Authors Richard Moorsteen and Morton Abramowitz propose an innovative plan for improving U.S.–China relations. 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: (1) a policy of “one China but not now” that could gradually move us toward Peking’s preferred “one China”; (2) a U.S. position on Chinese representation in the United Nations that would allow us to acquiesce in Peking’s admission; (3) quiet but explicit encouragement to both Bangkok and Peking for a modest improvement in relations between them; (4) an effort to convey U.S. views (and to explore Peking’s) on nuclear non-proliferation in Asia; (5) an approach to offset Chinese fears about the U.S.–Soviet Strategic Arms Limitation Talks.
The authors analyze deficiencies in the way the government 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.
Remaking China Policy is a unique and valuable book. It…is in essence a memorandum for the President… As such a paper should—but too seldom does—it analyzes almost brutally the complexity, the uncertainties, the political constraints and risks involved in the course of action suggested… This book [gives] the general public a rare insight into the process whereby important decisions of foreign policy are made… It should suggest that there is—or at least can be— an objective, reflective, and rational decisionmaking process… Both Mr. Moorsteen and Mr. Abramowitz are experienced bureaucrats as well as China experts… Both have been directly responsible for foreign policy decisions of the United States… Whether [the president] agrees with [this book’s] conclusions or not, he is much too perceptive to ignore them.
The authors of this book…studied China, including its language, and acquired a proper humility. During a decade of work on China policy they have trained themselves to think like historians…dealing with the future, since policy is the effort to influence the future before it becomes history. What they offer us is a case study of ‘how to make policy in conditions of great uncertainty.’ …They are men worth following… They offer to teach us a way of thinking about China policy, a way that is imaginative, thorough, and as objective as possible… Remaking China Policy, in short, is a seminal study that sets in motion ideas that may outdistance even the authors… Plainly they are hardbitten optimists, determined to keep on trying, good men to go along and argue with.
- 176 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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