HONORING THE CENTENNIAL OF PRESIDENT NIXON'S BIRTH
(Extensions of Remarks - February 14, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E151]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




           HONORING THE CENTENNIAL OF PRESIDENT NIXON'S BIRTH

                                 ______
                                 

                          HON. EDWARD R. ROYCE

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, February 14, 2013

  Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the legacy of President 
Richard Nixon in this centennial year of his birth.
  President Nixon took the oath of office at a time of domestic 
upheaval and far-reaching social, economic, and political change. I 
doubt there was ever a day when he did not wake to an agenda of 
pressing challenges and difficult decisions.
  But his true legacy lies in foreign policy.
  Few Presidents have entered the White House with a deeper 
understanding of international affairs, and we are very fortunate that 
he did. For when he first walked into the Oval Office, he inherited a 
world in which the U.S. was faced with enormous difficulties and 
problems that seemed to have no solution, from our grinding engagement 
in Vietnam to an increasingly emboldened Soviet Union.
  He understood from the first that the old ways of doing things simply 
would not work in a new and dangerous world and repeatedly astonished 
his admirers and opponents alike with a surprisingly flexible and 
sophisticated, albeit tough-minded, approach.
  That was most famously demonstrated by his stunning reaching out to 
China.
  For decades this action has been the subject of much discussion and 
comment, and it is commonly cited as a model for similarly bold action 
today.
  But there is danger in easy comparisons. It is of key importance to 
stress that he did not suffer from an illusion that Mao's dictatorship 
was reforming itself or that our mutual hostility was primarily the 
fault of the United States. Or that a handshake could somehow transform 
conflicting goals into a broad partnership.
  Instead, it was based on a clear-eyed understanding of how the world 
actually works and that a rigid adherence to ideology can blind one to 
inconvenient facts and potential options. Only someone deeply confident 
in his beliefs could have done so. But he did not take unnecessary 
risks, he did not leap into the dark, hoping for the best. Instead, he 
took deliberate steps on a well-thought-out path to specific goals.
  Even then, his eyes were not focused on China, but on a much larger 
purpose, namely reordering the international system to give the U.S. 
new options that it otherwise would not have had, including an ability 
to exploit divisions among opponents that rendered each eager for 
improved relations with the U.S.
  What a contrast to today's world, where the U.S. often goes hat in 
hand to professed enemies in the illusion that they can be bribed to 
abandon their fundamental goals, that unilateral concessions will 
generate good will, or that they can somehow be convinced to become 
good international citizens through pleas or lectures.
  Nixon knew that peaceful outreach and negotiations were possible only 
when the other side had no doubts of your toughness. Sometimes a smile 
is helpful, but often a stick is more convincing. No one ever doubted 
that Richard Nixon understood the difference.
  His no-nonsense view of the world can be seen in the aftermath of the 
murder of Israeli Olympians in Munich by PLO terrorists on September 
27th, 1972 when he warned that if we want safety, we must not seek 
``accommodations with savagery, but rather act to eliminate it.''
  That was written twenty-nine years before the devastating 9/11 terror 
attacks, but it remains a crucial guide to action today.
  As Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I deal on a daily 
basis with the many problems the U.S. faces around the world. Some 
would be familiar to President Nixon; many are quite different. But the 
deep understanding, the commitment to basic principles, the pragmatic 
flexibility that characterized his approach are as essential today as 
they were then.
  I met him once when he spoke before the House Republican Conference 
in March, 1993, shortly after I first entered Congress. The subject was 
Russia in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet empire, but even 
after many years out of office, and only a year before his death, his 
understanding of the range of issues and problems facing that country 
and ours impressed everyone in the room. He was masterful to the end.
  Afterward, the President mentioned his old House seat to me, and he 
asked me to join him for a meeting with members of the Senate, 
organized by Senator Patrick Moynihan. There he spoke of the future 
challenges and opportunities with respect to China, Eurasia, Africa, 
and Latin America. As usual, he spoke without using notes.
  Perhaps his greatest legacy is what any student of his 
accomplishments can see for themselves: that the United States has no 
choice to be a leader in the world if we are to secure the safety and 
interests of the American people, that passivity and a surrender to 
events can bring only disaster, that refusing to recognize that the 
world is often a dangerous and unforgiving place is to live in 
illusion, that foolishly acting as though our resources were unlimited 
with no need to prioritize our goals is a certain road to defeat.
  So it gives me pride to recognize President Richard Nixon during the 
centennial of his birth. We owe him our respect for what he 
accomplished on behalf of the security of the United States in a 
turbulent world.

                          ____________________