Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of the day that the United States shamefully forced Richard Nixon out of office for the minor personality quirk of being a liar who debased the Constitution on an almost daily basis, and The Economist takes the occasion to look at his legacy in Asia:
Americans might be surprised to know just how respected and admired Mr Nixon is in China, and just how warmly he is remembered as the man who opened the door to re-normalised relations between China and America...“Common people here really don’t understand why Nixon ran into such trouble,” says Jia Qingguo, a specialist on Sino-American relations at Peking University’s School of International Studies.
The rest of the piece is actually a little short on evidence that, as its headline declares, the Chinese "still love" Nixon. But it does, almost incidentally, cite a world-class example of Nixon being Nixon, namely when he and Henry Kissinger told Chinese leaders to assume that anything either of them said to Congress or the American public was a lie:
Chinese political culture traditionally placed individuals above institutions, and according to [author James] Mann, Mr Nixon, together with Mr Kissinger, were happy to do business on those terms. They urged Chinese leaders to heed only what they told them in private, and not to worry about what was said in Congress, the State Department or indeed their own public speeches.
100 percent classic Nixon.