1972: Nixon to China and a few balloons later

On this day in 1972, President Richard M. Nixon made history, and showed some political flexibility by landing Air Force One in China. It was the story of the year and one of the most interesting foreign policy decisions of the postwar period, especially because of Nixon’s political past.

By any account, Nixon seemed an unlikely candidate to improve relations with Red China, as it was known back then. We remember that during the .1940s and 1950s, Mr. Nixon was a vocal Cold War warrior and had condemned the Truman administration for “losing” China to the communists in 1949. And we remember his comments in 1959 when VP Nixon expressed doubts about Fidel Castro.

President Nixon’s move paved the way for the China of today – in other words, cars instead of bicycles. Skyscrapers instead of simple buildings. It also contributed to the outsourcing of thousands of manufacturing jobs – i.e., “Made in China” is everywhere!

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