By Patrick Tyler
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Extra resources for A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China
Still, Mao might have relished the confrontation—and its dialectics. He believed that the key to winning wars was to make your enemy believe that you have no fear of war. China, he would say, with its vast population and its capacity to "eat bitterness," could absorb punishment better than any adversary. He once told a visitor that the warmonger image he had acquired suited his purposes, laced as it was with Mao's sober calculation—even conservatism—in military strategy. Mao understood the art of war, and, over the years, his warmonger image instilled great caution in the Soviet Union and other adversaries who contemplated attacking China.
Mao understood the art of war, and, over the years, his warmonger image instilled great caution in the Soviet Union and other adversaries who contemplated attacking China. Today, Mao's notion of fearlessness remains deeply imbedded in the Chinese military establishment. In 1979, China fought a brief border war with Vietnam. Chinese troops, flghting with antiquated weapons and uncoordinated ground tactics, and without air support, suffered tens of dtousands of casualties before reaching their objective.
Both Clinton and his Secretary of State Christopher had upheld that standard during their first two years in office. Indeed, Christopher and his assistant secretary for East Asian affairs, Winston Lord, had repeatedly promised Chinese leaders that Lee would not be admitted. But in May 1995, Lee Teng-hui was able to exploit the zeal of an incoming Republican Congress to turn the tide of American politics and pressure Clinton to issue the visa. All of Clinton's senior advisers had concurred with the decision—including Christopher, Perry, and Lake.
A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China by Patrick Tyler