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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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Testing the waters

Testing the waters

An aborted policy review and closing moves, 1968–69

(p.213) 6 Testing the waters
Piercing the Bamboo Curtain

Michael Lumbers

Manchester University Press

This chapter describes Lyndon Baines Johnson's ensuing interest in exploring means of nurturing moderate elements in Beijing, and the factors that ultimately derailed this policy review. It addresses the final opportunity for reform in the last few weeks of Johnson's tenure in office. The Cultural Revolution effected a significant alteration of Dean Rusk's understanding of the People's Republic of China's role in Vietnam. US decision-makers continued to view China policy through the prism of Vietnam. The last six months of Johnson's presidency witnessed stirrings of change on both sides of the Pacific, with momentous implications for the future. US observers concluded that revolutionary fervor had peaked and moderate elements had outmanouevred hard-line Maoists in the latter half of 1967. A reorientation of Chinese foreign policy only became possible once the Chairman became disenchanted with his own grand enterprise of continuous revolution.

Keywords:   Lyndon Baines Johnson, Beijing, reform, Cultural Revolution, Dean Rusk, Vietnam, Chinese foreign policy

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