A Passing Passage: When the U.S. was a model for China

I’m reading Margaret MacMillan’s Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World these days. Here’s a paragraph to consider from page 97.

In the early days of the republic, many Chinese looked to the United States as a model—of government, but also of a society. President Woodrow Wilson’s promises of a new world order founded on justice and peace, his talk of national self-determination, and his evident antipathy to Japanese attempts to dominate China and the rapid expansion of Japanese forces into Siberia in the wake of the Russian Revolution made him, briefly, a hero to nationalistic Chinese. That came to an abrupt end in 1919, when Wilson took a prominent role in the gift of former German posessions in China and Japan. The americans, so many Chinese concluded, were simply imperialists in republican clothing

Sometimes, it’s useful to remember that arrangements of the China–United States–Japan triangle have been so different in the last century as to seem a fantasy hypothetical—something out of a Star Trek: The Next Generation allegory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.