Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzeziński’s thinking on Taiwan question: his solution and prevention

ZHONG Houtao1,2

(1.Institute of Taiwan Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences)
(2.School of History, Capital Normal University)

【Abstract】In the 1970s, Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzeziński made great efforts on Taiwan question for the normalization of Sino-U.S. relationship, including putting forward the timetable for the first time, implementing three principles of “severing its diplomatic relations with Taiwan, abrogating the mutual defense treaty between the U.S. and Taiwan and withdrawing all U.S. forces from Taiwan” and so on. Still, he felt great pressure from his colleague the Secretary of State Vance, the Pro-Taiwan congressmen and the “Taiwan Lobby” behind. From this case study, it could be concluded that the U.S. made its Taiwan policy not just out of its national interest but also out of the competition within the executive branch and the completion between the executive branch and the congress.

【Keywords】 Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzeziński; Taiwan question; solution; prevention;

【Funds】 Youth Project of National Social Science Fund of China (16CGJ015)

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    Footnote

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    [4]. [4] Editor’s note: Brzeziński also deeply understands the importance of the Taiwan question, Taiwan is a problem for the United States; Taiwan is a challenge to China. The Taiwan question has further complicated Sino-U.S. relations, which in turn will determine the stability of East Asia and even the entire Eurasia. It must be admitted that how to deal with the Taiwan question will affect or even to some extent determine the development trend of Sino-U.S. relations. (Zbigniew Brzeziński, The Geostrategic Triad: Living with China, Europe and Russia, Washington D.C.: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2001. p. 11.)

    [5]. [5] [U.S.] Brzeziński, Z. Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser, 1977–1981. Qiu, Y. (trans.) Beijing: World Affairs Publishing House, 327 (1985).

    [6]. [6] Summary of Conclusions of a Policy Review Committee Meeting, Washington, June 27, 1977, enclosed in David p. Nickles ed., Foreign Relations of the United States:1977–1980 (Volume XIII, China), Department of State, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 2013. p. 106. Editor’s note: Another important proposal made by Brzeziński at this meeting is that the United States should significantly reduce its military power in Taiwan in the coming year.

    [7]. [7] Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzeziński) to President Carter, Washington, October 13, 1978, enclosed in David p. Nickles ed., Foreign Relations of the United States: 1977–1980 (Volume XIII, China), Department of State, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 2013. p. 566.

    [8]. [8] Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzeziński) to President Carter, Washington, October 13, 1978, enclosed in David p. Nickles ed., Foreign Relations of the United States:1977–1980 (Volume XIII, China), Department of State, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 2013. p. 566.

    [9]. [9] Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzeziński) to the Deputy Secretary of State (Christopher), Washington, December 26, 1978, enclosed in David p. Nickles ed., Foreign Relations of the United States: 1977–1980 (Volume XIII, China), Department of State, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 2013. p. 675.

    [10]. [10] Memorandum From Zbigniew Brzeziński, Richard Gardner, and Henry Owen to President-Elect Carter, Washington, November 3, 1976, enclosed in David p. Nickles ed., Foreign Relations of the United States: 1977–1980 (Volume XIII, China), Department of State, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 2013. p. 1.

    [11]. [11] Memorandum From Secretary of Defense Brown to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzeziński), Washington, February 9, 1977, enclosed in David p. Nickles ed., Foreign Relations of the United States: 1977–1980 (Volume XIII, China), Department of State, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 2013. p. 27.

    [12]. [12] Memorandum From the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Duncan) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Brzeziński, Washington, January 5, 1978, enclosed in David p. Nickles ed., Foreign Relations of the United States: 1977–1980 (Volume XIII, China), Department of State, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 2013. p. 280. Editor’s note: On January 5, 1978 and January 8, 1978, the U.S. Department of Defense submitted memoranda to Brzeziński twice in a row, reporting in detail the feasibility and implementation of the plan. On February 3, 1978, Brzeziński once again instructed the Department of Defense to limit the number of U.S. military personnel in Taiwan to 660 by August 1, 1978. Brzeziński pressed hard for this request. According to relevant information, he sent a memorandum on Friday and arrived at the Ministry of Defense on Saturday, but asked the Ministry of Defense to respond on Sunday.

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    [22]. [22] Editor’s note: Carter adopted a seemingly neutral but optimistic attitude towards the differences and contradictions between Vance and Brzeziński. According to Carter himself, it is that he very much hoped to see the difference between Vance and Brzeziński. In the final decision-making process of foreign policy, he needed to hear as many views as possible. (Jimmy Cater. Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President and Fred Greenstein. New York: Boncan Books, 1982. p. 52.)

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    [35]. [35] Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzeziński) to President Carter, Washington, July 29, 1977, enclosed in David p. Nickles ed., Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States:1977–1980 (Volume XIII, China), Department of State, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 2013. p. 122.

