Margaret MacMillan’s (Paris 1919) new book Nixon in China: One Week that Changed the World, provides one small, long overdue measure of rehabilitation for the presidency of Richard Nixon. MacMillan is right in singling out Nixon’s trip to China in February 1972 as one of the most significant diplomatic feats in history. To be sure, Nixon’s insecurity was a tragi-comic flaw that would be his political undoing, but many people forget that in the coldest days of the Cold War, the deft geopolitical manuevering of Nixon-Kissinger kept the Russians and Chinese in check, setting the stage for Ronald Reagan and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
But make sense of this non-sequitor by reviewer Roger Morris (former staff member of Kissinger’s National Security Council) in the Sept. 30th edition of the Globe and Mail: “If only the White House of 2006 could summon the vision and courage to reach across the fear and ignorance…as Nixon and Kissinger once did.” Reach out to whom, Mr. Morris? Can you identify which cave in which country we should be directing our new efforts at bridge building and detente?
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