James Mann is a foreign policy columnist at the Los Angeles Times and the author of About Face: A History of America's Curious Relationship with China, From Nixon to Clinton.

Recognition of China in 1972 began a quarter century of often difficult relations between the United States and the world's most populous society. Despite the differing philosophies of successive American administrations, the principals of elite contact and secrecy guided diplomacy between the two countries for 25 years. In recent years public opinion has become more of a factor in these bilateral ties and Congress more of an actor. James Mann describes this history.