|Abstract: ||The goal of this article is to construct a useful typology of ideas that influence foreign policy preferences that individuals hold, using a case study of the ideas embedded in the general debates over US. policy to the PRC and Taiwan. This article builds on the typology of policy-relevant ideas provided by Goldstein and Keohane, and (1) argues that “world views” is actually best viewed as packages of more basic ideas and (2) calls for the addition of a new category of ideas, “ordering principles,” that along with “principled beliefs” and “cause-effect ideas” help explain differences in inter- and intra-world view policy preference.|
Based on this theoretical framework, the article provides an overview of the debates in the United States regarding the policy importance of China and Taiwan. The argument is that there exist four main types of ideas-based world views in the United States toward the China-Taiwan issue: “international liberalism,” “sentimental liberalism,” “international liberalism, “and “sentimental liberalism.” These main orientations-as well as important ideational variation within them-help explain the diversity of opinion found in the general discussions of whether Taiwan poses a threat to stable Sino-American relations. Whether a “Taiwan threat” exists,
therefore, depends on the ideas and preferences of those you ask.