i definitely hope that someday, when the party archives open, you will get more detail. i think the foreign ministry archives were strong on a lot of points. one is that you had records of meetings between chinese statesman and asian and african statesman. this is very important. you had the foreign ministry's analysis of these meetings, sometimes you also have commentary on this -- you can
also make an argument that one of the things this document shows is the centrality -- in some ways the procedural aspects. i should also say that i did make efforts to use other source materials, i didn't visit that many other countries. first, there is published sources, published indian sources. if you have that, you really don't need to go to the indian national archives, they are not that useful. i did use a small number of translated soviet sources, some of which i got from the cold war international history project.
i tried to use as many international sources as possible. i couldn't go to every single country. i couldn't learn every single language you would need to do this. no one can do this. if someone can, i will proudly admit and acknowledge that they are far superior to me. i think learning mandarin is hard enough. i also speak korean. i am not too apologetic that i didn't use every international source. i do hope that other scholars that can speak indonesian and are experts on africa and have the knowledge and ability to go to those countries and get into the archives will. i actually think that might book
stimulated some of this in china. i have seen more and more chinese graduate students saying that can we have the chinese archives? i am here so i will also go to africa. i will also go to southeast asia. i don't think it is completely my doing. i think there is very good chinese scholars who are encouraging this. i do hope the book will encourage more of this kind of research. you mentioned the sino-soviet competition. we talk about it in the book. i talk about the relationship between sino-soviet bribery and sino-american rivalry. china and the soviet union are relatively close. what happens is, i intimated this, after the split, china starts to support revolutionaries in the third
world, even more strongly, if it wants to convince other afro asian countries that china is a real friend of liberation movements and a soviet union isn't, the soviets were more cautious. my argument is that this actually made the sino u.s. rivalry even more intense. americans could realize there was this increase in medicalization of china -- chinese foreign-policy and also that the chinese couldn't be controlled as much. as much as foreign-policy makers were suspicious of the soviet union, they felt they could at least deal with them, there were normal relations. china was a wildcard to the united states. i argue that during the 1960's, this sino u.s. rivalry intensified. it is an important point where i
think too many american policymakers, chinese activities in southeast asian and africa -- is an effort to become more worrisome than soviet activist. i didn't talk about that today but there is a chapter on it in my book. there was limited talk between the united states and the soviet union. it never happened there is limited discussion of this. until of course, nixon and carter were -- it is actually the u.s. and china cooperating against the soviets. how will the china understand is countries? i create a generally positive image.
understanding of cambodia or vietnam. some of the conversations with african revolutionaries are actually quite funny. you can see that the chinese didn't know who these guys were and what they were asking for. a lot of times, you are revolutionary and they bring them to china. sometimes they would say yes, we support this. they realized this is how you get chinese aid. that also goes to a point that i was making about the u.s. exaggerating chinese influence. not always understanding that
just because somebody went to china or received a from china it meant they were absolutely committed to spreading this throughout the third world. thank you very much, those were good questions. >> this has to do with the extent of self-awareness on both sides. by the 1950's, the united states was at least aware that the racial problems that you talked about in the book were not exactly helping it. they were trying to massage or at least manipulate the message. they knew they had a weak spot. they had to spin this in some form or fashion. is there any sense that the
chinese were self-aware of the practices or policies they engaged in hurting themselves? you mentioned in the book, the war with india in the early 90 60's, the treatment of tibet, i assume they don't advertise. as you approach third world leaders or would be leaders, are they aware that they are should themselves in the foot or at least engaging in practices that may not help them achieve their purpose? >> actually. i think the chinese certainly realize that the events in tibet were a problem. there is part of the book where they say they would go around to different afro asian countries, especially nepal and indonesia and he would say look, this whole problem, what is the cause? it is colonialism.
it is a legacy of colonialism. that is how they would try to massage this issue. they would say we were victims of colonialism. your victims of colonialism. you should understand that colonialism. there's a lot of chinese propaganda, more simple propaganda that tried to taper over the problem. a lot of chinese magazines saying that you still see this today in china. the tibetans were -- the dalai lama instituted a slave system. china had liberated the slaves. in fact, one time, i was in china watching television because i had nothing better to do. i saw one chinese policymakers saying that mao zedong ended slavery into that.
