Michael Lumbers

in Piercing the Bamboo Curtain

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780719077784
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700808 | DOI:

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This chapter considers the factors underlying the relaxation of US attitudes towards China in the 1960s. It also discusses the significance of the Lyndon Baines Johnson team's tentative bridge-building, and the points of departure between Johnson's and Richard Nixon's respective approaches to the People's Republic of China (PRC). Then, the chapter describes Johnson's strengths and weaknesses as a foreign policy leader within the context of his dealings with Beijing. Johnson was hardly the ideal candidate to initiate changes in America's relationship with China. A new relationship with Beijing might be of use in checking a more conspicuous Soviet threat. Johnson signalled his own interest in a limited war by cautiously escalating America's military involvement and refraining from those actions that could be misconstrued as a direct threat to Chinese security. A cursory look at his consumption of China data confirms that he was the administration's ultimate arbiter.

Keywords: PRC; Lyndon Baines Johnson; Richard Nixon; foreign policy; Beijing; Soviet threat; Chinese security; America

Chapter.  7740 words. 

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