At Cross Purposes: U.S.-Taiwan Relations Since 1942

In This Review

At Cross Purposes: U.S.-Taiwan Relations Since 1942

By Richard C. Bush
M. E. Sharpe, 2004
304 pp. $76.95
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As the former chairman and managing director of the American Institute in Taiwan (Washington's "unofficial embassy"), Bush can tell an insider's story of U.S.-China-Taiwan relations. In this book of essays, he acts as both knowledgeable historian of and informative guide to that complex triangle. He starts with the question of how President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided that Taiwan should be returned to China and goes on to evaluate the delicate question of the U.S. stance toward the Kuomintang's repression. His most valuable contribution is a careful analysis of the drafting of three U.S.-Chinese communiqués, nearly sacred texts ritually referred to by officials of both countries but seldom analyzed in detail. Bush takes seriously both U.S. pledges to Taiwan and the importance of smooth U.S.-Chinese relations; Washington, he argues, must uphold its commitments to and put constraints on both countries. He also ends on an optimistic note: a Chinese attack on Taiwan is unlikely, and Taiwan's democratization is, contrary to the assertions of many diplomats, a positive development.