Margaret MacMillan: Nixon In China
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Nixon In China
The Week That Changed The World

Margaret MacMillan

Penguin Group (Canada), 2006

Topic: History

In 1972, Richard Nixon became the first American President to go to China. The visit, planned in secret, amazed the world and marked the end of the deep freeze in Sino–American relations that started with the Communist takeover in 1949. It was an immense gamble but a brilliant stroke of policy, changing the international balance of power. With China onside, Nixon might withdraw U.S. forces from Vietnam; American know-how could help Mao recover from his disastrous Cultural Revolution; most of all, each now had a card to play against the Soviet Union in the Cold War struggle. In the longer term, though, was Nixon the supplicant to the Middle Kingdom? Has the United States been at a disadvantage ever since? Will the twenty-first century see co-operation between the two countries, or will China challenge American dominance?

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