An assortment of readings: from inside-the-Beltway jockeying over the Bush
administration's China policy, to a hundred-year-long perspective on China and
its engagement with the world, to reasons why China may not be a threat in the
This is a short overview of vital issues confronting America in this region
of the world, as summarized in the July 2000 report from the Commission on
America's National Interests. China and Taiwan are prominent concerns: "In the
Taiwan Strait, the situation is more dangerous. Even as Taiwan and China have
expanded their economic ties, the cross-Strait political relationship has grown
steadily worse." The Commission states its goal is to help focus Americans'
thinking on the core national interests for which they must prepare.
(Available in PDF and Microsoft Word formats at Harvard's
Kennedy School of Government site.)
The Atlantic Monthly, which has reported on China for more than a century,
offers a collection of its articles tracing some of the central issues
confronting China's social, economic and political development this past
century, as well as China's relationship with the U.S. and the world. Included in
this interesting selection, dating from 1906 to 2000, are articles by Robert D.
Kaplan, Mark Hertsgaard, Warren I. Cohen, Xiao-huang Yin, Orville Schell and
John K. Fairbank.
J. Michael Waller, writing in Insight magazine, reports on a group of top
congressional staffers, academics, journalists, scholars and intelligence
officers who are "posing the biggest ever challenge to the generously funded
China lobby of the Democratic and Republican establishments." Given the debate
over China within the Republican Party and among Bush's advisers, Waller's
piece on the "Blue Team" captures one part of the battle underway to change the
soft view of Beijing which was in ascendancy during the Clinton
This interview with noted China specialist and author Orville Schell ranges
through various issues confronting U.S.-China relations, including the EP-3 spy
plane incident, the revelations of the "Tiananmen Papers," the Chinese
government's fortress of secrecy, the problems in regarding China as a
"strategic partner," and how China's past and traditions help explain its
attitude on human rights, the law and a free press.
China specialist Chen Jian, an associate professor at Southern Illinois
University, writes on why China is unlikely to be an international threat in
the new century, how a "profound victim mentality" underlies the PRC's external
behavior, and what should be the future U.S.-China agenda. His summary is from
his full report in the June 1998 issue of Peaceworks published by the United
States Institute of Peace.
In this June 2001 issue of American Foreign Policy Interests, the journal
of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, Inc., the focus is the
Taiwan Strait. This brief article offers reasons Beijing is unlikely to
resort to force against Taiwan in the near term, underscores the strong human
and economic interactions that have developed between the two sides across the
Strait, and advises U.S. policy on the Taiwan issue should continue to be
cautious, patient and even-handed.
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