Nancy Bernkopf Tucker confronts the coldest period of the cold warthe moment in which personality, American political culture, public opinion, and high politics came together to define the Eisenhower Administrations policy toward China. A sophisticated, multidimensional account based on prodigious, cutting edge research, this volume convincingly portrays Eisenhowers private belief that close relations between the United States and the Peoples Republic of China were inevitable and that careful consideration of the PRC should constitute a critical part of American diplomacy. Tucker provocatively argues that the Eisenhower Administrations hostile rhetoric and tough actions toward China obscure the presidents actual views. Behind the scenes, Eisenhower and his Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, pursued a more nuanced approach, one better suited to Chinas specific challenges and the stabilization of the global community. Tucker deftly explores the contradictions between Eisenhower and his advisors public and private positions. Her most powerful chapter centers on Eisenhowers recognition that rigid trade prohibitions would undermine the global postwar economic recovery and push China into a closer relationship with the Soviet Union. Ultimately, Tucker finds Eisenhowers strategic thinking on Europe and his fear of toxic, anticommunist domestic politics constrained his leadership, making a fundamental shift in U.S. policy toward China difficult if not impossible. Consequently, the president was unable to engage congress and the public effectively on China, ultimately failing to realize his own high standards as a leader.
- Publication Date:
- 08 / 05 / 2012