This essay contends that the greatest difficulty underlying the understanding of Washington- Beijing-Taipei relations is how the issue should be approached. The strategic triangle approach, which explains the configuration of the triangle based on the relationships between nations, lacks a mechanism that converts individual actions into collective outcomes. The realist tradition provides rich theoretical insights, but is too broad to specify the initial conditions that are required to predict particular kinds of state behavior. Finally, policy analysis, while popular among area specialists, tends to focus on dyadic relationships and thus downplays the complexity of multilateral interactions. To solve these problems, we need to study the strategic interactions among Washington, Beijing and Taipei and to examine how domestic politics in each case shape the interests of the incumbents. A theory thus constructed can reveal the dynamic nature of the Washington-Beijing-Taipei triangle.