Handbooks of Research on Contemporary China series
Edited by Carla P. Freeman
Chapter 4: China’s Third World odyssey: changing priorities, continuities, and many contradictions
In a well-known interview in 1946 with the American leftist journalist Anna Louise Strong, Mao Zedong predicted that the developing countries would be the main battleground between East and West. This vast ‘intermediate zone,’ as he called those countries, would be the main setting for United States-Soviet conflict, absorbing both sides’ energies but keeping them from direct confrontation. Mao’s prediction was not entirely accurate inasmuch as serious conflicts occurred in Central Europe fairly regularly in the early Cold War years. By and large, however, Mao was prescient: he understood that African, Middle Eastern, and Latin American countries would become proxies in the East-West contest for political influence and strategic advantage.
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