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Balance of Power in the World in 1975 as Decided by United States and China

Updated on December 13, 2014

The United States allied with China and decided the fate of the world, particularly in 1975

The superpowers in 1975 were the United States, Soviet Union, and People’s Republic of China. These three spelled the balance of power in the world, particularly in that year.

This discussion is focused on how superpowers decide the fate of the world. To demonstrate this phenomenon, year 1975 is chosen.


Power is the ability to attain objectives. It is a quantitative concept. Power consists of naked power, persuasive power, executive power, economic power and priestly power (Russell, B. Power).

Naked power is the use of force, like that applied by the United States on Japan in WWII, including atomic bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It is applied by a dictator on his people. Naked power was used in invading Iraq. Notwithstanding the absence of biological weapons he allegedly stockpiled in his arsenal, Saddam was captured and hanged by the United States.

Persuasive power is the use of information (whether true or false), and arguments (whether valid or invalid). For example, President George W. Bush persuaded the United States to go to war against Iraq on the basis that Saddam had stockpiles of biological weapons he can use to threaten and subdue other countries. It turned out that that piece of information was false. Even America’s top reporter Bob Woodward believed Bush on Saddam’s biological weapons.

Executive power is used by the president when he issues executive orders, like US Pres. Johnson reversing Executive Order 11110 issued by Pres. Kennedy authorizing the Treasury to mint coins.

Economic power uses moneys, and pieces of property (including slaves).

Priestly power uses faith as done by the pope (Catholics) and the supreme bishop of the Church of England (Protestants), the king of England. This power is not dealing with incantations’ or ceremonies only, but uses force, like the pope launching nine crusades against the Muslims in five centuries. One crusade was comprised of virgin boys; being virgins they could not be harmed the pope said. They were slaughtered by the Muslim defenders of Jerusalem. In England, the Catholics (with support from the French) and the Protestants engaged in wars.The Catholic church considered Joan of Arc as a witch because, for one, she did not grow hair in her reproductive organ. She was burned at the stakes. Later on Joan was canonized as a saint.

Fate of the world decided by Allied Powers

An example of the fate of the word being decided by an alliance was that done by the Big Three in WWII. The Big Three then were United States, Great Britain and Russia. Early on, it was only the Great Britain and the US making decisions on the war effort against the Axis powers consisting of Japan, Italy and Hitler’s Germany. In February 1945, Russia joined in decision-making: Russia lead by Joseph Stalin, Great Britain lead by Winston Churchill and the US lead by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Other countries followed the lead of these countries: France, Canada, Australia, followed the lead of Great Britain, China (under Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek) followed the lead of US; Yugoslavia, Hungary, Bulgaria and more followed the lead of Russia. Spain and Switzerland that stayed neutral during the war were left alone. The one-square-mile territory given by Benito Mussolini, former Fascist dictator of Italy, to the Vatican to get the support of the Catholic Church was not touched.

The Big Three made decisions for the world, some secret. Conquered countries will be governed by four powers under a trusteeship of some years. Berlin, Germany will be administered by the US, France, Great Britain and Russia. Lesser countries will amend their constitutions to allow great powers to exploit their natural resources and engage in retailing. Some secrets were: Russia will enter the war against Japan. Russia will take back Manchuria (Roosevelt forgetting that Manchuria is part of China). Russia will have three votes in the United Nations yet to be organized; other countries including the US, Great Britain and France will have only one vote each (Kolko, J. and G. Kolko. The Limits of Power. 1972). Poland whose neutrality was breached by Hitler will be occupied by Russia instead of being allowed to restore its neutrality.

The Philippines that gained independence from USA in 1946 immediately amended its constitution (installed in 1935 when it attained the status of commonwealth) to allow the US to exploit its natural resources and engage in retail business. These were called Platt amendments to which Filipinos objected to no avail (Agoncillo. T. A. A History of the Filipino People. 1990).

These decisions were made whether the affected countries were represented in the decision-making or not, whether they agreed or not. These decisions were implemented. As secretly agreed upon, Russia landed an army in Korea whose consequence is the present Korea problem. I have three Hubs on Korea, like “History of the development of the Korea problem.”

So, whether lesser countries participate or not; whether they agree or not, superpowers make decisions for them, particularly the balance of power in the world.

Balance of power in 1975

The following are excerpts of a meeting between Mao Tse-Tung (Chairman of China) and Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State of the US. Presentation here followed the progress of the talks. Some remarks not related to balance of power were omitted. Backgrounders are in brackets. This meeting took place in Mao's residence in Beijing, China on October 21,1975. These talks were top secret.

At that time, Gerald Ford was already the US president, appointed in place of Pres. Nixon who resigned over the Watergate scandal.

Kissinger: “Thank you. The President is looking forward very much to visit China and the opportunity to meet the Chairman.”

Mao: “He will be very welcome.”

Kissinger: “We attach very great significance to our relationship with the People’s Republic.”

Mao: “There is some significance, not so very great.”

Mao indicated that the US was big and, gesturing with his hands, China is like the smallest finger. “Because you have the atom bombs, and we don’t.”

Mao and Kissinger were agreed that “military power is not the only decisive factor.” Other factors like millet also matter.

[Both did not mention population. China with over a billion population is superior over all other nations now that it has bombs and blue-water navy.]

Kissinger: “And we have some common opponents.”

Mao: “Yes.”

Mao made a remark that the US has nothing to ask China and China has nothing to ask the US. The small issue is Taiwan where American forces are still deployed and the big issue is the world.

