Steven M. Goldstein, Polity Press, 2015
Relations between Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China have oscillated between outright hostility and wary detente ever since the Archipelago seceded from the Communist mainland over six decades ago. While the mainland has long coveted the island, Taiwan has resisted – aided by the United States which continues to play a decisive role in cross-strait relations today. In this comprehensive analysis, noted China specialist Steven Goldstein shows that although relations between Taiwan and its larger neighbor have softened, underlying tensions remain unresolved. These embers of conflict could burst into flames at any point, engulfing the whole region and potentially dragging the United States into a dangerous confrontation with the PRC. Guiding readers expertly through the historical background to the complexities of this fragile peace, Goldstein discusses the shifting economic, political and security terrain, and examines the pivotal role played by the United States in providing weapons and diplomatic support to Taiwan whilst managing a complex relationship with an increasingly powerful China. Drawing on a wealth of newly declassified material, this compelling and insightful book is an invaluable guide to one of the world’s riskiest, long-running conflicts.