USA, China, Soviet Union and détente - Cold War

USA, China, Soviet Union and détente - Cold War

China at that time was engaged in something called The Great Cultural Revolution. It’s insane, frenzy and ideological. By this time a lot of people were starting to think this Sino-Soviet split between China and Russia is real. They didn’t believe in it in 1960. By the end 1960s the Chinese and the Russians hate each other. It’s getting to be really dramatic. In fact there was gun fire change in 1969 and it looked like these 2 countries were gonna get into the war.
Nixon had something planned when he was the president. Nixon had a lot of leverage. He was anti-communist, so he could be toughed and make peace. I think it’s sort of what they’re saying about Ariel Sharon in Israel. like he is the only guy that can get out of Gaza because he is such a tough guy. And the same thing happened with Nixon. Nixon says in the end of 1971: “Mao is getting older. He’s no longer that revolutionary. He starts to making hands. Maybe wants to make friends with the US, not because he likes the US or appreciates what they’re doing in Vietnam, but basically he wants to team up with the USA against the Russian.” He sent all these messages to Nixon. Probably you all have seen Forrest Gump with the ping-pong team. Mao says good things about ping-pong team and the ping-pong team says: “Thank you.” America and China hasn’t talked for 25 years. Now there’s saying good things to each other. It was called ping-pong diplomacy. That’s why Forrest Gump always play ping-pong – he was on that team.
Nixon takes a design (?) start to make a secret negotiations in the Chinese embassy in Warsaw. They’re talking about how to open relations. This a fond (?) show, this huge. USA hasn’t recognized China since it turned communist. It was like it doesn’t even exist.

Digression
When I was the kid I thought there is real China and red China. Real China was Taiwan. That’s how much it was. The China with a billion people was like it didn’t really exist.

