Downen argues that the idea of constraining Soviet adventurism through broadening U.S. ties with the P.R.C. is a flawed strategy because China is a weak and underdeveloped country. Moreover, the preoccupation with China relegates Japan and other regional allies to a subordinate status. While continuing cooperation with Beijing is desirable "within reason," there is no need to offer ever greater concessions to Beijing. He sees the two options open to the Reagan Administration as increasing either strategic or developmental assistance to China and he comes down on the side of the latter. While some of his criticism of the Carter Administration is legitimate, Downen's treatment of Carter's China policy is heavily polemical and one-sided.
Get the best of Foreign Affairs' book reviews delivered to you.