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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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(p.240) Conclusion
Piercing the Bamboo Curtain

Michael Lumbers

Manchester University Press

This chapter considers the factors underlying the relaxation of US attitudes towards China in the 1960s. It also discusses the significance of the Lyndon Baines Johnson team's tentative bridge-building, and the points of departure between Johnson's and Richard Nixon's respective approaches to the People's Republic of China (PRC). Then, the chapter describes Johnson's strengths and weaknesses as a foreign policy leader within the context of his dealings with Beijing. Johnson was hardly the ideal candidate to initiate changes in America's relationship with China. A new relationship with Beijing might be of use in checking a more conspicuous Soviet threat. Johnson signalled his own interest in a limited war by cautiously escalating America's military involvement and refraining from those actions that could be misconstrued as a direct threat to Chinese security. A cursory look at his consumption of China data confirms that he was the administration's ultimate arbiter.

Keywords:   PRC, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Richard Nixon, foreign policy, Beijing, Soviet threat, Chinese security, America

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