Richard Nixon’s Embrace of “Red China” – A Master Stroke of Foreign Policy.

[Note – This post is offered as another example of narrative paragraphing, used to describe an event.  It is important to recall that effective paragraphing is a keystone of clear writing.  Further, clear writing is the product of a positive thought process. More will be said about this subject in the next blog.]

 The impact of present relations between the U.S. and China should be examined in the context of  former President Richard Nixon’s legacy.

Before Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to the U.S. fades from memory, and bearing in mind the occasion of President Obama’s visit to China in 2009, it is fitting to put those visits in historical perspective.   Recall that it was President Nixon’s historic trip to Peking in 1972, some 40 years ago, which opened the door to improved relations with “Red China,” as the Chinese mainland was then known.  This trip took place after more than two decades of mutual estrangement, bitter hostility, isolation, and non-existent diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China.  The two countries had no framework in place for dealing with each other.  It was indeed a dramatic moment when Nixon was greeted by Chinese Premier Chou en-lai upon his arrival in Peking.  One era ended and another began, Nixon later accurately recorded in his memoirs.

Some would say there is nothing about Richard Nixon worth remembering.  But if one can cast aside the disgrace of Watergate and the horrors of Vietnam, horrors Nixon inherited from his predecessor, Lyndon B. Johnson, and focus instead on Nixon’s visit to China, it stands out as a major foreign policy accomplishment, one which should have earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.  Whatever else the personal shortcomings of Richard Nixon were, and there were apparently many, credit should be given where credit is due.  Opening up the gateway to China was a brilliant master stroke of foreign policy which revolutionized world diplomacy and world trade.  It was all the more remarkable in light of Nixon’s strong anti-communist stance during his political career.

The benefits of Nixon’s decision to visit China cannot be understated.  What had been a miniscule dollar amount of trade between the two countries, roughly five billion dollars in 1979, has grown to the staggering total of between four hundred billion and five hundred billion dollars today.  Moreover, cultural exchanges continue apace, involving many hundreds of exchange students.  Last year there were over three million mutual visits between the two countries.  Further, China, while still harboring a communist government, nurtures an emerging capitalist, market oriented economy, now ranked number two in the world, resulting in an ever improving life style for its people.  China today is the number one automobile market in the world.  American capitalistic icons GM and Ford are strongly entrenched there, as are McDonalds, and Coca Cola, and others.

Obama’s  2009 meeting with Chinese President Hu, and his recent meeting with Vice President Jinping, are signs of the continued  deepening of trust and respect between the two countries,  including the ongoing development of economic and cultural ties.  The top level exchanges with Chinese officials are an encouraging  and visible objective in this Administration’s somewhat obscure foreign policy.

Copyright 2012.  Arnold G. Regardie.  All rights reserved.

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