By Patrick Tyler
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Extra info for A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China
And it would wreck die Asian economies, already reeling from capital flight and a major economic contraction that began in 1997. The risk of war was startlingly apparent in the Taiwan crisis of T996, where this book will begin. That crisis of dangerous ballistic missile firings and American naval deployments brought the United States closer to military confrontation widi mainland China than at any time since the Eisen*The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 states, "It is the policy of the United States .
A final truth is this: After three decades, America's opening with China is still only beginning. During the Cold War and the first decade after it ended, the relationship between China and the United States was never defined on its own merits. China policy was always a component or a feature of some other policy. In 1972, the Nixon opening sprang from the president's urgent desire to end the war in Vietnam by undermining support for Hanoi. Nixon then played Beijing off against Moscow to improve America's advantage in setting limits on the growth of nuclear arsenals and in reducing tensions in Europe and die Middle East.
When his eyes pulled away from the general's grim accounting of what might occur, Clinton looked around the table at Warren Christopher, secretary of state, Bill Perry, secretary of defense, and Anthony Lake, his national security adviser, and told them how alarmed he was. The situation in the Taiwan Strait was a powder keg, and they were going to have to do everything they could to head off die looming catastrophe. He did not want any of the terrifying scenarios in Shali's briefing to come to pass, he said.