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Congress, China and the Cold War: domestic politics and Sino-American rapprochement and normalisation, 1969-1980

Coyer, Paul (2013) Congress, China and the Cold War: domestic politics and Sino-American rapprochement and normalisation, 1969-1980. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to examine the impact of the US Congress on the process of Sino-American rapprochement and diplomatic normalisation during the period 1969-1980. Thus far, research on Sino-American rapprochement and normalisation has focused on the role played by the Executive Branch, ignoring the role played by Congress. This study aims to place Executive Branch actions with regard to China policy in the context of domestic political trends and Congressional actions and attitudes, and locates the process of Sino-American rapprochement and normalisation in the broader context of shifting domestic attitudes toward the Cold War. This thesis demonstrates that rapprochement would not have been possible in the absence of dramatic domestic political changes in the United States, particularly important shifts of perspective within Congress toward the Cold War in general and China in particular. It traces the development of Congressional attitudes towards China, and examines the interaction between Congress and the Executive Branch with regard to China policy. This study argues that the interplay between the Executive and the Legislative Branches during a decade in which Congress was asserting its views on foreign policy is central to understanding the development of China policy during the 1970's. One of the most effective means by which Congress shaped China policy during the period of this study was by means of its ability to define the political space within which the Executive Branch was able to operate with respect to China policy. Attempts on the part of the Executive Branch to deny Congress influence were only partially successful, and although there were limits on Congress's ability to directly influence policy in the 1970's, this thesis demonstrates that Congress had a much greater impact on the development of China policy during the decade than has previously been acknowledged.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Paul Coyer
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
Sets: Departments > International History
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/649

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