Foreign Relations: Hints of a Changing Equation

In the varying calculus of world politics, the principal constant is the fundamental conflict between regimes founded on repression and societies that aspire to liberty under law. The primary protagonists in the Cold War decades have been Communism and democracy; more immediately, they are Communist China and the U.S. And while there have recently been some loud expressions of doubt and counseling of weakness on the free world's side, there were scattered signs last week that the struggle may be going better than most Westerners had dared to hope.

In Viet Nam,...