A Wild Quote

by Ryan on March 24, 2006

in Politics

I just finished Thomas PM Barnett’s second book, Blueprint for Action, a book on geopolitics and the changing nature of warfare in the 21st Century, when I segued into another light read, The Cold War: A New History, by John Lewis Gaddis. I highly recommend the Barnett book, and I do like the succinct nature of the under 300-page account of the major Cold War themes and players that Gaddis gives the reader. At least so far. If Reagan is portrayed as an “amiable dunce” I’m trashing the book!

But, I digress. There was a quote in Gaddis on page 149 about the dilemma that Mao had in March of 1969 about what to do with the Soviet Union and the United States. He had a strained relationship with Brezhnev and Nixon had just been elected. Dealing with the Soviets was usually perfunctory and always awkward. So how to deal with Nixon? Says Mao to advisor Li Zhisui:

“The United States and the Soviet Union are different… America’s new president, Richard Nixon, is a longtime rightist, a leader of the anti-communists there. I like to deal with rightists. They say what they really think–not like the leftists who say one thing and mean another.”

I don’t even know what to fully think of this quote.

Mao Zedong still holds the title as the world’s worst mass murderer, but why do I think that Mao was kind of thinking rationally here, like there is some place for this perspective on one’s analysis of politics in this very election year, 2006? Is it me, or does it seem that lately leftists still pretend to be something they are not just to get elected (read “strong on defense”), and rightists pride themselves on their solid unambiguous positions (read “strong on defense”)?

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