china had very specific arguments that they made about the issue, not everybody bought it. i think this was one of the more effective dimensions of u.s. diplomacy. i do believe the chinese were very much aware that this was creating an issue for them. >> let's take more questions. >> the gentleman over here, on the right side. >> i am a public policy fellow here. >> i don't speak mandarin.
i wonder if this and 14,000 chinese railroads. every mile of track. i wonder if the collapse of that which happened as many as later was a big setback for the chinese, do they feel they had blown it or do they let her go? >> i would say this is an interesting point. a lot of chinese a projects that were built in the 60's and 70's, they are not that successful. they build a lot of textile mills. 10 years later, they were not running at anything close to operational capacity. the plantations i talk about, the one in this working paper is how they were eventually abandoned and the chinese returned to them 20 years later. they were all covered with snakes and rodents. there is this problem that they collapsed. a lot of the projects don't work out in the long-term. it is a very complicated thing. why?
they are all of these turns in african policies at times. they were sympathetic to china, for instance, in mali, the government was -- we were very close to china, he got overthrown in 68. this changed that fundamental closeness between the two countries. it didn't destroy the relationship. then there is also the changing nature of china's on diplomacy toward africa. some of the same rhetoric is still used today, mutual benefits, it would all be mutually beneficial, interest-free loans, you see some of this going on and a lot of the times, what china has done in the 80's and 90's is it
actually went back and tried to revitalize some of the project it set up in the 60's that have faltered in the 70's. sometimes, it was successful. sometimes it was not. i think in terms of the long-term economic impact, it was mostly the 50's and 60's and early 70's, the long-term economic impact was limited. you're not going to get 10% economic growth the way the united states was getting in places like south korea or taiwan. there were also a lot of internal dynamics in the african countries. it inhibited growth. i think the fact that these economic aid projects didn't produce long-term prosperity in
africa, i'll think the chinese completely got the blame for it. i think some africans became completely disillusioned with aid. i have one quote that i found in the book, i think i found it in the new york times. there was the story going around, the chinese will supply the labor, the soviets will supply the technicians and the u.s. will supply the capital and the guineans will make sure that none of it works. you have a lot of stories like that as well. countries are becoming general disillusioned with economic aid. not necessarily saying this is because china was bad. at the time, they serve the political purpose fairly well.
>> the gentleman all the way in the back, before i had your question, just a note for those of you not familiar with the working paper, you can access that paper corporate at the cultural international history project. many of the documents, some of them and many others are on our digital archives at digital archive.org. both free to access and to download. >> i'm at the east-west center doing the work on chinese aid. i look at your blog yesterday, it is fantastic. there is an area at the chinese relationship that fascinates me. it is not covered very much. one is west. the history of the cold war talks about the soviet national plan for china. it is a massive investment.
if you look at the days, a talk about one of the reasons for the big breakup between china and the soviet union. the soviet union was bleeding china drive. soviet laws were five-year loans. they were repayable in short term. i haven't read much about the chinese being bled dry by the soviets in the late 50's and early 60's. it is a bit outside the scope of your book. >> i was say that in their interesting source on soviet aid to china, what caused the collapse of this relationship at the economic level is another book in the same series as mine
by austin jesuit. i forgot what it is called. it deals with the sino-soviet split. what is interesting in his book. he deals with -- not only does question of the soviet leaving the chinese drive, it also has a lot to do with how the soviets were implementing there a projects on the ground. i like his interpretation in part because it just more closely with mine. a lot of what he is saying in the book is the soviets were sometimes imperious and arrogant and how the infamous a decade project. i don't think this is the only
point he makes but i think it is something that comes across in his book. these relations within a project and how the soviets and to the chinese, this is in some ways a cause of nationalist resentment. i think that gels with status and prestige. how easy it was for new china to feel slighted. i put a heavy emphasis on that. i think the economic dimensions make it hard to parse that out. it is hard to get very good economic data on it. you have what the chinese were claiming and what the soviets were claiming. i'll think the record is very complete on that issue.
