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From enmity to rapprochement: Grand strategy, power politics, and U.S.-China relations, 1961--1974

Posted on:2008-08-05Degree:Ph.DType:Dissertation
University:University of California, Los AngelesCandidate:Wang, DongFull Text:PDF
GTID:1446390005964435Subject:Political science
This dissertation studies the causes, dynamics, and resolution of the extended conflict between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the United States during the Cold War, from the 1960s through the early 1970s. It tries to understand why Beijing and Washington were trapped in prolonged hostilities throughout the 1960s, and why they ended in the Sino-American rapprochement witnessed during the early 1970s.; The arguments I develop in this study are two-fold: I shall refer to one aspect as the "preference deadlock" and to the other as "indeterminacy." These are dynamics in play during different stages of the extended conflict between China and the United States in the 1960s through the early 1970s. The primary reason for prolonged hostilities between Beijing and Washington is that their preferences were deadlocked. Specifically, both Beijing and Washington understood fairly well the problem that divided them: the sovereignty of Taiwan. Yet, their positions over how best to resolve the Taiwan issue were diametrically opposed. Moreover, Taiwan represented just the beginning of a chain of interconnected issues on which they would find themselves at odds. All of these boil down to an overarching disagreement over each other's power position in the system. On the one hand, Washington refused to recognize or sanction China's great power status in the international system and in fact resolved to contain China's power. On the other hand, Beijing objected to Washington's position as a dominant power in the international system and moved to undermine American power through the advocacy of world revolution. It was not until both Beijing and Washington "ran their head against the wall"---not until their policies were thwarted by reality, that leaders in Beijing and Washington realized that their policies had crossed into the bounds of "diminishing utility" and that their preferences and goals needed to be adjusted.
Keywords/Search Tags:Power, Beijing and washington
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