Isolation and Engagement

Presidential Decision Making on China from Kennedy to Nixon
William Waltman Newmann
Personal presidential style profoundly affects China policy, both in and outside the administration


Presidents and their advisors consistently seek to improve the management of their foreign policy decision processes. This book analyzes the successes and failures of administrations from Kennedy to Nixon as they sought to strike a balance between the personal style of the president and the need for a strong interagency structure that could systematically evaluate policy options. The narrative focuses on US decision making on China and Taiwan during the crucial era when the US was considering moving from a policy of isolating China to a policy of engagement, culminating in Nixon’s historic 1972 trip to China. William Waltman Newmann has created an Evolution-Balancing model, tested with case studies focusing on China policy by Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford, showing how the relationships between a president and his advisors change based on the weaknesses or pathologies of the president’s management style. The author’s research is based on declassified archival material from the Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford presidential libraries.
William Waltman Newmann is Associate Professor of Political Science at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Praise / Awards

  • “Professor Newmann brings the reader inside the White House for an intimate portrait of America’s relationship with a key figure in world politics today. A fascinating and informative book.”

    —Richard W. Waterman, University of Kentucky

  • “. . . expands existing theoretical understanding of foreign policy decision making by developing and applying a new theoretical model—the evolution-balance model—to analyze the Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon Administrations.”

    —Justin Vaughn, Author of Czars in the White House: The Rise of Policy Czars as Presidential Management Tools

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 464pp.
  • 9 tables, 11 figures.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2022
  • Forthcoming
  • 978-0-472-13308-6

  • $94.95 U.S.

Related Products