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Views of the Cuban Communist Party on the Collapse of Soviet and Eastern European Socialism
In Cuba Was Different, Even Sandvik Underlid explores the views of Cuban authorities, official press, and Party members as they reflect back on the collapse of Soviet and Eastern European socialism. In so doing, he contributes to a better understanding as to why the Cuban system – often associated with Fidel Castro’s leadership – did not itself collapse. Despite the loss of its most important allies, key ideological referents, and even most of its foreign trade, Cuba did not embrace capitalism.

The author critically examines and analyzes the collapse of the USSR and Eastern Europe as reported in the Cuban Communist Party newspaper Granma, both as they unfolded and subsequently through the lens of additional interviews with individual Party members. This focus on Cuba’s Communist Party provides new perspectives on how these events were seen from Cuba and on the notable resilience of many party members.
Volume Editors: Boris Barth and Rolf Hobson
The civilizing mission associated with nineteenth-century colonialism became harder to justify after the First World War. In an increasingly anti-imperialist culture, elites reformulated schemes for the “improvement” of “inferior” societies. Nation building, social engineering, humanitarianism, modernization or the spread of democracy were used to justify outside interventions and the top-down transformation of non-western, international or even domestic societies.

The contributions in Civilizing Missions in the Twentieth Century discuss how these justifications influenced Polish nation building, Scandinavian disarmament proposals and technocratic social policies in the interwar years. Treatment of the second half of the century covers the changing cultural context of European humanitarianism, as well as the influence of American social science on US foreign policy, more particularly democracy promotion.

Contributors are: Boris Barth, Rolf Hobson, Jürgen Osterhammel, Frank Ninkovich, Bianka Pietrow-Ennker, Karen Gram-Skjoldager, Esther Moeller, and Jost Dülffer.
Authors: Sam Wong and Brian Wong

Abstract

Analysis of the writings of Kuang Qizhao and other Chinese self-strengtheners suggests that their emphasis on promoting education before democracy and continuing to endorse classical Confucianism were not signs of a retrograde kind of conservatism, but an entirely rational decision based on the actual experiences of late Qing observers of 19th Century American democracy. Observing the U.S. Congress’s passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Chinese officials observed the real dangers of demagogue led populism without an educated, moral citizenry and the apparent importance of Christianity to creating the moral foundation for an effective modern society. For Kuang, Confucianism was equivalent to Christianity to establish that moral basis, and not a conservative desire to preserve the old social order. Kuang would pass on his thoughts to some of China’s most important reformers and officials on his return home, suggesting he and the officials he associated with had a more realistic and sophisticated understanding of American society and democracy than is currently assumed.

In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations
In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations
In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations
Author: Rong (Aries) Li

Abstract

This article investigates the storytelling and mythmaking about the American Volunteer Group (avg), popularly known as the Flying Tigers, in the United States during World War ii. The avg was an aircrew of discharged U.S. military pilots and mechanics that China hired to assist in its war against Japan. Although this group was in combat for only seven months, its exploits became legendary in the United States. Based on examination of newspaper reports, magazine articles, Hollywood movies, popular biographies, and declassified documents, this article shows that Americans interpreted the avg’s service as proof of U.S. benevolence and superiority. It demonstrates that wartime stories about the avg helped many Americans regain confidence and assure their identities as racially and technologically superior people after enduring the shock of Pearl Harbor and Japan’s advance in Asia and Pacific. In this mythmaking process, Americans marginalized both the harmful impact of the avg personnel’s misconduct and the important contributions Chinese made to the avg. This article not only challenges the “Good War” image of World War ii in U.S. popular memories, but also seeks to contribute to the broader scholarly understanding of how popular memories of a nation’s overseas interventions affect its identity.

In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations
Author: Edward Ashbee

Abstract

Whereas the Obama administration had equivocated, the Trump White House declared its vehement opposition to the Belt and Road Initiative (bri). This shift went together with the Trump administration’s designation of the People’s Republic of China (prc) as a strategic competitor and a broader deterioration in bilateral relations. However, as it began to posit alternatives to the bri, the Trump administration fell back on the policy thinking of the established foreign policy community. In doing this, it tacitly accepted the importance of soft power and the adoption of strategies requiring close cooperation with allies and partners so as to develop regional infrastructural “connectivity” projects. The White House thereby stepped back from the unilateralism, “principled realism,” and reliance upon hard power that had defined Donald J. Trump’s 2015–2016 presidential campaign. Nonetheless, U.S. efforts to develop policy alternatives to the bri were limited, unstable, and variegated. The Trump administration’s actions in other policy arenas often stymied efforts to counter the prc and initiatives such as the build Act and “Prosper Africa” received scant resources. On the basis of this policy pattern, the article argues that policy communities at times can “harness” other counter-positioned, political currents, but ongoing ideational stresses and abrasion will inevitably characterize the process.

In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations