Dilemma and Decision: An Organizational Perspective on American China Policy Making

Dilemma and Decision: An Organizational Perspective on American China Policy Making

Dilemma and Decision: An Organizational Perspective on American China Policy Making

Dilemma and Decision: An Organizational Perspective on American China Policy Making

Excerpt

This is a study of the role of U.S. institutions in China policy making. It examines the dilemma that the United States faced in conducting its relations with both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China in Taiwan in the late 1970s and how U.S. governmental institutions helped American leaders resolve the dilemma. By exploring the rationality or irrationality of concluding, within four months, two documents with seeming contradictions -- the agreements to normalize U.S.-China relations signed in December 1978 and the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA) passed in April 1979 -- this book analyzes the various factors and the processes on the U.S. side that led to their occurrence and the dynamic between the president and the Congress in directing China policy. My purpose in writing this book is to provide a better understanding of how U.S. constitutional and institutional mechanisms helped to resolve the conflicting interests affecting China policy and the way in which various domestic political forces, groups, individuals, and institutions shaped the processes.

This book grew out of my doctoral dissertation. It was inspired by my interests in U.S. government and the policymaking process. As a graduate student from the People's Republic of China, I wanted to understand American government. I became interested in congressional involvement in China policy making and was particularly interested in the case of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). I chose the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) for my graduate study, partly because of its geographical proximity to U.S. government.

The U.S. government is often viewed as decentralized and fragmented along bureaucratic, partisan, and institutional lines; in this view, Washington does not act purposefully and coherently in formulating "rational" national policy in the face of a complicated problem. Yet the process of formulating the TRA suggested something different. The TRA seemed to be a rational result of a . . .

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