The China Diary of George H. W. Bush: The Making of a Global President

The China Diary of George H. W. Bush: The Making of a Global President

Jeffrey A. Engel, George H. W. Bush

Language: English

Pages: 576

ISBN: 069113006X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Available in print for the first time, this day-by-day diary of George H. W. Bush's life in China opens a fascinating window into one of the most formative periods of his career. As head of the United States Liaison Office in Beijing from 1974 to 1975, Bush witnessed high-level policy deliberations and daily social interactions between the two Cold War superpowers. The China Diary of George H. W. Bush offers an intimate look at this fundamental period of international history, marks a monumental contribution to our understanding of U.S.-China relations, and sheds light on the ideals of a global president in the making.

In compelling words, Bush reveals a thoughtful and pragmatic realism that would guide him for decades to come. He considers the crisis of Vietnam, the difficulties of détente, and tensions in the Middle East, while lamenting the global decline in American power. He formulates views on the importance of international alliances and personal diplomacy, as he struggles to form meaningful relationships with China's top leaders. With a critical eye for detail, he depicts key political figures, including Gerald Ford, Donald Rumsfeld, Deng Xiaoping, and the ever-difficult Henry Kissinger. Throughout, Bush offers impressions of China and its people, describing his explorations of Beijing by bicycle, and his experiences with Chinese food, language lessons, and Ping-Pong.

Complete with a preface by George H. W. Bush, and an introduction and essay by Jeffrey Engel that place Bush's China experience in the broad context of his public career, The China Diary of George H. W. Bush offers an unmediated perspective on American diplomatic history, and explores a crucial period's impact on a future commander in chief.

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The Trains and Bar rushing off to see the Temple of Heaven. Drulovic is a good man. He is strongly biased, of course, towards socialism. But I can talk very frankly with him. I am continually worried about the way the anti-Americanism kind of feeds on itself in the climate of Peking. It is assisted ably by blasts in the Xinhua News, the red news, against the United States. In the June 25th issue for example there was a long blast by China’s delegation on the World’s Women’s Conference in Mexico.

Bill Cargo from Nepal wanted to come, but they have both been turned down.52 I wrote Oscar [Armstrong] telling him that I disagreed with the decision but would certainly abide by it. I think we need more openness. I realize that things are sensitive, but I believe the open approach is better. I don’t see how this could get us in trouble at all. Our trade with China will be way down this year. Less than half of what it was last year, with no great commercial deals in the mill. People will focus

visiting delegations—friendship. But they have no obligation at all to cooperate.82 Got up real early—clear and cool. Definitively cool at quarter of six in the morning. Took Fred for a walk. Unbelievable the change. It is the first day of fall. Autumn in China started about a week ago. Still hot in the daytime but much better today than it was last week. Amazing. Still get reports from South China of unrest in factories, unwillingness to pay overtime, workers are lectured that they should

Sihanouk’s constant political maneuverings, which intersected both Cold War power politics and the growing humanitarian crisis of his homeland, would present Washington, and Bush in particular, with the thorniest of political problems over the months to come. He would be a constant topic in Bush’s diary. Histories of the American involvement in Cambodia’s traumas during the 1970s are described in the bibliographic essay. 45Ambassador Bruce left China convinced that the country would soon come to

the Xinhua News Agency from 1972 to 1977. 8Wesley Gallagher joined the AP News Service in 1937, rising to become its president and general manager before his retirement in 1976. 9Bob Hope, longtime American comedian and entertainer, whose inoffensive humor made him a favorite of American presidents and a frequent White House entertainer, died in 2003 at the age of 100. 10“We had a very successful trip to Russia,” Hope deadpanned upon his return to the United States following his 1962 trip. “We

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