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Piercing the Bamboo CurtainTentative Bridge-building to China During the Johnson Years$
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Michael Lumbers

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780719077784

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719077784.001.0001

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The irony of Vietnam

The irony of Vietnam

The emergence of a two-pronged China policy, 1965–66

(p.137) 4 The irony of Vietnam
Piercing the Bamboo Curtain

Michael Lumbers

Manchester University Press

This chapter reviews the thawing of attitudes to Lyndon Baines Johnson's heightened interest in averting Chinese intervention in the conflict and to his attempts to mobilize public support for a frustratingly prolonged war by burnishing his peace credentials. A concluding section on the administration's simultaneous resistance to seating Beijing in the United Nations (UN) shows the tentative nature of this bridge-building and the obstacles that continued to impede bolder initiatives at this time. China's foreign-policy defeats had a contradictory impact on the administration's thinking. Johnson's aides continued to point to the threat of Chinese-inspired subversion as a major justification for the war in Vietnam. It was no coincidence that the high-water mark of policy innovation in 1966 fitted with Johnson's personal engagement with China strategy, a level of interest which hitherto had been lacking.

Keywords:   Vietnam, Chinese intervention, Lyndon Baines Johnson, United Nations, Beijing, foreign policy, policy innovation

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