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The Kennedy Administration’s Perceptions of China and It’s Policy Toward China

Author: ZhangYiFeng
Tutor: ChenJian
School: East China Normal University
Course: World History
Keywords: The United States Kennedy Administration Perceptions of China US policy toward China Chinese-American relations
CLC: K712.54
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2006
Downloads: 637
Quote: 4
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During the Kennedy period, the United States and the Soviet reached certain consensus on a series of issues. Toward China, the Unites States continuously carried out hard-line policies. Thus a unique phenomenon emerged in the global Cold War: while the Cold War’s logical emphasis should remain in Europe (between the United States and the Soviet Union), its actual emphasis moved to East Asia (between the United States and China). In order to a better understanding of the Cold War, it is necessary to study this unique phenomenon and explore the causes that had shaped the phenomenon.A basic hypothesis of this dissertation is that the Kennedy Administration decided to adopt a China policy that was different from its policy toward the Soviet Union not only because of the influences of America’s national interests and global Cold War strategy but also due to the impact of America’s perceptions of China. "National interests" certainly plays a decisive role in the making of US policy toward China. But the Kennedy Administration’s definition of "national interests," its understanding of China’s position in America’s global strategy, and its choices about the policies that should be taken toward China in order to serve America’s "national interests," were profoundly influenced by America’s perceptions of China. Therefore, America’s perceptions of China during the Kennedy period determined—to a substantial degree—the space in which America’s policy choices would be defined, and thus served as an important reference when the Kennedy Administration formed and implemented policies toward China.America’s "China perception" that is used in this dissertation mainly points to how the Kennedy Administration perceived and, on the basis of the perception, defined Chinese politics, economy, military affairs, and foreign policy. The emphasis of the study is to be placed on the Kennedy Administration’s perception of the Chinese discourse and action, Chinese strategy, and Chinese policies toward important foreign affairs issues. In analyzing how the Kennedy Administration perceived China, this dissertation will place the discussion into the context of the Kennedy Administration’s overall policy toward China, thus revealing the connections between perception and policy, as well as highlighting the role played by perception in shaping policy.The main purpose of this dissertation is to examine the Kennedy Administration’s perception of China and its impact upon US policy toward China. By revealing China’s position in the Kennedy Administration’s "China perception" and in the making of US policy toward China, this study intends to understand the role China played in shaping Sino-American relations during the Kennedy period. At a higher level, this dissertation, by studying the Kennedy Administration’s "China perception," intends to understand the role played by the "soft" factors (factors that were not necessarily driven by "interests") in US policy toward China, thus highlighting the "two-way" nature of Sino-American relations.

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CLC: > History, geography > History of America, > North America > United States > Imperialist period ( 1898 ~) > After World War II ( 1945 ~)
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