1971 : Nixon doesn't protect Mao?

After the USSR and China were at the brink of war in 1971. Supposedly the USSR let Nixon know that they would use nuclear weapons against Mao and China. Nixon in OTL told USSR if they did that, then he would consider this as declaration of WW3.

So my question is, what Nixon didn't want to protect China and Mao? And the USSR go to war against China circa 1971? How does this effect the world? Vietnam war?
 
Russia and China go at it,
Mao would not back down if a few hundred million Chinese had to die so he could save face it would be a price he would have been willing to pay.
The Soviet Union would have found itself in the middle of one giant Vietnam as a tried to occupy a nuked out China
 
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Russia and China go at it,
Mao would not back down if a few hundred million Chinese had to die so he could save face it would be a pricey would have been willing to pay.
The Soviet Union would have found itself in the middle of one giant Vietnam as a tried to occupy a nuked out China
So in theory this could end the CCCP earlier then in OTL? Because the occupation of a "nuked out China" would be very costly.
 
After the USSR and China were at the brink of war in 1971. Supposedly the USSR let Nixon know that they would use nuclear weapons against Mao and China. Nixon in OTL told USSR if they did that, then he would consider this as declaration of WW3.

So my question is, what Nixon didn't want to protect China and Mao? And the USSR go to war against China circa 1971? How does this effect the world? Vietnam war?
Why frame it as protecting Mao? It sound more like Nixon making it clear to the Soviets that they couldn't just use their nuclear arsenal to blackmail other nations into following Moscow's line. If Nixon doesn't take this line he's handing a huge advantage to the Soviets in terms of Cold War politics.
 
So in theory this could end the CCCP earlier then in OTL? Because the occupation of a "nuked out China" would be very costly.
Not to mention Battlefield losses and the loss of more than a few cities in the Eastern Soviet Union, Soviet logistics would be in shambles. Brezhnev would have one hell of a mess to clean up or more likely his successor would.
I could see the Soviet Union collapsing in the mid-to-late seventies 1970s
 
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