To Create a New World? American Presidents and the United Nations

By John Allphin Moore Jr.; Jerry Pubantz | Go to book overview

The next day the UN-decreed cease-fire between India and Yahya Khan's forces went into effect. 67

Pakistan had been sundered in two, and the subcontinent would remain a flashpoint for the future. But, for the time, a wider war had been avoided. In the halls of the United Nations, stalwart efforts by the United States had produced Soviet-American cooperation and a multilateral resolution to a tough problem.


China

Nixon may well be judged in the long term for his diplomatic initiative with China. In retrospect, his approach to the Middle Kingdom is not as curious as some at the time thought. During his political exile in the 1960s, Nixon had spent considerable time thinking through major foreign policy challenges. His musings on China were revealed in an article he wrote in 1967 in Foreign Affairs. 68 He summarized his views by saying, "We simply cannot afford to leave China outside the family of nations." In his address before the General Assembly in 1969 he said, "Whenever the leaders of Communist China choose to abandon their self-imposed isolation, we are ready to talk with them in...[a] frank and serious spirit." 69

But revealing our receptiveness to mainland China's eventual entrance into the international community would have a serious impact on our traditional policy toward China. Since Mao Zedong's communist victory in the civil war against Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in 1949, the United States had firmly maintained recognition of Chiang's Nationalist regime, exiled on the island of Taiwan, as the legitimate government of China. We continually supported the seating of Taipei's representative as the permanent Chinese member of the United Nations, and opposed any effort to allow Mao's government into the organization. The intransigence of this policy derived from the fractious political debate that had raged after 1949, when Republicans accused the Truman administration of "losing" China. Nixon had been part of this political attack. The ensuing rise of "McCarthyism," the "red scare" of the 1950s, and China's support for North Korea in the Korean conflict all

____________________
67
For two differing interpretations of the story see Kissinger, White House Years, 861-914; and Ambrose, Nixon, II, 482-485.
68
" Asia After Vietnam," Foreign Affairs 46 ( October 1967): 121-124.
69
September 18, 1969, Item 365, PPP, 1969, 728.

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