    [36]. [36] Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzeziński) to President Carter, Washington, July 29, 1977, enclosed in David p. Nickles ed., Foreign Relations of the United States:1977–1980 (Volume XIII, China), Department of State, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 2013. p. 122. Editor’s note: Brzeziński’s worries are not groundless. Later facts proved that after the announcement of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, the Taiwan Lobby continuously misled the American people into thinking that the United States was “selling” Taiwan. Of course, there are also some more objective and rational media expressing dissatisfaction. For example, on December 23, 1978, the Greensboro Daily News published a commentary titled “Selling Out Taiwan?” The article strongly refutes Carter’s claim that the United States sold Taiwan after he announced the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. It believes that this is the result of a trick by Taiwan Lobby, and thus the claim that the United States sold Taiwan is not in line with the facts. (“Selling Out Taiwan?”, Greensboro Daily News, December 23, 1978.)

    [37]. [37] Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, July 30, 1977, enclosed in David p. Nickles ed., Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States:1977–1980 (Volume XIII, China), Department of State, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 2013.p. 127. Editor’s note: Later, after Lee Teng-hui threw out his “two states” theory, Brzeziński also severely reprimanded him, saying that this was to legalize the division of China.

    [38]. [38] James C. H. Shen, The U.S. and Free China: How the U.S. Sold Out Its Ally. Acropolis Books, 1983. p. 218.

    [39]. [39] Chicago Sun-Times, June 1, 1982.

    [40]. [40] Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Brzeziński) to President Carter, Washington, July 29, 1977, enclosed in David p. Nickles ed., Foreign Relations of the United States:1977–1980 (Volume XIII, China), Department of State, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 2013. p. 122.

    [41]. [41] Robert L. Downen, The Taiwan Pawn in the China Game: Congress to the Rescue. Washington, D.C.: The Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, 1979. p. 29.

    [42]. [42] Warren I. Cohen & Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, “Beijing Friend, Moscow’s Foe”, in Charles Gati, The Strategy and Statecraft of Zbigniew Brzeziński, Baltimore: The John Hopkins University, 2013. p. 85.

    [43]. [43] Warren I. Cohen & Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, “Beijing Friend, Moscow’s Foe”, in Charles Gati, The Strategy and Statecraft of Zbigniew Brzeziński, Baltimore: The John Hopkins University, 2013. p. 85.

    [44]. [44] Warren I. Cohen & Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, “Beijing Friend, Moscow’s Foe”, in Charles Gati, The Strategy and Statecraft of Zbigniew Brzeziński, Baltimore: The John Hopkins University, 2013. p. 96.

    [45]. [45] Warren I. Cohen & Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, “Beijing Friend, Moscow’s Foe”, in Charles Gati, The Strategy and Statecraft of Zbigniew Brzeziński, Baltimore: The John Hopkins University, 2013. p. 101.

    [46]. [46] “Preface,” enclosed in David p. Nickles ed., Foreign Relations of the United States: 1977–1980 (Volume XIII, China), Department of State, Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 2013. p. x.

    [47]. [47] Zbigniew Brzeziński, Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era. New York: The Viking Press, Inc., 1971. p. 289.

    [48]. [48] Robert L. Downen, The Taiwan Pawn in the China Game: Congress to the Rescue. Washington, D.C.: The Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, 1979. p. 29.

    [49]. [49] Warren I. Cohen & Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, “Beijing Friend, Moscow’s Foe”, in Charles Gati, The Strategy and Statecraft of Zbigniew Brzeziński, Baltimore: The John Hopkins University, 2013. p. 90.

    [50]. [50] Robert L. Downen, The Taiwan Pawn in the China Game: Congress to the Rescue. Washington, D.C.: The Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, 1979. p. 30.

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    [57]. [57] Allison, G.T., Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuba Missile Crisis. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1971. p. 67.

    [58]. [58] Editor’s note: Brzeziński pays attention to the strength factor in its attitude towards the Soviet Union, pursues the diplomatic philosophy of offensive realism, and seeks normalization with China, which is the embodiment of this thought. In addition, Brzeziński’s efforts to promote the normalization of relations with China are also related to his own basic idea of opposing the Soviet Union from a strategic perspective as a Polish descendant.

    [59]. [59] Warren I. Cohen & Nancy Bernkopf Tucker, “Beijing Friend, Moscow’s Foe”, in Charles Gati, The Strategy and Statecraft of Zbigniew Brzeziński, Baltimore: The John Hopkins University, 2013. p. 91.

    [60]. [60] 布热津斯基言论选集. Compilation group of International Politics Department of Fudan University (trans.) Shanghai: Shanghai Translation Publishing House, 47 (1979).

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    [62]. [62] Michel Oksenberg, “A Decade of Sino-American Relations”, in Foreign Affairs, Vol.61, Fall 1982.

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ISSN:1006-6683

CN: 11-1728/C

Vol , No. 02, Pages 84-94

April 2018

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Abstract

  • 1 The behind-the-scenes promoter of “secret five-point agreement” gradually towards publicity
  • 2 The domestic political root of international relations: Brzeziński’s prevention
  • 3 Individuality of decision makers and structural constraints
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