Continued from page 2

1.Reduce danger of confrontation & conflict

2.A more stable Asia

3.A restraint on U.S.S.R.’”

What did we get? A new relationship with the Mainland while maintaining support for Taiwan. The Soviets were thrown badly off balance, which was to prove lasting. As for Indochina, Mao did take some steps to discourage the North Vietnamese, and later Nixon and Mr. Kissinger would engineer a successful end to the war, a result ultimately negated by Watergate.

As a result of that week in 1972, there was a distinct shift in the global balance of power — a rare and remarkable example of a statesmanlike vision successfully shaping reality. And at that particular moment in history, only Richard Nixon — with Mr. Kissinger — could have carried it off.

In one of their conversations, Ms. Macmillan reports, Chou told Mr. Kissinger of an old Chinese proverb: “‘The helmsman who knows how to guide the boat will guide it well through the waves. Otherwise he will be submerged by the waves. A far-sighted man will know how to till the helm.’”

“Or,” adds Ms. Macmillan, “as Mr. Spock will say aboard his spaceship many centuries from now, quoting an old Vulcan proverb: ‘Only Nixon can go to China.’”

John R. Coyne Jr., a former White House speechwriter, is co-author with Linda Bridges of “Strictly Right: William F. Buckley Jr. and the American Conservative Movement,” published by Wiley.