Nixon did something very tricky. He sends Kissinger on his trip across the world. He is supposed to go to Berlin, all this kind of places. Kissinger is still at this time like Condoleeza Rice now, he’s not the giant. And when the Kissinger is supposed to be in Pakistan in Islamabad, all of a sudden he says he is sick one night and they cancelled the banquet. What he really did is he got on the plane in the middle of night and he got two Chinese pilots. They flew him secretly from Pakistan to Beijing (Pekin – if somebody doesn’t know – P.F.). There was Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. They basically said: “How we gonna orchestrate this?” A week later Kissinger goes back to D.C., Nixon goes on TV and people can’t believe what he said. He says: Next year I’m gonna travel to China.” “What! Where! How! You’re going to China?!” It was the most explosive thing. People couldn’t believe it. Two months later Nixon says: “After China I’m going to Moscow.”. Nixon knew what he was doing. There was an election here. Nixon knew that people wanted the end of Cold War. People were tired of that. Vietnam had turned the country apart. Nixon and a couple of mastercoks (?) had orchestrated the most dramatic moves in American foreign policy since World War II. I mean overnight Nixon was transformed into this old sort of crasty (?) red-beating, anti-communist guy. And now this statement. And it worked.
Nixon not only goes to China in February 1972 but since there’s a new thing called “the satellite”, this is on TV prime time in America. It was daytime in China but Americans are watching this for 10 days. They’re watching Nixon in China with panda bears and with Mao, walking on the Great Wall in China. And people were saying: “Great! The Chinese are not crazy any more.” It was basically what Americans are saying: „We thought they are crazy. Now they’re good Chinese people again.” I’ve been simplistic but that’s exactly what happened. Americans have a lot of love to China when it’s good, and when it’s bad, they’re afraid of it. It’s sort of what’s happening now.
The Democrats didn’t know what to say. They interviewed Ted Kennedy: „What do you think about Nixon going to China?” “Well. It’s our idea?” „Right, buy what did you do?” The Democrats had no issue with this. They hated saying good things about Nixon.
In May 1972 Nixon goes to Moscow and people are wondering what’s gonna happen, because in the meantime the Vietnam war took really ugly. Nixon starts hitting North Vietnam with everything he’s got. He starts to mine harvests in North Vietnam and everybody is wondering if the Russians are going to come on the summit. The secret was the Russians wanted the summit even more than Nixon did. Why?
For Leonid Breżniew (Leonid Brezhniev) and the guys in the Kremlin seeing Nixon and Mao together was to give them up a stroke. That made them nervous. “We don’t know what the Americans are up to and we know that Chinese are sneaky and they’re right on our border. What’s going on?!” Nixon and Kissinger basically answered: “Nothing is going on. We wanna be friend with you too.” „Ok. Let sit down and talk.” Nixon is in the Kremlin and he is there for 10 days. And they’re signing everything. They’re talking about Cold War being over. They signed SALT agreement limiting how many missiles each side can have. They limited it to about 1600. Seeing Nixon and Breżniew together toasting each other and drinking champagne, the media talked about Cold War in the past tense for about 3 years. It sounds funny now but that’s what they did.
The reason why is because Nixon and Kissinger were playing realpolitik. They were playing the game that Metternich and Bismarck did. They’re dealing with great powers and the great powers deal with sort of a tower. It looks like Nixon and Kissinger had engineered this what they call triangular balance of power diplomacy, just like they did in Vienna. Most of people were happy with it. Kissinger on “Newsweek” magazine was called superman. He was like superman. “What can’t Kissinger do? He went to China, now he goes to Moscow. He’s incredible.” Kissinger in 1973 is man of the year in ”Time” magazine. Nixon got so angry, he calls him: “I wanna be the man of the year too.” They splitted, who is year of the man in “Time” magazine. They really had this idea who gets the credit for this.
But not everybody was happy with it. Nixon and Kissinger went somewhere right after Moscow. The week after Moscow they went to Warsaw and they were meeting with this new Polish government that has taken Gomułka’s place. The new Polish government like the Russians didn’t necessarily like the Americans but they wanted something from the Americans. They wanted technology, they wanted trade and they wanted to hobenes (?) this dialogue of freedom. They’re not stupid. They know the system isn’t working. They can borrow all the better. Nixon and Kissinger met all of the government’s officials. And it happened to be Corpus Christi day and cardinal Wyszyński is walking, 10.000 people outside are in Warsaw. Brzeziński writes in his letters to Nixon: “If you go to Poland, you’d better see the catholic primate or the people are gonna hate you for this.” And Nixon says: “Yeah, yeah, whatever.” And he met only with the Polish communist officials. And if you wanna to talk to 2 people who were afraid about of this. One of them was Michnik says: “Yeah. They threw me in jail 5 days before Nixon got there and let me out 2 days after he left. We were so angry that the American government when in Poland didn’t say a word about that.” And Jan Nowak-Jeziorański says the same thing: “Nixon and Kissinger were struck to tone down the message in Radio Free Europe.” “Hey, easy. Don’t say anything about these guys being thrown in jail.” And Jan Nowak-Jeziorański said: “It’s like they were visiting Belgium. Just a regular country. And there is no word about anything like that.”
And really what that showed was that Kissinger didn’t really care about something like human rights if it got in the way of big power diplomacy. Kissinger wasn’t gonna say anything about human rights if the Russians didn’t like it. And they didn’t like it. The Russians hated any talk about human rights, because at the same time people like Sołżenicyn (Solzhenitsyn) and Sacharow (Sakharov) – this famous Russian dissidents – are starting to write their little secret memos and send it among Russia and saying that détente is stupid. It is stupid to be owed with guys like Breżniew because they can say one thing and do another. And America is get doomed (?), America is get suckered. Kissinger hate this. A lot of people in western Europe were starting to say: „What about us? We are in NATO. We spend all the time backing you up and now you go into Moscow, you didn’t tell us.”
Nixon did something else, even more dramatic in many ways. In 1971 the American economy wasn’t doing very good. The deficits were raising up (Vietnam cost a lot of money). So Nixon came on TV and he says: “I have news for you. We’re taking the American economy off the gold standard.” The gold standard is complicated but it basically meant foreign governments could exchange American dollars for gold. And Western Europe says: “What!?” Nixon went on TV and the Western Europeans and the Japanese heard Nixon on TV at the same time. And they were starting to say: “What’s going on? You care more about Moscow, you care more about China than us? We’re your friends! ” So they didn’t like him.

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