Politics and food: President Nixon in China, February 1972


Etiquette is the least of Tricky Dick’s worries at a state banquet in Shanghai, as he struggles with chopstick diplomacy

Nixon in China is John Adams’s famous opera, but it’s also a phrase, describing a clash of civilisations, loaded with political jeopardy – plus some bizarre superpower chow-downs. Food is central to the Chinese.

The banquet pictured here took place in Shanghai in February 1972, and placed an awkward US Republican loner in the dragon’s mouth. Everything about this picture screams, “Expletive deleted!”

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