Remaking China Policy: U.S.-China Relations and Governmental Decision-making

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Harvard University Press, 1971 - Political Science - 136 pages
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Authors Moorsteen and Abramowitz propose a plan of action for improving U.S.–China relations that should stimulate the American public as well as Washington decisionmakers. Dealing effectively with China requires both a long–term perspective and an approach that faces up to fundamental issues, going beyond “atmospherics” and gestures. Yet such a goal must be achieved within the prevailing uncertainty about China’s intentions. It must be sought through an evolving process of exploratory steps that would enable policymakers to discover more about Chinese responses and to incorporate this knowledge into future policy.

Some of the opening moves advocated by the authors are:

  1. A clarification of the U.S. position on Taiwan’s status, a policy of “one China but not now” that could move us one small step toward Beijing’s preferred “one China” without ending our defense commitment to Taiwan.
  2. A U.S. position on Chinese representation in the United Nations that would allow us to acquiesce in Beijing’s admission.
  3. Quiet but explicit U.S. encouragement of both Bangkok and Beijing towardan improvement in relations between them.
  4. An effort, directly or through a third party, to express U.S. views (and to explore those of Beijing) on nuclear non–proliferation in Asia.
  5. An approach to offset Chinese fears about U.S.–Soviet collusion, such as those caused by the Strategic Arms Limitations Talks.

Moorsteen and Abramowitz analyze deficiencies in the way the United States now develops its China policy. To implement their new approach, they propose both organizational and procedural changes, including new modes of interaction between government China specialists and their policymaking superiors and the establishment of a policy group high enough in rank and broad enough in responsibility to deal with U.S.–China relations as a whole.

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About the author (1971)

Richard Moorsteen is a Rand Consultant.

Morton Abramowitz is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation. He was assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research (1985-89) and ambassador to Turkey (1989-1991). He also was president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (1991-97).

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