>> a colleague of greg's at george washington university, hope harrison, thank you, it was a wonderful book talk. our students are lucky to have you as a lecturer and i'm looking forward to reading the book. i too am going to ask -- my question comes from the soviet angle, it is ultimately about china. listening to it, it is so similar to the story of the soviets. wanted to be seen as a post as with the u.s.. you could say that about russia now. this is an old story. it is the underdog, they're frustrated. they wanted to be seen more as an equal for the power the team to beat the world number one. there were moments in my
research on the soviet side of the cold war where they would step back from doing risky things with allies that might have antagonized the u.s.. that moment when soviet u.s. relations were getting better, they were having negotiations. the soviets would sometimes be more careful. did you find that in chinese documents -- i know you stopped the book in the early 70's. as you get to the early 70's, did you see some evidence of them pulling back a little bit in any of these activities in
the third world? they felt the bigger thing was relations with the u.s. or not? >> i would say that that is a very good question. i think what you say about the soviets doesn't surprise me. i think i have written a little bit about status. it has been very emphasized in diplomatic history. the china ever pull back in its relation with the third world? i think intended not to pull back. it did change its tone. that was moments where it believes that it could enhance its status if it changed its tone. after the korean war, china really want to be seen as a peaceful neighbor among other asian and african countries. a lot of the rhetoric shifted. all the time and support for slightly different discourse on how china was going to be a peaceful neighbor and short china was open to piece from the united states. this did work in ways because they were right.
the united states was trying to isolate the united states and convince people that all of the talk about wanted to pursue peace was a centrifuge. during the 70's, i think one of the arguments i make in the book is that nixon, -- i think i come across as being surprisingly pro- ex-kissinger in this book. it was not my intention. i think that opening china was a very important moment that changed the world. i think what nixon understood was the importance of status to china in a way that his predecessors did not. when he reached out to china he really found ways that china could seek rapprochement with the united states while
retaining their status. they are interesting -- the chinese would make these strong pro-afro-asian anti-imperialist statements in the united nations. kissinger would say yes, we realize you have to do that. you need to maintain your credibility in the third world. kissinger actually want china to maintain their credibility in the third world at this point. they think it could be useful against the soviet union. it is a complicated dynamic.
they are always central to chinese foreign-policy. there was a changing and moderating of its tone. >> there is one dimension -- >> i do islamic history. i spent a bunch of time in sudan in the early 60's. it was one of the countries that had recognized the people's republic. it had a very small embassy. one of the things that i found interesting was that sudan had a dirt well organized, very influential communist party. the chinese embassy people
seemed to have no interest at all in working with the local communist party. it really wasn't particularly pro-soviet. my question is -- >> i think that is a good question. i am sure your recollections would be very fascinating to hear more about. let me say, this is the. there. one of the reasons that china kept a relatively hands-off
attitude toward the communist parties was because it was very genuinely interested in trying to build trust. a lot of these countries, especially ones in the middle east and the arab world and africa, and the established relationship with china, what is china going to do, it is going to -- they were revolutionary. china, at the time was trying to say to these countries we are going to overthrow your government, we are just interested in peaceful, normal relations. this was an important aspect. during the 60's, it's policy shifts a little bit and it becomes -- it takes a more favorable attitude toward some. not all.
they gave complete support to the communist party. if you might have normal diplomatic relations where you could compete, i don't know if china was very competitive with the united states in terms of its overall influence in sudan, it was a country that wanted to have normal relations. it wanted to have some semblance of influence where it -- i think there are a few chinese cultural programs that were carried out in sudan. i think it does want to do those kind of things. that is more important than party to party relations. >> we are quickly running out of
time, let's take a few questions. >> the gentleman on the gray jacket. >> when it is paul. i'm currently at gw. >> did this competition extend to latin america? >> you had a question? you raise your hand? >> i am from the university of maryland. i just got an email from a i just got an email from a colleague in namibia. you're talking about africa telling me about an article in the new york times. i knew that when i was there,
the question is where they there in the. you studied and the issue is that the chinese do not use local labor. they bring in the labor from china and that has caused resentment. was that going on when you were there? >> there are two gentlemen here. >> thank you. first a question about the ideas. i think that maybe for african countries, this relationship is
anti-imperialist. the chinese are not interested to establish class or relationships. i think it might be different. facing the challenge would be the big problem for the situation in asia. there are lots of students here. >> you can pass your microphone down to the gentleman. >> i saw some of the similar posters. i wonder if the for your
research and the foreign ministry archive, did you ever check with the library of congress? the change of tones in the chinese propaganda are anti-american and imperialism. did you ever see any foreign ministry's archives? what are the slogans? >> the final question goes to the gentleman over here. >> i'm an asian pacific strategist. it seems this is a current reaction to tiananmen.
