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Mortimer Graves, as the executive secretary of the American Council of Learned Societies, championed a National Center for Far Eastern Studies in the mid-1930s to address the shortfall of American East Asia experts. Graves reached for a national solution because of a progressive worldview that valued centralization and looked to European institutions as models. A National Center would incorporate Far Eastern Studies into the New Deal state and provide a u.s. response to French, German, and English orientalism centers. World War ii changed Graves’ view, however. Valued as u.s. national security assets, Asia specialists found employment in the upper echelons of military and civilian intelligence agencies as educators and analysts. No longer an insecure field, Graves saw the value in institutional diversity, becoming a champion of a university-based model of Far Eastern area studies after 1943. Centralization and respect for government lay dormant within the field, blooming atavistically as East Asia specialists became crucial knowledge producers for the u.s. government during the Cold War.

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

It is well known that President Richard M. Nixon’s 1972 visit to the People’s Republic of China (prc) established an anti-Soviet alliance between Beijing and Washington that reshaped the global Cold War power balance. Naturally, scholars have focused on strategic issues such as the Sino-Soviet split, the Vietnam War, Taiwan, and other factors of “high politics” to understand the u.s.-China rapprochement. However, one can no longer dismiss u.s.-prc trade in the 1970s, albeit small in total volume, as insignificant and thus unimportant to the reconciliation. This article first examines how the Johnson and Nixon administrations conceived trade as a useful tool to improve relations with Communist China. It then explores how the Americans and Chinese carried out trade between themselves in the 1970s. It argues that many Americans were enthusiastic about u.s.-prc trade because they believed that reopened economic relations with the United States would persuade the prc to abandon its Communist model of modernization and move closer to following the capitalist example. If the United States could promote China’s attraction to its capitalist model for future development, then their shared economic interests and developmental visions would consolidate further the u.s.-China strategic alliance. In this sense, promoting trade was a way for the United States to apply soft power to change the prc.

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

The University of Illinois has one of the largest international student populations from China in the United States. An u.s.-based journalist recently headlined it as the “University of China at Illinois” and the sobriquet has caught fire in China. Actually, the university has a long history of connection and engagement with China that stretches back to 1908–1909, at a time when the United States was not yet a significant global power in the Pacific. This essay looks at the dreams, hopes, and problems in this long history in the changing context of u.s.-China relations, which involved using American education to shape the hearts and minds of young Chinese before the idea of “soft power” became popular.

In: Journal of American-East Asian Relations
In: Small Countries in a Big Power World: The Belgian-Dutch Conflict at Versailles, 1919
In: Small Countries in a Big Power World: The Belgian-Dutch Conflict at Versailles, 1919