The politics of American China policy: the Clinton administration's China policy during its first term of office

Shaw, Robert Keith (2001). The politics of American China policy: the Clinton administration's China policy during its first term of office. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examines the formulation and implementation of us policy towards China during the Clinton Administration's first term of office. Its central contention is that the Clinton Administration's China policy-making process was founded on largely on domestic political calculations, to the detriment of America's long term broad strategic interests in the People's Republic. This is exemplified by his advocacy, implementation, and eventual abandonment, of a strategy of linkage toward China. This thesis contends that President Clinton's preoccupation with domestic political calculations led to three major flaws in his Administration's China policy-making process. Firstly, it led to a failure to define a hierarchy of US priorities in China. Secondly, it led to a failure to articulate a coherent framework for US China relations to either the Chinese or domestic American audiences. Thirdly, Clinton failed to commit himself to, or provide leadership on, China policy except in the event of a political crisis. Accordingly, these flaws encouraged splits within the Administration whereby different agencies pursued their own agendas with Beijing. As a result, the Clinton Administration's China policy appeared confused, incoherent and discordant. This served to undermine both the US strategic relationship with Beijing, and domestic legitimacy for US China policy.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Social Science
School or Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: J Political Science > JX International law
J Political Science > JZ International relations


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