U.S.-China Relations since the Onset of Normalization: A Relationship in Search of a Rationale
Author(s)Solomon, Richard H.
Contributor(s)RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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AbstractThat the normalization of U.S.-PRC relations was in America's national interest can scarcely be disputed. Public opinion polls show the policy to be widely accepted; and even Taiwan's most active supporters in the United States do not publicly attack normal U.S.-PRC relations. The ending of our decades-long confrontation with the PRC unburdened the U.S. of a military confrontation with the most populous nation in the world and gave us enhanced strategic flexibility. As noted, however, we still have yet to reach a policy consensus in this country on the potential strategic and defense benefits of the relationship, or to consolidate a set of stable bilateral ties in the areas of trade and cultural exchange. It is, in fact, unlikely that we will reach such a consensus in the absence of some major increase in the Soviet threat to common Chinese and American security interests. The experience of the past decade teaches us that our dealings with the Chinese are subject to too many conflicting and unstable influences; and the PRC, for all its potential importance as a world power, remains peripheral to America's contemporary defense, economic, and political interests.