Magazine July 18, 2011, Issue

Opening to the East

(Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)
On China, by Henry Kissinger (Penguin, 586 pp., $36)

Pres. Richard Nixon entered office with a grand plan to reshuffle the geopolitical deck. China had top billing in his designs, and an opening to Beijing was within reach. Nixon primarily wanted a China card to play against the Soviet Union. He also viewed relations with Beijing as a potential way to exit Vietnam honorably.

China wanted — desperately needed — a thaw with the United States as well. Beijing was emerging from the horrendous Cultural Revolution unleashed by Chairman Mao Tse-tung. The Soviet Union was prepared to “smash” China as border disputes between the two powers were escalating. And, by

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Dan BlumenthalMr. Blumenthal is the director of Asian studies at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of The China Nightmare: The Grand Ambitions of a Decaying State.

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