Taiwan, Hong Kong, and The United States, 1945-1992: Uncertain Friendships by Nancy Bernkopf Tucker

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Nancy Bernkopf Tucker
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Taiwan, Hong Kong, and The United States, 1945-1992: Uncertain Friendships

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Book review

American foreign policy in Asia has long been preoccupied with mainland China. But the end of the Cold War and the 1989 Tiananmen massacre have forced the U.S. to think in new ways about the "other" Chinese in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The events at Tiananmen dramatize the human rights dilemma inherent in Hong Kong's scheduled 1997 return to Beijing. And they highlight Taiwan's rapid transformation, initiated in the 1980s, into a freer, democratic society. At the end of the Cold War, Nancy Bernkopf Tucker asserts, these developments challenge the United States to take more seriously than ever its relations with Taiwan and Hong Kong - to approach both not as strategic players in the game of dominoes but as significant forces in their own right. No other study so clearly focuses American thinking on relations with Hong Kong and Taiwan. Surveying post-1945 U.S. ties with both areas in the context of earlier historical interaction, Tucker explores commerce and trade, military imperatives and political priorities, as well as cultural controversies over Westernization and tradition, bringing to light trends and events in the first comprehensive analysis of these relationships. Tucker reexamines Washington's continual efforts to sustain its uncertain friends through economic assistance and military protection in spite of their sometimes divergent goals and antagonistic policies. The U.S. was not above using its Asian clients to further selfish national interests or cold war strategies but in its dealings with the Nationalist Chinese frequently found itself manipulated rather than dominant. In Hong Kong, Tucker probes the changing dimensions of American support for British control of its CrownColony, the pivotal role of the United States in Hong Kong's burgeoning economy, and Washington's use of Hong Kong as a strategic foothold and a base for espionage. Tucker also investigates the impact of immigrants from Taiwan and Hong Kong in the U.S., ranging from achievements in a

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