Thursday, April 28, 2016

History of the Cold War #14 --The End of Communism Continued

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.

 While in China, Mao and Nixon seemed to get along well with one another. Mao joked with Nixon that he had voted for him and he'd read his book and it wasn't all that bad.
The USSR took note of the historic visit and saw it as another threat to USSR--China relations--from the Western viewpoint, it was a much needed break of communist strength.

And then came Watergate...

“To 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.