In 1969, relations between the two great communist powers China and USSR diminish. When China joined the communist push in Korea, Soviets supplied weapons, but they required payment from the Chinese. This put a long lasting thorn in Mao's side. Border skirmishes erupted, and China wonders, "Should we open the doors of negotiating with America?" Henry Kissinger makes a secret visit to China; he is a harbinger of Chinese-American relations to come, and Nixon makes his historic visit to China in 1972. Since history isn't always cold details and images, what I remember most about this event, was how impressed my dad was with Nixon when he opened this once-sealed door. His visit to a communist power country was unprecedented.
And then came Watergate...
the Soviet leadership such a precipitous collapse…came as an unpleasant
surprise..there was perplexity in the minds of the Kremlin leaders, who were at
a loss to understand the mechanics of how a powerful president could be forced
into resignation by public pressure and an intricate judicial procedure based
on the American Constitution—all because of what they saw as a minor breach of
conduct. Soviet history knew no parallel"~~Anatoly Dobrynin
We will never know the true loss of Nixon's great national debacle. We do know the effects in Vietnam were devastating. The North Vietnamese feared Nixon and when he was gone, they started their move into South Vietnam.
A great statesman was gone, but not before opening foreign doors and closing doors of trust in America.