Among the people responsible for shaping the post-Cold War transition, few matched the prominence of George H.W. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Deng Xiaoping. The Bush presidency’s first year was the most dramatic in transforming the international security system, especially its core of great-power relations. U.S.-Soviet relations recorded unprecedented improvement but those with China suffered severe strains. Events followed a predictable if not preventable sequence as though in a classic tragedy. Pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing, Western support for them, Beijing’s angry, violent, crackdown, Western sanctions, and a sense of betrayal pervading Zhongnanhai eroded the covert anti-Soviet alliance successive U.S. and Chinese administrations had nurtured since 1971. Deng Xiaoping, having led China’s post-Mao transmogrification into a dynamic power friendly to America, was upset. Three months before the Tiananmen Square crackdown, he told Bush, China’s overriding need was for stability without which all its achievements would be lost. “If we seek the forms of democracy, we won’t achieve the substance, and we won’t develop the country either, but will only throw the country into turmoil…. Democracy is our goal, but we must keep the country stable.”4


Central Intelligence Agency Most Favored Nation Ballistic Missile Highly Enrich Uranium Multipolar World 
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© S. Mahmud Ali 2008

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