Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, an elder statesman of American diplomacy, shared his diplomatic insights on April 26 (local time), one day before his 100th birthday.
“Almost all major countries are asking themselves what their basic direction is, and most of them have no internal direction,” Kissinger said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Today’s world is “disorganized,” he said, and the major powers are disoriented and divided.
Many of the major countries are “in the process of changing or adapting to the new situation,” he said, noting that “(it is) a world divided by the rivalry between the United States and China.”
The centenarian pointed out that many dependent states, as well as larger ones like India, “do not have a dominant view of what they want to achieve in the world.”
Most countries are struggling with the question of whether they should follow the behavior of the so-called superpowers or seek a degree of autonomy.
Kissinger, who has emphasized the “coexistence” of the U.S. and China, was also critical of the U.S. approach to China.
Noting that Chinese President Xi Jinping has “stood up to two U.S. presidents who have tried to extract concessions from China,” Kissinger said the public policies of U.S. President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are “almost identical.”
Both Biden and Trump “have taken the approach of declaring China an adversary and trying to force concessions that they think will stop China’s desire for dominance,” he said.
Kissinger disagreed with this approach, advising that “the art (of diplomacy)메이저사이트 is to create a relationship with China through mutual interests where both sides think it’s in their best interest to reach an agreement.”
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, an elder statesman of US diplomacy, attends a luncheon at the US Department of State in Washington, DC, December 1, 2022. 2023.5.26 AFP Yonhap photo
Given today’s level of weapons development and growing cyber and chemical capabilities, Kissinger also warned that “this kind of war would destroy civilization.”
To prevent war with China, he argues, the United States must refrain from inadvertent hostility and continue to engage in dialogue.
Kissinger acknowledged that there are “problems” in the South China Sea, but offered an alternative: “We can see if there is a way to solve them through the principle of ‘freedom of the high seas’.”
As for Taiwan, he called it “an unsolvable problem” and emphasized that “only time can solve it.” He cited the example of maintaining the current position for years and not threatening each other.
Kissinger also observed that China “seeks security, not world domination, but it wants to be the dominant power in Asia,” and that Japan “will develop its own weapons of mass destruction” in response. This could take as little as three years and as long as seven years.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, an elder statesman of American diplomacy, smiles after receiving the Distinguished Service Medal at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, May 9, 2016. 2023.5.26 AFP Yonhap photo
Elsewhere, Kissinger said the Biden administration has “gotten a lot of things right,” and he particularly “supports them on Ukraine.”
“The war in Ukraine was a victory in that it prevented Russian aggression against our European allies,” he said.
He made it clear that the proposal to bring Ukraine into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was “an enormous mistake, and it led to war,” but that he is now in favor of it.
Kissinger also offered the return of all Ukrainian territory, with the exception of the disputed Crimea, as a condition for an end to the conflict.
“The loss of Sevastopol (the Crimean city), which has never historically belonged to Ukraine, would be a blow to Russia that would endanger national cohesion,” he said, “and I don’t think it would be desirable for the world.”