Nation: A Case Study in Confusion

Reagan's Taiwan tangle exposes basic campaign weaknesses

"I misstated." With that flat admission, Ronald Reagan last week tried to clarify, once again, his confusing views on exactly what sort of relations he favors with Taiwan. Reagan grudgingly backed away from what he called his mis-statement—a pledge to establish "an official governmental relationship" with Taiwan—and promised merely to abide by the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, which expressly declares that relations between the two nations must be conducted by a "nongovernmental" body.

Campaign Director William Casey dismissed the entire episode as a "semantic mishmash," but the strained faces of staffers—and of Reagan and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!