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Strait Talk: United States-Taiwan Relations and the Crisis with China

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0674060524
ISBN-10: 0674060520
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Editorial Reviews

Review

An important work that will make a strong impact and be widely read. Tucker argues that relations between the U.S. and Taiwan, and between the U.S. and China, are difficult today because successive American administrations knowingly created expectations in Taipei and Beijing that could not be met. She concludes that real progress in these relationships will require the United States to build trust. This book should provoke introspection in Washington, and will help readers everywhere understand this complex relationship.
--Shelley Rigger, author of Politics in Taiwan: Voting for Democracy

A signal contribution to an understanding of the desperately complex diplomatic history of Taiwan and the United States, this will become the 'go-to' book on the cross-Taiwan Strait problem.
--Alan M. Wachman, author of Why Taiwan? Geostrategic Rationales for China's Territorial Integrity

For nearly six decades, Taiwan has bedeviled U.S. foreign policy in East Asia, complicated the U.S. relationship with the People's Republic of China, and generated domestic passions of unusual intensity. Tucker provides a detailed and fascinating look at the policies and people, the mistakes and triumphs that have shaped U.S. relations with Taiwan. Readers will emerge with a far better appreciation of the reasons why she points to confrontation in the Taiwan Strait as 'the single most dangerous challenge for the United States in the world.'
--J. Stapleton Roy, former U.S. ambassador to China

Although Washington's Taiwan policy has been outwardly clear and consistent since 1972--defined by the so-called communiqué framework and the Taiwan Relations Act--Tucker shows that the actual negotiation record from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush was rife with confusion and mistrust. She focuses on the less-studied Washington-Taipei leg of the Beijing-Washington-Taipei triangle, tracing the interaction of policies and personalities with a level of detail made possible by extensive interviews and archival research and with a clarity of judgment made possible by a long familiarity with most of the protagonists. Tucker acknowledges that U.S. grand strategy during this time enjoyed some successes: China became a counterweight to the Soviet Union, and Taiwan survived. But she argues that the United States repeatedly yielded more to China than it had to, and the shoddy way it treated Taiwan created a legacy of mistrust not only in Taipei but also among allies throughout the region.
--Andrew J. Nathan (Foreign Affairs )

About the Author

Nancy Bernkopf Tucker was Professor of History at Georgetown University and at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (March 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674060520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674060524
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,040,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
by Nancy Bernkopf Tucker. Reviewed by Gerrit van der Wees

This is an excellent book, particularly for those who want to understand the ups and
downs in the triangular relations between the US, Taiwan and China, and how these
were influenced by various people during the past six decades. The author is
Professor Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, professor of history at Georgetown University
and at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. She is a diplomatic historian
who specializes in American-East Asian relations. In the book she covers events
and policy debates from the days of the Truman presidency all the way through the
end of the Bush administration in 2008.

Prof. Tucker did an incredible amount of research - both interviews and in archives
- which resulted in a highly readable account of the intricacies of US policy towards
Taiwan, as it moved from recognition of the Taipei authorities as "government of
China" to "informal" relations with "the people of Taiwan" after de-recognition of
the "ROC" in 1979.

An important contribution of the book is that it shows how the various personalities
shaped policies, and how the policies did vary significantly, depending on the
background, knowledge and political insights of the people involved. Tucker is
most unsparing in her criticism of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger and their
motivations. A quote (p. 68):

"Nixon and Kissinger viewed Taiwan as expendable, as less valuable than the strategic
and political advantages that a new relationship with the PRC would secure. As a
result, they decided to give Beijing what it wanted in order to make a deal.
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