New York Timesman Salisbury, an accredited commentator on Communist countries, was detecting symptoms of a Sino-Soviet schism long before it hit the headlines. Here he shares his concern over escalating Russian-Chinese tensions to shake the complacency of those who welcome conflict between the two Communist colossi. From the vantage point of Mongolia, ""hinge of the earth"" and key position in a collision between Moscow and Peking, Salisbury places the dispute in the historical context of a millennial Great Power rivalry which is indelibly imprinted on the national psychologies of both countries. It is in these atavistic emotional attitudes that the deeper reasons for the confrontation lie. Thus the immediacy of Genghis Khan's invasion in Russian minds generates a ""fervor for racial chauvinism displayed toward the East and its peoples"" as they face the traumatic advent of a powerful Chinese regime. And into the Chinese hostility toward Russia goes ""much of the chauvinism, nationalism, and xenophobia which were the natural outgrowth of the humiliating years of European domination."" There are no ideological ties that bind because neither side regards the other as Communist: Moscow calls Mao ""a petty bourgeois revolutionary-nationalist""; Peking dubs the Kremlin leaders ""the new Czars."" Salisbury traces the roots of suspicion and hostility, re-evaluating the Korean War, the Vietnam conflict, and even the invasion of Czechoslovakia in the process. He also examines the impending food-population crisis that makes Chinese Lebensraum a life-and-death necessity, considers the role that the U.S. can play, and ponders prospects for the future. Discerning observations and speculations with an (Asian) continental perspective.