For the United States, the armistice agreement realized the purpose for which it had entered the war: it denied success to the North Korean aggression; but it had, at the same time, enabled China, at a moment of great weakness, to fight the nuclear superpower to a standstill and oblige it to retreat from its furthest advance. It preserved American credibility in protecting allies but at the cost of incipient allied revolt and domestic discord. Observers could not fail to remember the debate that had developed in the United States over war aims. General MacArthur, applying traditional maxims, sought victory; the administration, interpreting the war as a feint to lure America into Asia-which was surely Stalin's strategy-was prepared to settle for a military draw (and probably a long-term political setback), the first such outcome in a war fought by America. The inability to harmonize political and military goals may have tempted other Asian challengers to believe in America's domestic vulnerability to wars without clear-cut military outcomes-a dilemma that reappeared with a vengeance in the vortex of Vietnam a decade later. Nor can Beijing be said to have achieved all its objectives, at least in conventional military terms. Mao did not succeed in liberating all of Korea from "American imperialism," as Chinese propaganda claimed initially. But he gad gone to war for larger and in some ways more abstract, even romantic, aims: to test the "New China" with a trial by fire and to purge what Mao perceived as China's historic softness and passivity; to secure China's leadership of the Communist movement in Asia; and to strike at the United States (which Mao believed was planning an eventual invasion of China) at a moment he perceived as opportune. The principal contribution of the new ideology was not its strategic concepts so much as the willpower to defy the strongest nations and to chart its own course. In that broader sense, the Korean War was something more than a draw. It established the newly founded People's Republic of China as a military power and center of Asian revolution. It also built up military credibility that China, as an adversary worthy of fear and respect, would draw on through the ext several decades. The memory of Chinese intervention in Korea would later restrain U.S. strategy significantly in Vietnam. Beijing succeeded in using the war and the accompanying "Resist America, Aid Korea" propaganda and purge campaign to accomplish two central aims of Mao's: to eliminate domestic opposition to Party rule, and to instill "revolutionary enthusiasm" and national pride in the population. Nourishing resentment of Western exploitation, Mao framed the war as a struggle to "defeat American arrogance"; battlefield accomplishments were treated as a form of spiritual rejuvenation after decades of Chinese weakness and abuse. China emerged from the war exhausted but redefined in both its own eyes and the world's. Ironically, the biggest loser in the Korean War was Stalin, who had given the green light to Kim Il-sung to start and had urged, even blackmailed, Mao to intervene massively. Encouraged by America's acquiescence in the Communist victory in China, he had calculated that Kim Il-sung could repeat the pattern in Korea. The American intervention thwarted that objective. He urged Mao to intervene, expecting that such and act would create a lasting hostility between China and the United States and increase China's dependence on Moscow. Stalin was right in his strategic prediction but erred grievously in assessing the consequences. Chinese dependence on the Soviet Union was double-edged. The rearmament of China that the Soviet Union undertook, in the end, shortened the time until China would be able to act on is own. The Sino-American schism Stalin was promoting did not lead to an improvement of Sin-Soviet relations, nor did it reduce China's Titoist option. On the contrary, Mao calculated that he could defy both superpowers simultaneously. American conflicts with the Soviet Union were so profound that Mao judged he needed to pay no price for Soviet backing in the Cold War, indeed that he could use it as a threat even without its approval, as he did in a number of subsequent crises. Starting with the end of the Korean War, Soviet relations with China deteriorated, caused in no small part by the opaqueness with which Stalin hand encouraged Kim Il-sung's adventure, the brutality with which he had pressed China toward intervention, and, above all, the grudging manner of Soviet support, all of which was in the form of repayable loans.