Conclusions

  • Mara Oliva
Chapter

Abstract

This concluding chapter evaluates the findings of the analysis of the relationship between American public opinion and the Eisenhower Administration’s foreign policy toward the People’s Republic of China. This examination suggests that first, with reference to the expectations of the realist and Wilsonian liberal models, the pattern of the public’s influence on this intensive case study can be generally described as either no-impact or minor constraint during military crises. However, although this seems to indicate that the realists are correct when they say that public opinion is not relevant to national security issues during agenda setting, they go too far when they insist that this prevents public opinion from influencing other policy aspects. Second, both President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, in line with their realist beliefs about public opinion, did not let popular feelings shape their national security agenda but used them only as warning signs to determine whether opposition was building against a policy. Consequently, public opinion did not influence the administration’s hard line policy toward Beijing as previously assumed by historians and political scientists. The decision not to relax tensions with Communist China remained solely with the President and the Secretary of State.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mara Oliva
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of ReadingReadingUK

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