In this podcast interview, award-winning author John Pomfret discusses his newly published book, The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom, with National Committee President Stephen Orlins on January 23, 2017 in New York. Although the contemporary U.S.-China relationship has grown out of Nixon and Kissinger’s visits to China in the 1970s, the foundations of Sino-American exchange are hundreds of years old. Since the establishment of the United States, missionaries, traders, scholars, and laborers have formed bridges between the two cultures, tracing familiar patterns of interaction that continue to play out today. As points of contact between the U.S. and China have proliferated over the last two centuries, the relationship has consistently been characterized by enormous promise and deep ambivalence.
John Pomfret, former reporter for The Washington Post, and a long-time resident of China, takes a new look at the long history of U.S.-China relations in his recent book, The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom: America and China, 1776 to the Present. He describes cycles of mutual understanding and collaboration, and bitter disappointment. As U.S.-China relations approach a new inflection point, Mr. Pomfret’s account of the history of the relationship provides illuminating perspectives on the present.