could you contrast that? >> very challenging, i will do my best. latin america, china was very interested in latin america, i tried to focus my book not just on where china was interested in or where it carried out initiatives but where the u.s. also saw china as a threat. it was only in areas where there was competition that i focused on. i don't think there was really competition between the u.s. and china and latin america, at least during the. i'm talking about. the u.s. was much more concerned about fidel castro and the soviets in latin america. the example about namibia, this issue about china bringing its own labor, i think that is something that has become more
and more of a problem in contemporary chinese projects than it was in the 60's. i think during the 60's, you are right, indicates the case of the tanzania railway, there was thousands of chinese workers that were sent. i think there is also some appreciation in ways that these workers were toughing it out in africa. the reaction was a little bit more mixed. i would say that if you like at the range of african opinions about china and chinese aid in africa, today, they are very diverse. there are some african leaders denouncing china and saying it is no different from the imperialists, the others are praising china and it really is a model that is different from the west and it is a country we
can trust. i think that is also an issue. i think there is a really complex range of attitudes toward china and africa. there is some good writing about this. the point is that china was arrogant and how it treated other countries in asia, especially southeast asia and korea. what i argue in this book is that it is not that china completely abandons this idea of itself as a middle kingdom, it was to be respected and admired and emulated and yes, even looked at as a big brother. the difference is that there is no formal difference. they are not going back to the old tributary relationship with north korea or north vietnam. especially at the time, north koreans were very sensitive. they had this notion of saturday, serving the great. the chinese were generally aware of it.
it is complicated. there are times where you read things that they said and he seems to want to lord it over his allies in asia. there is also other instances. this is one of the things i'm working on now in my work on china and north korea. i'm actually arguing that a sign of north korean relations were a lot that are an closer than many historians have made them out to be. the conflict between the two has been overstated. you will have to wait another six or seven years for that one. african students in china, that is another important part. i don't deal that much with african student in china or the united states. there are some memoirs by
africans who studied in china. i didn't find a whole lot in the chinese archives, that is a reason why i don't talk too much about that in my book. it depends what kind of student, there were some students going to chinese universities. there were some african pod racers were tending parties close. i think that bob, one of the leaders in the zanzibar revolution had studied for a time in china, i deal with figures like that in the book. i think this is something that it's to be explored further. there are probably some materials in african students in china. if you really dig into the provincial archives i got into the foreign minister archives easily. some provincial archives are in
china but there are some that are very hard, even if you are a chinese citizen, they are hard. for an american scholar, they are especially hard. i think there are things that are for people who can get into some of the archives that i had trouble with. that is definitely a topic that you can do more with. the last question about posters and signs, the chinese foreign ministry archive does have a lot of pictures, they don't have a lot of propaganda posters. there is actually a propaganda museum in shanghai that has a lot of these propaganda posters if that is what you're looking for. they do have pictures, they actually wouldn't let me use any of the pictures in my book. i asked them for permission and they said sorry, of course,
christian was mentioning that the last time i went to china should do research in the foreign ministry archive was 2012. then, 2013, the archives really started tightening and they started restricting control, reclassifying a lot of the documents they had declassified. i did the research until 2012. i spent a couple of years figuring out what i was saying. by the time the book was in press, they were our british saying pictures, no way, you can't even see the documents anymore. i don't think they ever had a lot of posters, it was more photos of visiting different places. >> unfortunately, on that note, we have to draw this to a close. we could have gone on all night. the book is available for purchase and signing outside of these doors. please join us for a reception next store sponsored by the university of north carolina press. the publisher of the book.
american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. announcer: next, on american history tv, a historian talks about james monroe's life. we will hear about his revolutionary war service, his work as a lawyer, his path to the presidency and the monroe doctrine that covers his name. he is the director of the james monroe museum and memorial library. this is a 45 minute event that was hosted in leesburg, virginia. it was part of a symposium of a bicentennial commemoration and reflection of james monroe's migration. >> our first speaker is scott harris, the director of the james monroe museum and memorial