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American Foreign Policy - Essay Example

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American Foreign Policy

Broadly put, the proposed policy aims to build a calibrated relationship with China but at the same time have a strong upper hand in this relationship. This paper provides a wider perspective to the 'draft document' and contextualizes the policy of the US government towards China to the prevailing national and international political scenarios of the time.
The proposed policy rightly aims to assist the Chinese people by providing them with food stocks. The 'Great Leap Forward' beginning 1958 which was about simultaneous development of agricultural and industrial sectors, turned out to be a major economic disaster for China, leaving, by some estimates around 20 million dead. Providing China with much needed food relief and other humanitarian aid such as medical information and advanced warnings about natural disasters, in this scenario, would have indeed helped Chinese people (if not the Chinese Government) warm up to the Americans. What the proposed policy fails to take into account is that China has always been a 'closed' State. Even in 2008, in an era of internet and mobile phones, the Chinese people are largely dependent on government filtered sources of information (Jonathan Zittrain and Benjamin Edelman). Attempting to influence opinions of Chinese people in the 1960s would have only been tougher.
By attempting to reward the Japanese and Indians, the proposed policy rightly aims to strengthen the nuclear capabilities, albeit for peaceful purposes, of China's neighbours, and in turn, build a perception that China's military capabilities are neither unique nor so strong as to push the smaller neighbours into China's fold. The US strategy of containment of China is envisages the willingness of the smaller players such as Japan or larger ones such as India to become a pawn in the American game to keep China on the back foot. Obsessed with its preoccupation in preventing Communist China to emerge as a dominant power and Communism as a dominant ideology, the US, in its proposed policy imagines the potential scenario to be strong enough to bring closer traditional rivals such as India and Pakistan. In the process it forgets the depth of multi dimensional rivalry between the two nations. The US also overlooks the possibility of Chinese using these rivalries to its own advantage, which it did, by using Pakistan to bleed India. Nowhere was this manifested more clearly than (FAS) the fact that Pakistan obtained a pre-tested atomic bomb design and bomb-grade enriched Uranium from China.
The American policy does not take into account the possibility of using Tibet as an issue to checkmate China on the international stage. (Dawning of a new era, par. 8) Neither does much thought gone into the fact that Soviets and the Chinese faced a steadily deteriorating relationship since the late 1950s and (par. 9). China's fear of a possible Soviet invasion could have been played upon by the US and used to its advantage in containing China. Indeed, this was later one of the main reasons for Chinese attempt to seek rapprochement with United States.
The proposed policy does not take into account the real and potential conflicts where US and China may find themselves on the opposite side of the divide. The Korean War was one such instance. However, the Vietnam War presented an odd scenario where the Chinese, despite ...Show more


Write a 1,000-word essay about the value and limitations of the document in understanding American foreign policy-making and US relations with China (both Nationalist and Communist). Pay attention to the position, beliefs and assumptions of the author and other officials mentioned, the wider national and international contexts within which the report was written, etc…
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American Foreign Policy essay example
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