søndag 20. februar 2022

China was a brutal communist menace. In 1972, Richard Nixon visited, anyway.

Chinese dictator Mao Zedong woke up early and got a shave and a haircut for the first time in months. He put on a crisp new suit and new shoes specially made for the occasion. He sat down in an armchair in the study of his home, a porcelain spittoon on the floor nearby. Not far away, President Richard M. Nixon rested in a guesthouse, making notes on a legal pad. He wore a dress shirt with cuff links. He had just arrived in Beijing for a visit that had shocked the world. He hoped to meet Mao but was not certain when, or if, the Chinese leader would see him.

Suddenly, the word came, as if from an emperor, aides remembered: Mao would see Nixon. Immediately. It was Feb. 21, 1972, and as stunned observers looked on, the hard-line, anti-communist president was taken away in a black limousine to meet the ruthless champion of global revolution.