Paul Lachine

Nixon Then, China Now

When US President Richard Nixon began his historic trip to China 40 years ago this February 21st, he could not have imagined what his gamble would unleash. The question today is whether China can sustain its success under a one-party regime that is hostile to the liberal values that inspire and underpin globalization.

CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA – When US President Richard Nixon embarked on his historic trip to China 40 years ago, he could not have imagined what his gamble would unleash. The immediate diplomatic impact, of course, was to reshape Eurasia’s geopolitical balance and put the Soviet Union on the defensive. But the long-term outcome of America’s rapprochement with China became visible only recently, with the economic integration of the People’s Republic into the world economy.

Had Nixon not acted in 1972, China’s self-imposed isolation would have continued. Deng Xiaoping’s reform and opening of China to the world would have been far more difficult. amp#160;

Four decades after the “Nixon shock,” no one disputes that China has benefited enormously Today, the impoverished and autarkic country that Nixon visited is history. Global reintegration has turned China into an economic powerhouse. It is the world’s largest exporter in volume terms, and is the world’s second-largest economy. China’s presence is felt around the world, from mines in Africa to Apple stores in the United States.

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