How many powerful allies should a small country have? This was a question to which Nicolae Ceauşescu of Romania had a specific answer. Romania's policy of autonomy in the Soviet bloc was based on a delicate balance between Moscow and Beijing, as Romanians claimed that all Communist parties were equal and none had the right to question the others’ policy choices. Such a political course involved numerous risks for a Soviet satellite, and the Vietnam War added one more. Moscow was in favor of negotiations and a peaceful settlement of the conflict, whereas China was vehemently against negotiations and in favor of military victory on the battlefield. Whose side was Romania going to take? To preserve an autonomous position in the Soviet bloc, Romania was compelled to maintain a fragile equilibrium between the two leading powers of the Communist world and prevent Moscow from rallying the Communist movement against China on many divergent issues, including the Vietnam War.

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