Feb 242024

Richard Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, is remembered primarily as the president whose reign ended in disgrace, when in the wake of the Watergate scandal, facing certain impeachment, he chose to resign. Many Americans remember his words, “I am not a crook!” Well, arguably, he was: The Watergate break-in was downright criminal, of course, and then there are the later revelations about how he may have torpedoed Lyndon Johnson’s attempt to seek peace with North Vietnam, for political purposes.

But Nixon was also very smart, very competent, especially in foreign policy. Just think of his famous ping-pong diplomacy, culminating in his historic visit to China in 1972.

And then there is the elder statesman Nixon, who in 1992, reacted to rapidly evolving world events, notably the collapse of the Soviet bloc and, ultimately, the USSR itself. His words are nothing short of prophetic.

Seriously, it’s almost like he had access to a time machine. His description of the likely course that Russia would take if the ideas of liberal democracy fail are… well, in hindsight it’s easy to agree with him. But in 1992, I doubt there were many folks who foresaw the coming decades with the same clarity.

 Posted by at 11:41 am