Carter Stuns the World

Thwarted in the Middle East, he suddenly plays the China card

It was the most momentous foreign policy announcement of Jimmy Carter's two-year-old presidency, and one of the most important in recent U.S. history. At precisely 9:01 Friday evening, the President, seated at his gleaming wooden desk in the Oval Office, looked gravely into the TV cameras and in a calm, steady voice revealed that the U.S. and Communist China had secretly and suddenly decided to end nearly 30 years of bellicose estrangement. The two countries would establish normal diplomatic relations on Jan. 1.

Under the agreement, the...

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