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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

Chapter:
(p.137) 4 The irony of Vietnam
Source:
Piercing the Bamboo Curtain
Author(s):

Michael Lumbers

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719077784.003.0005

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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