Sunday, April 15, 2007

Nixon changed history

Thomas P M Barnett has earned my respect an analyst of the world. He says that President Richard Nixon is the one who caused the end of the cold war by opening up both the Soviet Union and China for trade. Reagan gets credit for mopping up, but Nixon, he says, caused the end. Russia was isolated with its own sphere of slave countries. No one could place a value on anything in the Soviet economy, because there was no exchange, so no comparison could be made. Once trade began, the people of Russia could see that the West was producing goods with quality and value. Then the comparisons began and the Soviet empire was shown to be impoverished. Indeed, Reagan's success by running the Soviet economy into the ground with the "Star Wars" arms race depended on Nixon also. He won when Gorbachov saw the Soviet Union could not afford to stay in the race. But, again, no comparison could be made without trade establishing comparative values. Barnett's column in the Knoxville News:
Even more important than setting the Cold War's trajectory toward our successful outcome, Nixon's opening up of China enabled that giant's eventual emergence as globalization's prime agent of economic change in the 21st century. Here, Nixon deserves serious credit as a formative influence on today's amazingly robust global economy, for without China's rise under Deng Xiaoping, globalization as we know it would not have been possible.

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