An Opening to the Middle Kingdom

Reagan skillfully blends politics and diplomacy in China

It was supposed to be an exhibition of capitalism at work, a marketplace near the ancient city of Xian where farmers and other vendors conduct business free of state control. It was in fact a contrivance, a Potemkin-like set where the customers were programmed not to begin buying until after the President and Mrs. Reagan arrived, and to cease as soon as their motorcade departed.

But no matter. Ronald Reagan is an old actor with a fine appreciation for the well-staged media event. By the time he...

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