WHILE PAT Nixon was swapping Musk oxen for Panda bears and sampling the cuisine in the kitchen of the Peking Hotel, the President bartered away Taiwan in exchange for a ticket to ride until '76.
The Media Men caught it all--live TV in color via satellite. What they failed to show behind the spray paint veneer was the burial of the old containment policy ideology.
The tronies and absurdities were all there, befitting such a grand show. There stood Richard Nixon stalwart of Dulles's moribund cold war strategy of the fifties shaking hands with Premier Chou En-lat and Chairman Mao Tse-tung and reciting quotations from Mao himself (even if only from his poems). Equally absurd to see was Chiang Ching, ultra-leftist leader of the Cultural Revolution and wife of Mao, flanked by the Nixons at "The Red Detachment of Women" showing at Peking's Great Hall of the People.
Middle America was treated to a first-class TV farce. The commentators nightly huddled together with nothing to say, waiting for Press Secretary Ziegler to bail them out once again with another vapid press release praising the Chinese hospitality the analogy of the week award was given to one clever reporter who thought that China was more intriguing than the moon. But every one agreed that Erik Sevareid topped it with his continuous mane mutterings that the Chinese educational system was calculated to destroy the minds of Chinese youth. (Sound familiar?) But the Nixons did try to show their appreciation Pat Nixon, dutifully fulfilled her material duties by falling in love with the children and the food "I love Chinese cooking anywhere in the world but it's especially good in China."
EACH SIDE expected some gains from the talks Nixon came to negotiate the basis for a post-Vietnam Asian alliance. The Chinese wanted Taiwan returned And each sought new trade agreements.
America essentially negotiated out of weakness despite all the media hype. As the late Edgar Snow reported, the Chinese believe that the failures of the Cambodians and Laotian invasions led Nixon to recognize his ultimate defeat in S.E. Asia and of the strategies of containment and enticement. With intensive "protective reaction air strikes" as Nixon and Kissinger's only weapon to assure negotiation credibility, Asians recognize that America's bombing policy is an empty threat--though a threat nonetheless. While Nixon and Kissinger are banking on this continued genocide to get them out of S.E. Asia, somehow, short of complete capitulation, they realize that some long-range policies are needed.
The Cultural Revolution and subsequent stability allowed the Chinese unprecedented strength and confidence. According to B.U. Professor Ishwer C. Ojha, who recently returned from a month visit to China with the Committee for a New China Policy, China has rethought foreign policy strategy since '68. In view of the notable lack of third world struggles and the failures of others, in particular in Palestine, Ojha points out "there is now a post '68 emphasis on state to state relations through bilateral negotiations."
The Chinese view their major threat (or contradiction) as Russian's encirclement. Mao outlined the theory of dealing with major and minor contradictions in the "Thirties with the United Front strategy. Viewing the problem in terms of dialectics. Mao's tacties relied on alliances with the minor enemy--or "contradiction" (at that time, Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist forces) to combat the major contradiction (in that case, Japanese imperialism). This is the theoretical grounding for China's detente with America--a supposed enemy. While American imperialism has now been reduced to a minor contradiction. Chou told Ross Terrill of Harvard last July in Peking that Soviet leaders are "successors of Dulles." China's fear of Russia has led to a seriously myopic stand on Bangladesh. They are seriously rethinking their analysis that Russia's support of India was the primary contradiction while the reactionary Pakistan government was only the minor one.
Both the Chinese and Americans have shown a common interest in regaining ground lost to Russia during the Sixties. Russia has stood as the principal beneficiary of China's diplomatic isolation and America's quagmire in Vietnam. While China views the Russian threat in terms of encirclement, America's concern is on a more global scale commensurate with its wider influence.
Increase of trade will bring substantial gains for both America and China. Ojha received a clear impression from his trip that the Chinese are embarking on an intensive industrialization campaign in the countryside. The People's Republic is now prepared to pay for specific industrial goods needed for modernization. But professors Benjamin Schwartz and Ojha are quick to stress that this does not mean the Chinese are now going to rely on foreign trade to prop up the economy as was the case with Russian aid in the early Fifties.
To American investors. Chinese represents a vast untapped source of new markets. One drug company executive summed up the American attitude, saying, "If we sell each of them (every individual in China) one aspirin, then that's selling a lot of aspirin." On February 14, just before his departure. Nixon removed from the embargo list many goods China had shown interest in buying but which had been blocked by Pentagon objections. These items included locomotives, internal combustion engines, and other industrial equipment.
WHILE NIXON'S short talks with Chou only settled details of Kissinger's intensive negotiations of last summer and fall, substantial results were achieved.
The Chinese obtained significant concessions from Nixon and Kissinger, most particularly on Taiwan. These were a precondition to negotiation as the late Edgar Snow has reported. Ross Terrill hinted recently in the Atlantic magazine that last July in Peking Kissinger agreed in principle to the Chinese demands on the Taiwan question. Specifically, America agreed in the joint communique issued on February 27 in Shanghai.
The United States acknowledges that all Chinese...maintain there is but one China and that Taiwan is a part of China. The United States government does not challenge that position. It reaffirms its interest in a peaceful settlement of the Taiwan question by the Chinese themselves. With this prospect in mind it affirms the ultimate objective of the withdrawal of all US forces and military installations from Taiwan. In the meantime, it will progressively reduce its forces and military installations on Taiwan as the tension of the area diminishes (emphasis added)
In essence America abandons its claim to any say on the final status of Taiwan and agrees to let this internal question be settled "by the Chinese themselves on a bilateral basis. The Chinese were generous in their return concessions. Nothing at all was mentioned about America's defense commitments to Taiwan of 1955. That China allows the old treaty to stand bails Nixon out of a jam with the far-Right at home already up in arms over what William F. Buckley has charged in his syndicated column "a staggering capitulation" on the Taiwan question.