(7 of 11)
Peking's tactical shift from warring to wooing in Africa has dismayed local revolutionaries. "They are becoming quite reactionary," complains a freedom fighter in Tanzania. But Peking's new policies have paid off in other ways. Since the Ninth Party Congress, eight countries, including Canada and Italy, have recognized China, and at least two others are on the verge of following suit.
The U.S. was also caught up in a time of rapidly changing attitudes. Washington's policies toward China had hardened almost as soon as the Communists took over that country in 1949. The enmity was only heightened by China's intervention in the Korean War. Congressional leadersparticularly Republicansconstructed a policy of containment through generous military and economic aid to Chiang Kai-shek's anti-Communist regime and security commitments to shield Taiwan and its satellite islands from mainland control. In the 1950s, election campaigns were fought on a lingering charge that the
Democrats had "sold out" China to the Communists. The U.S. blocked Peking's entry to the United Nations, refused entirely to trade with the mainland, and held to the myth that the Nationalist regime in Taiwan was the legitimate government of all China. John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson both wanted to bring U.S. policy more into line with reality. Kennedy's initiatives were stilled in Dallas ("We were just about to do then what was done this week." says a State Department official who served under J.F.K.), and Johnson's attempts were stalled by the Viet Nam War.
Advocates of Change
Wall Street Lawyer Richard Nixon, after a trip to Asia in 1966 for his client Pepsi-Cola, put down some perceptive thoughts in Foreign Affairs that he was later to elaborate in the 1968 campaign. "Taking the long view." declared Nixon, "we simply cannot afford to leave China forever outside the family of nations, there to nurture its fantasies, cherish its hates, and threaten its neighbors. There is no place on this small planet for a billion of its potentially most able people to live in angry isolation."
Only 15 days after taking office. Nixon ordered a major review of U.S. policy toward China. Among the most persuasive advocates of change was Assistant Secretary of State Marshall Green. Green's conviction that a new approach on China was needed matured during his experience as consul-general in Hong Kong from 1961 to 1963, and later during a tour as Ambassador to Indonesia.