Mao: “…If neither side had anything to ask from the other, why would you be coming to Beijing, and why would we want to receive you and the President?”

Kissinger: “We come to Beijing because we have a common opponent and because we think your perception of the world situation is the clearest of any country we deal with and with which we agree on some …many points.”

Mao and Kissinger quarreled on priorities. Mao said that the priority of the US is the Soviet Union, second was Europe and third was Japan.

Kissinger: "We quarrel. The Soviet Union is a great danger for us, but not a high priority."

Mao said he considered the US and Soviet Union as the only two superpowers in the world. China is only the small finger. He ranked superpowers as follows: United States, Soviet Union, Europe, Japan and China. Mao claimed the US is trying to jump to Russia on the shoulders of China.

Kissinger said the US has nothing to gain in Moscow. Mao said the US gains Taiwan from China. Kissinger replied that this issue will be settled. Mao said Taiwan might be worth fighting for even if it would take100 years; when the counter revolutionaries there will have been gone. He said the Taiwan issue will be settled peacefully. By that time all of us in this meeting will be gone, Mao said. At this meeting Mao was 82 years old and Kissinger was 52 years old. Also in attendance was George H. W. Bush, ambassador to China, who later on became US president.

Kissinger: “Because the Soviet Union is a superpower it is inevitable that it has much priority….But in terms of strategy we are trying to contain Soviet expansionism, and that is why in strategy China has priority for us. But we don’t want to use China to jump to Moscow because that would be suicidal.”

Mao: “You’ve already jumped there, but you no longer need our shoulders. “

Kissinger: “We haven’t jumped there. It’s a tactical phase which the President will also affirm to you.

Mao asked Kissinger to convey his greetings to the President. Kissinger replied that he will.

Mao: “We welcome his visit….”

[It was obvious now that Mao and Kissinger were agreed on the alliance between the US and China. Without much ado they proceeded to dissect the balance of power in the world.]

Mao: “Europe is too soft now.”

Kissinger agreed to this assessment. Mao said Europe is afraid of the Soviet Union. Kissinger said Europe is afraid of the Soviet Union and Europe's domestic affairs.

Mao: “Japan is seeking hegemony.”

Kissinger: “Japan is not yet ready to seek hegemony…”

Kissinger said Japan has the potential to seek hegemony. Mao agreed to this assessment. Mao said Europe is too scattered. Mao and Kissinger were agreed that Europe must be stronger. Mao said France is afraid of Germany and is apprehensive of a unification of the West and East Germany. Kissinger added that France wants Germany to be divided. Mao and Kissinger preferred a unification that is not dangerous at that time. The US supports such unification that the Soviet Union would want to deter militarily, Kissinger added.

Mao: “We agree on that, you and we.”

Kissinger said that before West and East Germany can unify the Soviet Union should be weakened.

Mao: “Without a fight the Soviet Union cannot be weakened.”

Kissinger: “Yes, but it is important to pick the right moment….”

The Watergate scandal that caused Nixon’s resignation forced the US to maneuver, Kissinger said. Mao and Kissinger did not agree on coordinating maneuvers. Kissinger added that Nixon was a good president. Mao nodded and asked Kissinger to convey his regards to Nixon.

They talked on minor strategies like Dunkirk. Kissinger said the US will not adopt it; Mao said China may adopt it.

They sidetracked to pedestrian matters like the Soviet Union calling Mao a “warlord” and “bureaucrat;” the US conferring him the title of “warmonger” and “aggressor.” I like these titles, Mao said in good banter.

[The Iron Curtain, as Churchill called it, was in fact weakened starting in late 1980s. Then Pres. Mikhail Gorbachev allowed freedom of the press or glasnost. Russian history was reexamined and past rulers were criticized; only Lenin was spared.]

[East Germany and West Germany were reunified on Oct. 3, 1990.(Internet. January 1,2013).]

["The presidents of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus met in the Belovezh Forest in Belarus on December 8, 1991. Their so-called Belavezha Accords put an end to the USSR, replacing it with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)...". (Internet. January 1,2013). With the breakup of the USSR came the end of the Cold War.]

President Ford visited China. He met with Mao on his first day.

“After small talk, the discussion turned into a detailed review of the international scene, ranging from the prospects for post-Franco Spain and the Middle East to the problem of Japan and the Angolan situation.”

Beyond 1975

It looks like a matter of speculation to say that the weakening of the Soviet Union starting in 1980s and unification of Germany in 1990 were a result of the talks between Mao and Kissinger in 1975. The talks could have triggered these developments or these developments could have had their own fuses. We can say that Gorbachev crippled one major post of the superstructure of the Soviet Union to ignite its implosion. That post is muzzled press. When Gorbachev promoted glasnost the superstructure crumbled.

What about Gorbachev as an individual? He resigned his post when the Belavezha Accords was promulgated. Was he a man who put the welfare of his constituents over his own or an agent of some bigger force? He used his power to put himself out of power. That reminds us of Nikita Khrushchev who at the height of his powers as premier of Russia was ousted shortly after a prominent internationalist visited USSR.

To repeat, the break up of USSR put an end to the Cold War. A promise of peace on earth dawned. That promise might not have delivered as expected (like in Korea) but at least one major source of stress for the individual citizen of this planet is gone.


1. Agoncillo. T. A. A History of the Filipino People. 1990.

2. Burr, W. Editor. The Kissinger Transcripts. 1999:389-402.

3. Kolko, J. and G. Kolko. The Limits of Power. 1972.

4. Hunt, F. The Untold Story of Douglas MacArthur. 1954.

5. Russell, Bertrand. Power.


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