The Sovjet UnionThe Soviet Union is also a Pacific power. Like the others, it faces difficult adjustments in its Asian policy of great importance for the future stability of the area. The U.S.S.R.'s attitude toward Asia is dominated by two concerns. There is a tactical desire to limit our influence, and increase her own, among the non-Communist states of Asia. Of much greater importance, however, the U.S.S.R. has a vital strategic desire to secure herself and her territories against a China whose current enmity and potential growth make serious, indeed, the possibility of a future policy of irredentism.
The Soviet Union wishes to see our influence diminished, and yet fears that diminution as enhancing the possibility of expanded Chinese influence. At the same time, it has to consider that a lesser American influence could contribute to a normalization of relations between ourselves and Mainland China, and might permit and encourage a focus of Chinese energies not possible under the present realities.
There need be, in all this, no irreconcilable conflict between Soviet interests in Asia and our own. We intend, in our actions, to keep Soviet concerns in mind without letting them dominate our course We seek a stable and peaceful Asia, and there is no necessity in that concept for a clash between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
In Asia, in the coming years, we will need great flexibility. The policies of the Asian states, both great and small, are now in an historic process of adjustment. As their decisions are made we will need to adjust our policies to them, not only with flexibility but with virtuosity. And flexibility is not always the strongest virtue of a system dependent upon public participation for its sanction and continuity We must meet this challenge, for otherwise our policies will be forced into a rigidity ill-adapted to the problems we will face in the changing Asia of the 1970s.