The Very Unholy Alliance

President Nixon to Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai, February 22nd, 1972: “Let me in complete candor tell the Prime Minister what my problem is from a political standpoint. What we say here may make it impossible for me to deliver on what I can do. Our people, from both the right and the left, for different reasons, are watching this particular issue. The left wants this trip to fail, not because of Taiwan but because of the Soviet Union. And the right, for deeply principled ideological reasons, believes that no concessions at all should be made regarding Taiwan. Then there is another group, the people who don't like the idea of a U.S.-China détente. All of these forces have lines into the various political candidates. And so, what we might find is that they might seize on the language we finally agree upon to attack the whole trip, and you would have the very unholy alliance of the far right, the pro-Soviet left, and pro-Indian left.”