Oksenberg, Michel
September 1982
Foreign Affairs;Fall1982, Vol. 61 Issue 1, p175
Academic Journal
The article discusses about the increase and decrease in Sino-American relations through a historical analysis of interests, objectives and limits of both countries. While the past decade of Sino-American relations has been largely constructive, the ten years have not been on a steady incline. Rather, there have been two strong forward spurts, from spring 1971 through May 1973, and from May 1978 through early 1980 The relationship has also endured two periods of some acrimony and erosion: from the fall of 1975 to late 1976 and from mid 1980 to the effort to stabilize the relationship reflected in the communique on arms sales to Taiwan that was agreed in August 1982. Several factors explain their capacity. First, although the principals in this drama came from extraordinarily different backgrounds-one the son of a peasant from the interior of China, another the aristocratic bearer of the Mandarin tradition, yet another of middle-class, Midwest and California origins, and finally, an immigrant Harvard scholar of international affairs they were bound by a common approach to world politics. Drawing the four together was a belief that the essence of diplomacy, the requisite for stability, was the maintenance of regional and global balances of power.


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