The book is the first systematic analysis of the U.S.-PRC normalization decision-making process in terms of relevant models constructed by international relations theorists.
On the one hand, this study sheds new light on one of the most important United States foreign policy decisions of the 20th century. Normalization was a momentous “watershed” decision, the ramifications of which are still unfolding and are marked by profound change in world power configurations and within the Communist world.
On the other hand, this study attempts to make a modest contribution to theories of international relations and to the efficacy of decision-making models in demystifying some of the complexity of international relations in the contemporary world.
Specifically, by retrospective application of theoretic models (e.g., rational actor model, bureaucratic model, domestic politics model) for explanatory analysis of the normalization decision, the author demonstrates conclusively that it was an incredibly complex and multifaceted process involving a host of considerations.
Part I reviews U.S.-PRC relations to provide the historical context for normalization. Part II evaluates and differentiates decision-making models for a proper understanding of the normalization process.
This book was reviewed by Professor Allen S. Whiting (China Quarterly, September 1988, No. 115, pp. 479-480). “Theory, fact and analysis are tightly woven into a sophisticated, lucid and logical reconstruction of developments testing alternative foci on the state as rational actor, bureaucratic politics, domestic politics, and models of idiosyncratic, cognitive, and cybernetic behavior,” Professor Whiting wrote.