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Heard on KNPR: Nixon in China

President Nixon with Mao Zedong, black and white photo
via radioopensource.org
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President Nixon with Mao Zedong

It was the meeting, just 50 years ago this month, that changed more lives at more levels than any other political handshake in our lifetimes. The Trickster and the Monster, as the principals had been nicknamed, with some justice: Richard Nixon, the American president who would leave office two years later in Watergate disgrace, and Mao Zedong, the Communist chairman whose fanatical Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution had already taken 50 million Chinese lives, maybe more. Strange to tell, their breakthrough in Beijing — February, 1972 — was not about changing China or the US. It was about fending off pressure they both were feeling from Soviet Russia. But it’s the unintended consequences we notice now, the loveless connection that made China the world’s workshop.

Open Source is "an American conversation with global attitude" — on the arts, humanities, and global affairs — with host, Christopher Lydon.

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