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Focus on
CHINA

Commentary on Current Issues

Focus on
CHINA

Chinese Warfare:
The Riddle of the Unlearned Lesson
By RALPH D. SAWYER

“From any reasonable perspective China’s continuity has been cultural rather than political, its heritage throughout one of incessant conflict as different peoples, states, and popular movements fought to control its populace and resources. These inescapable battlefield experiences eventually spawned a contemplative literature that sought to fathom the chaos of warfare and master the principles of its employment, whether offensive or defensive. . . . Professional commanders and political leaders compelled to wrestle with perplexing military decisions studied and contemplated its books, but also—even if reluctantly—so did the intelligentsia because they encompassed tactics and strategic concepts suitable for the civilian realm as well as the battlefield.” [FULL TEXT]

Is China Unstable?
By MINXIN PEI

Not too long ago China was widely portrayed as an emerging military and economic threat to the West. Its total economic output was projected to surpass that of the United States in two decades. Its military modernization was expected to provide China the capability to project its power far beyond its borders. . . . Nowadays, however, the speculation about China’s future has generally inclined toward pessimism. . . . In my judgment [however], the current pessimism about China's short-term prospects is as exaggerated as the previous optimism about its long-term economic outlook. ” [FULL TEXT]

Taiwan Troubles
By THOMAS D. GRANT

“This past summer, the fifty-year crisis between China and Taiwan seemed to have entered a new and particularly vexed stage. Taiwan’s president, Lee Teng-hui, said that his country is going to drop the old ‘One China’ formulation that had been the basis of delicate relations between the governments of Taipei and Beijing for some time. What does this mean, and what, if anything, should the United States do about it?” [FULL TEXT]

U.S.-China Relations:
Springtime Ice Beginning to Melt
By JOSEPH J. BORICH

“In the two-week period prior to the “mini-summit” in Auckland, Beijing gave several other indications it was ready to improve relations with Washington. Leading newspapers and journals in China lowered the invective against the U.S. that had been in fashion throughout the summer, claiming instead that strong ties with the U.S. were important to China’s interests. . . . Nevertheless, while the Auckland meeting was straightforward and short on polemics, it was also short on breakthroughs.” [FULL TEXT]

China in 1945:
One Man's Experience
By CARL FRITZ

“My U.S. Army Air Corps unit landed near Liuchow in South China in mid-1945, before war’s end. We landed at an airfield—not on the runway, but on a nearby dirt road. The reason for the dirt-road landing? Over 1,000 land mines had been planted on the field. We feared some of them might be on the runway, as almost certainly there were.” [FULL TEXT]

AND THERE'S MORE:

Other recent articles in American Diplomacy:

Sorin Lungu on NATO Cooperation with Former Adversaries: "As the communist regimes of Eastern Europe began to collapse, NATO governments undertook to provide security assurances to new democratic governments facing a confusing new situation." [Summer 1999]

J. Craig Barker on the legal and political implications of The Case Against Pinochet: "While some states may balk at the thought of any court other than their own deciding on politically sensitive issues, the International Criminal Court must surely be seen as a better forum than national courts." [Summer 1999]

Louisa E. Kilgroe on Thomas Lamont's role in post-World War I Japan in Banker as Diplomat: "So taken was Lamont by the illusion of timesless serenity that it momentarily blotted out that other Japan, the Japan of 'blood and iron'." [Summer 1999]

Alliance in Doubt:
American Reaction to the 1960
US-Japanese Security Treaty Crisis
By NICHOLAS EVAN SARANTAKES

“In the spring of 1960, the streets of Tokyo were full of crowds protesting a new security treaty with the United States. Despite these protests, the United States Senate ratified the new agreement with a seemingly authoritative vote, 90-2. The lopsided tally, however, is misleading. The riots in Tokyo and their coverage in the American media convinced many senators that Japan was on the edge of a Marxist revolution.” [FULL TEXT]

Southeast Asia: One year after the Outbreak of the Financial Crisis
Policy Implications for the United States
A Woodrow Wilson Center Special Program Report
By D
AVID G. BROWN

“The Treasury Department has played too prominent a role in U.S. policy formation. Given the broad interests at stake, the Secretary of State should be visibly involved in defining and implementing U.S. policy. The Secretary should visit the most affected countries. In a time of trial, it is important, as Secretary of Defense Cohen has said, that the U.S. be actively engaged to demonstrate that it is not just a fair weather friend to ASEAN.” [FULL TEXT]

 
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