Asia: What's In It for Russia

In its unending drive to erode the foundations of U.S. power and prestige, Russia in recent months has been in a position to choose among several profitable cold-war theaters: Cuba, the Congo, Berlin. With such a profusion of attractive targets, why had Nikita Khrushchev chosen to push his attack hardest in an obscure piece of Asian jungle? Dangling like a plum from Asia's heartland, Laos borders on four non-Communist nations—Cambodia, Burma, Thailand and South Viet Nam. With the Laotians little interested in defending themselves and the U.S. half a world away, the temptation was irresistible—particularly if it could be...

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