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United States: Essays 1952-1992 - "Richard Nixon: Not The Best Man's Best Man" (1983) Summary & Analysis

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Was Richard Nixon "the only great president of the last half of the 20th Century?" In this essay, Vidal argues that Nixon deserves that status because of his successful policy of dytente, or creating a balance of power between the United States, China and the Soviet Union that prevented nuclear war.

"Nixon [was] the first president who acted upon the not-exactly-arcane notion that the United States is just one country among many countries and that communism is an economic and political system without much to recommend it," Vidal writes. "Simultaneously Nixon realized that coexistence with the Soviet Union is the only game that we can safely play. Nixon also saw the value of exploiting the rift...

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This section contains 319 words
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Buy the United States: Essays 1952-1992 Study Guide
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