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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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Bridge-building in limbo

Bridge-building in limbo

The impact of the Cultural Revolution, 1966–67

(p.177) 5 Bridge-building in limbo
Piercing the Bamboo Curtain

Michael Lumbers

Manchester University Press

This chapter addresses how the administration interpreted the outbreak of virtual civil war on the mainland, and examines why bridge-building was relegated to a state of limbo at this time. The Cultural Revolution stemmed from Mao Zedong's ‘restless quest for revolutionary purity in a postrevolutionary age’. Mao's fear of creeping revisionism at home was conditioned in large part by his reading of concurrent events in the Soviet Union. Recent studies have confirmed that the Cultural Revolution exercised significant influence on the conduct of Chinese foreign relations. Lyndon Baines Johnson and his advisers implicitly agreed with Zbigniew Brzezinski's diagnosis for peace in Vietnam, yet disagreed with his suggested remedy of a policy of ambiguity towards the People's Republic of China. The sole focus of Mao's Cultural Revolution was internal transformation. The Johnson team hoped that a combination of American military muscle and Soviet diplomatic pressure would prod Hanoi towards the conference table.

Keywords:   Cultural Revolution, civil war, bridge-building, limbo, Mao Zedong, Soviet Union, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Vietnam

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