While domestic politics is divided between Congress and the White House, generally along partisan lines, President Bill Clinton’s al-out engagement policy toward China, announced shortly after he began his second term in office, is aimed at fostering a Sino-US partenship for the twenty-first century. Below, I shall explain that this policy came at the end of three separate policy reviews conducted since Clinton’s first term. Here, though, I would like to note that rationale of the new China policy is in keeping with the requirements of the new world order, to meet the challenge posed by the three attributes identified above. As is often noted, US policy toward China has followed two opposing pulls since 1972: When guided by the strategic icate, Washington would treat China as an ally in its own contention with an even more ominous threat, such as the former Soviet Union. But when the human-rights issue or other considerations won out, China would end up being a rogue state or, worse still, an enemy of the United States (cf. Wing Wan 1997). When geneconomic considerations entered into the picture, China would be seen as a threat or challenge, in its own right, to America’s economic security (witness the $50 billion deficit in America’s trade with China!). Beginning with his second term, however, Clinton opted to follow the strategic pull (Wing Wan, p. 249), for reasons I shall explain in due course.
Hsiung, J. C. (1998). New world order and a new U.S. policy toward China (CAPS Working Paper Series No.79). Retrieved from Lingnan University website: http://commons.ln.edu.hk/capswp/34
CAPS Working Paper Series No.79 (7/98)