Kissinger on China-US relations

The International Herald Tribune today publishes an op-ed by Henry Kissinger on the gradual shift in “gravity of world affairs” from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Kissinger examines parallel shifts in gravity from the previous century and stresses the difference(s) between “China’s peaceful rise” and the rise of Imperial Germany and the Soviet Union. “Military imperialism is not the Chinese style” Kissinger writes, “China seeks its objectives by careful study, patience and the accumulation of nuances.”

Kissinger argues that while the Soviet Union “was the heir of an imperialist tradition,” China has existed in its current dimensions for 2,000 years. His analyses does not address the question of how peaceful these two millennia (or centuries) have been. He praises China’s “large and educated population,” without a mention of its internal problems. Kissinger thus implies that avoiding conflict is possible only through pragmatism and perhaps even ignorance: the world will not ask, and China will not tell it (or do to it) what it does not want to hear.

Read the full piece: Conflict is not an option.
Read Roy Berman's analysis of Kissinger's argument: Henry Kissinger doesn’t know Chinese history (or maybe just lies about it).

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