U.S.-Chinese Relations: Perilous Past, Pragmatic Present

Overview

This lucid assessment of the historical and contemporary determinants of Sino-American relations, now comprehensively updated, explains the conflicted engagement between the two governments. Offering a welcome richness of discussion and analysis, distinguished analyst Robert G. Sutter explores the twists and turns of the relationship over the past two hundred years. The mixed historical record convincingly shows that strong differences and mutual suspicions persist, only partly overridden by a mutual pragmatism ...

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U.S.-Chinese Relations: Perilous Past, Pragmatic Present

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Overview

This lucid assessment of the historical and contemporary determinants of Sino-American relations, now comprehensively updated, explains the conflicted engagement between the two governments. Offering a welcome richness of discussion and analysis, distinguished analyst Robert G. Sutter explores the twists and turns of the relationship over the past two hundred years. The mixed historical record convincingly shows that strong differences and mutual suspicions persist, only partly overridden by a mutual pragmatism that shifts with circumstances. Sutter judiciously considers the evolution and status of current areas of convergence and divergence in the relationship. He identifies key domestic and international factors that have led to the current positive but fragile equilibrium and what is at stake for the respective interests of the United States and China and for international stability. As the only book on the subject that combines a unified assessment of the historical evolution, contemporary status, and likely prospects of U.S.-Chinese relations, this balanced and pragmatic study will be an essential resource for all concerned with the globe's most crucial bilateral partnership.

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Editorial Reviews

James Mann
Over the years, Robert Sutter has been among the most knowledgeable of all American specialists on China. In his ambitious new book, Sutter describes the twists and turns of Sino-American relations over the past two centuries. Sutter shows how American and Chinese policymakers have a strong interest in avoiding public discussion of the conflicts between the two countries and the negative aspects of their relationship; he then proceeds to show, skillfully, just what those conflicts have been and will be. This is a sober account, a perceptive look at where the United States and China have been and where they are headed.
Michael Schaller
Robert Sutter has again delivered an insightful analysis of the recent past and possible future of this pivotal bilateral relationship. Sutter examines the areas of shared interest between these two great powers and the sources and consequences of possible conflict. He provides a vital road map to understanding the knowns and even larger number of unknowns as China asserts its regional dominance and global influence.
Hong Kong Economic Journal - John Bolton
One of Robert G. Sutter's major contributions in U.S.-Chinese Relations: Perilous Past, Pragmatic Present, is to underline clearly how broad is the uncertainty even among China specialists for what many believe is the twenty-first century's most important bilateral relationship. . . . Sutter provides an extensive historical assessment of U.S.-Chinese relations that helps put present day issues in perspective, and provides a basis for predictive analysis about the future. And while Sutter recognizes that pragmatism has often rescued the relationship from seemingly intractable problems, he also acknowledges that pragmatism may have its limits when truly vital interests are at stake.
Hong Kong Economic Journal
One of Robert G. Sutter's major contributions in U.S.-Chinese Relations: Perilous Past, Pragmatic Present, is to underline clearly how broad is the uncertainty even among China specialists for what many believe is the 21st Century's most important bilateral relationship. . . . Sutter provides an extensive historical assessment of U.S.-Chinese relations that helps put present day issues in perspective, and provides a basis for predictive analysis about the future. And while Sutter recognizes that pragmatism has often rescued the relationship from seemingly intractable problems, he also acknowledges that pragmatism may have its limits when truly vital interests are at stake.
— John Bolton
The Epoch Times
There is a wealth of historical information and a few take home messages in Robert G. Sutter's recent book.
CHOICE
Sutter provides a well-documented and concise analysis of the evolution of US-China relations from the pre-WWII period to the twenty-first century. In chapters that deal with specific areas of concern in US-China relations, Sutter provides well-reasoned analyses of the mix of domestic and international factors influencing the evolution of both US and Chinese policy. Sutter also provides a nuanced presentation of the extent to which both states have come to recognize the benefits of a more stable relationship even in the light of more immediate crises that threaten to disrupt that relationship. Although Sutter has a definite point of view with respect to most of the areas of mutual concern salient to US-China relations, such as general security, Taiwan, environmental issues, and issues of human rights, he provides an evenhanded analysis of each of these issues. His conclusions regarding prospects for the future of Sino-American relations are cautiously optimistic based upon his assessment of the extent to which pragmatic considerations will continue to constrain the policy actions of both states. Summing Up: Recommended.
Contemporary Southeast Asia
One of the strengths of the book is Sutter's ability to articulate the shifts in the U.S.-China policy from one administration to another throughout the post-war period.
The China Journal
Sutter provides a sobering, insightful account of . . . what has become the single most important bilateral relationship in world politics today. . . . The timely nature of this material, the clear, detailed and accurate coverage of key issues, and insightful discussion of crucial historical events combine to produce a book that is likely to be profitably used in advanced undergraduate courses on US-China relations.
Journal of Chinese Political Science
Robert G. Sutter has written a crisp account of Sino-US relations that will appeal to decision makers inside the Beltway. Sutter begins with the early history of Sino-US interaction, namely the Western intervention during the Qing dynasty, rather than normalization which is often the starting point for this type of analysis. While Chinese and American perceptions are given equal attention, his discussion of the process of forming American policy toward China appears regularly throughout the book while the policy process in Beijing is not given equal analytical weight. While mostly from a US perspective, this book can help dispel some of the ignorance prevalent in both nations toward this all important relationship.
Choice
Sutter (visiting professor, Georgetown Univ.) provides a well-documented and concise analysis of the evolution of US-China relations from the pre-WW II period to the 21st century. In chapters that deal with specific areas of concern in US-China relations, Sutter provides well-reasoned analyses of the mix of domestic and international factors influencing the evolution of both US and Chinese policy. Sutter also provides a nuanced presentation of the extent to which both states have come to recognize the benefits of a more stable relationship even in the light of more immediate crises that threaten to disrupt that relationship. Although Sutter has a definite point of view with respect to most of the areas of mutual concern salient to US-China relations, such as general security, Taiwan, environmental issues, and issues of human rights, he provides an evenhanded analysis of each of these issues. His conclusions regarding prospects for the future of Sino-American relations are cautiously optimistic based upon his assessment of the extent to which pragmatic considerations will continue to constrain the policy actions of both states. Summing Up: Recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442218055
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/16/2013
  • Edition description: 2nd Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 342
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert G. Sutter is professor of practice in international affairs at the Elliott School of George Washington University.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction and Overview 1

2 Patterns of American-Chinese Relations Prior to World War II 15

3 Relations during World War II, Civil War, Cold War 39

4 Rapprochement and Normalization 65

5 Tiananmen, Taiwan, and Post-Cold War Realities, 1989-2000 95

6 U.S.-China Policy Priorities and Implications for Relations in the Twenty-First Century 123

7 An Emerging U.S.-China Equilibrium in the Twenty-First Century 147

8 Security Issues in Contemporary U.S.-China Relations 169

9 Economic and Environmental Issues in Contemporary U.S.-China Relations 191

10 Taiwan Issues in Contemporary U.S.-China Relations 219

11 Issues of Human Rights in Contemporary U.S.-China Relations 243

12 Outlook: Continued Positive Equilibrium amid Differences and Suspicions 267

Notes 279

Selected Bibliography 317

Index 323

About the Author 333

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