Roderick MacFarquhar's article in the most recent New York Review of Books reminds us of yet another example of the right wing's incompetence on matters of national security. As the Time article I linked in the last post explained, it was Nixon's decision to visit China that proved the last straw for conservative activists in their relationship with him. Right-wing newspaper publisher William Loeb, for instance, wrote that
This newspaper considers President Nixon's proposal to visit Communist China and the change in policy toward Red China to be immoral, indecent, insane and fraught with danger for the survival of the United States.Yet, as MacFarquhar observes, the trip was a "turning point in the cold war":
Hitherto, the Soviet Union and China had been antagonists of the US. Thereafter, both Beijing and Moscow found it in their interest to come to agreements with Washington.These, too, were the direct ideological descendents of the crowd that opposed U.S. involvement in the Second World War. All of which is to underscore the point that Republican presidents are capable of making competent foreign policy decisions, but only so long as they ignore the exhortations of the conservative movement, whose judgment on national security matters has almost always been tragiocomically inept (comic as long as no one was listening to them, tragic once somebody did decide to listen).