China's Opening to the U.S.: The Statecraft of Zhou Enlai
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
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Zhou Enlai, who served as Chinas Premier from the founding of the Peoples Republic of China PRC in 1949 to his death in 1976, was also his countrys top diplomat. Zhou, of course, did not make foreign policy by himself. Mao Zedong was the ultimate arbiter of Chinese foreign policy, just as he was of domestic affairs. Zhous role was that of trusted advisor to Mao -- the indispensable chief minister who devised the strategy and tactics to implement the Chairmans foreign policy vision. This essay applies Deibels analytical framework to examine the national security strategy, advanced by Zhou, that produced one of the PRCs greatest foreign policy achievements -- the opening to the United States in the early 1970s. This policy succeeded in meeting its main geopolitical objectives of countering the Soviet threat to Chinese security and breaking Chinas diplomatic isolation. Zhous achievement is particularly impressive because of the weakness of the Chinese position -- in part due to self-inflicted damage stemming from the Cultural Revolution -- and because of the domestic constraints resulting from heightened factional contention in Chinese leadership in the early 1970s. Zhous realistic assessment of the world situation, his ability to set priorities and compromise on less important goals to meet higher objectives, and his consummate diplomatic skills were key to his success.
- Government and Political Science
- Humanities and History