- History -----
US had backed GMD in the 1930s. For many years following CCP victory in October 1949, US politicians had refused to call China by its proper name (People's Republic of China) instead preferring to refer to it as 'Red China.'
Democracts - constantly worried about being too 'soft' on Communist
Republicans - intense loyalty to Nationalist China in Taiwan (despite questionable leadership of Chiang.'
China was 'yellow peril,' US citezins were routinely known as 'vampires.'
But, as, in the 1960s Sino-Soviet deterioration of relations became publicised, Nixon sensed an opportunity to exploit the split.
- Force both Communist powers to abandon North Vietnam. Expensive War. Loss of US world prestige. Hoped that US could extract itself and that the Communist powers could refrain themselves from toppling Thieu until a 'decent interval' had gone by (presumably not until Nixon had left the White House.) 20 000 would go on to die in Nixon's presidency. 1969 $30 billion. Kissinger: 'need to recognize that our power, while vast, had llimits.' Wanted to make up for US military failures through new strategic alliances.
- Given recent border clashes, there was a significant possibility of a Soviet invasion of China. Nixon hoped to prevent this, and in doing so, prevent the further spread of Russian-style Communist in making China a satellite state.
- A friendship with China would allow the US to focus its entire nuclear arsenal on the USSR - China was now a threat too, nuclear power in 1962.
- So, underpinning this new attitude towards superpower relations: triangular diplomacy. Make Cold War relations more stable - foster friendly relations with enemies USSR and China…