A vast new coalition opposing Soviet expansionism is emerging in the global community, according to Zbigniew Brzezinski, former President Carter's national security adviser.
Although not a formal alliance, this coalition, made up of the United States, China, Japan, and Western Europe, "is an objective reality and as such must be recognized as a new and important development in world affairs," Dr. Brzezinski said in a meeting with journalists July 19.
Dr. Brzezinski, who has been visiting China since July 3, met Defense Minister Geng Biao July 18 and Communist Party Vice-Chairman Deng Xiaoping July 19. Dr. Brzezinski supported the Reagan administration's decision to supply arms to China on a case-by-case basis, thus disagreeing with two former colleagues, ex-Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and former adviser on Soviet affairs Marshall Shulman.
"To deny arms to an essentially friendly country (China), is a gratuitous gift to an essentially expansionist country (the Soviet Union)," Dr. Brzezinski said, adding, "I've felt that way for several years." In the days of the Carter administration, Dr. Brzezinski was known as a strong advocate of closer cooperation between China and the United States based on a common perception of the dangers of Soviet expansionism.
He made a much-publicized visit to China somewhat over two years ago, in which he was accused of playing the China card with much more verve and brio than more cautious administration figures would have liked. Today, Dr. Brzezinski looks to China to play an important role in the coalition he sees developing because ultimately, he says, such a coalition would isolate the Soviet Union politically and diplomatically, enhance global stability, and make "Afghanistan and Kampuchea-type developments too costly for the Soviets to repeat."
Dr. Brzezinski foresees the next few years as a time of great risk for the West because it is a time during which a change of leadership could occur in the Soviet Union. And with the Soviets thinking the balance of military power is still in their favor, he says this is a period in which they might be particularly tempted to use military force.
In consequence, those opposed to Soviet expansionism would have to "look ahead and try to create the kind of international balance and framework so that Soviet expansionism is effectively contained during this risky period."
Dr. Brzezinski would like Western countries to get away from the post-World-War-II concept of three worlds -- the Western democracies, including Japan; the communist countries; and the developing world. This concept is no longer adequate to describe the actual world in which we live, he said.
China, for instance, is a communist country, but it is also a developing country sharing certain interests with other developing countries. At the same time, China has a common interest with the United States, Western Europe, and Japan, plus certain developing countries like Egypt or Pakistan, to oppose Soviet expansionism.
Although Dr. Brzezinski did not say so explicitly, it was also clear he hoped the Chinese would change their concept, unchanged since the days of Mao Tse-tung , of three worlds. In the Chinese version, the two superpowers are in one world , the developed countries in another world, while the developing countries comprise the third world.
In a recent speech Hu Yaobang, Mr. Deng's protege newly installed as chairman of the Communist Party, pledged that however rich or prosperous China becomes, it will always remain part of the third world.
Such a categorization, lumping the United States with the Soviet Union, does not fit the actual policies China is carrying out today, and a number of Westerners have tried to get the Chinese to rethink their own definitions -- so far with little success.
Dr. Brzezinski's emphasis on "objective facts" may have been designed to spur such a reformulation based on the practical consequences of China's present policies of cooperation with the principal Western countries, including the United States, Western Europe, and Japan, against Soviet expansionism.
For Dr. Brzezinski and his colleague, China expert Michel Oxenberg, this visit to China was a family occasion shared with wives and children and featuring a retracing of some of the principal landmarks of the Red Army's famous Long March of the 1930s.
The Brzezinski and Oxenberg families climbed one of the high peaks of the Luoshan Gorge scaled by the Red Army during their constant battle against encircling and pursuing Kuomintang troops.
They also visited Zunyi, where Mao Tse-tung established his military and political leadership at a crucial conference in 1935, and saw the chain bridge at Luding over the whirling, swirling Dadu River deep in Sichuan in southwest China.