The irony of Vietnam
The emergence of a two-pronged China policy, 1965–66
in Piercing the bamboo curtain
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This chapter reviews the thawing of attitudes to Lyndon Baines Johnson's heightened interest in averting Chinese intervention in the conflict and to his attempts to mobilize public support for a frustratingly prolonged war by burnishing his peace credentials. A concluding section on the administration's simultaneous resistance to seating Beijing in the United Nations (UN) shows the tentative nature of this bridge-building and the obstacles that continued to impede bolder initiatives at this time. China's foreign-policy defeats had a contradictory impact on the administration's thinking. Johnson's aides continued to point to the threat of Chinese-inspired subversion as a major justification for the war in Vietnam. It was no coincidence that the high-water mark of policy innovation in 1966 fitted with Johnson's personal engagement with China strategy, a level of interest which hitherto had been lacking.

Piercing the bamboo curtain

Tentative bridge-building to China during the Johnson years


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