"Every perception is to some degree an act of creation, and every act of memory is to some degree an act of imagination."
-- Gerald Edelman, Second Nature: Brain Science and Human Knowledge
As is classic in all cycles, internal political challenges to Mao’s leadership and ideology arose.As is classic in all cycles, internal political challenges to Mao’s leadership and ideology arose.Chapter 6: The Big Cycle of China and Its Currency2020-10-09Journal
1971 was a year of great change in China. In 1971 the Cultural Revolution was producing great turmoil and Mao’s health continued to decline. That contributed to Zhou Enlai playing an increasing leadership role from the background, which led to him, in 1973, being elected a “vice chairman of the Communist Party,” putting him in the position of appearing to be Mao’s successor. Also in 1971 China was threatened by the Soviet Union, which was militarily much more powerful and shared a 2,500-mile border with China, leading to increasing border threats. In 1975, after the US withdrew from Vietnam, which shares a 900-mile border with southern China, Russia built an alliance with Vietnam and moved in troops and arms. Mao had a geopolitical principle to identify the main enemy, neutralize the enemies’ allies, and draw them away from the enemy. Mao identified the Soviet Union as China’s main enemy and recognized that the Soviets were in a war with the United States that hadn’t yet turned hot but could. That led him to make the strategic move of approaching the US. Henry Kissinger quoted Chinese officials as saying, “The last thing the US imperialists are willing to see is a victory by Soviet revisionists in a Sino-Soviet war, as this would \[allow the Soviets\] to build up a big empire more powerful than the American empire in resources and manpower.”