Reassessment and Renewal

  • S. Mahmud Ali


After Washington’s 1994 “Republican revolution” and mixed electoral outcome in 1996, change was inevitable. Among officials responsible for “engaging” China, Joseph Nye had left. In January 1997, Madeleine Albright and William Cohen took over State Department and DoD, respectively. Both stressed continuity. Albright told Congress it was “absolutely essential for us to have this multi-faceted relationship with a country the size and importance of China… to have a policy where we think of isolating it is counterproductive to our national interests.”5 A series of high-level consultations had already been scheduled. Cohen, a just-retired Republican Senator, provided a bridge between the White House and Congress. His view that WMD proliferation was America’s “most serious problem”6 kept China high on the DoD agenda. Policymaking became better integrated. Albright, National Security Adviser Samuel Berger, and Cohen coordinated decisions at the White House “ABC meetings.” With Cohen’s links to the congressional majority, this proved helpful. In mid-January, Nye’s successor at DoD, Frank Kramer, met Beijing’s envoy on Taiwan, Wang Daohan, urging talks and highlighting DoD’s role in America’s China diplomacy.


Nuclear Weapon Chinese Firm Ballistic Missile Cruise Missile ASEAN Regional Forum 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© S. Mahmud Ali 2008

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  • S. Mahmud Ali

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