Skip to comments.China: Containment Won't Work - Kissinger
Posted on 06/13/2005 9:48:03 AM PDT by AFPhys
ambivalence has suddenly reemerged. Various officials, members of Congress and the media are attacking China's policies, from the exchange rate to military buildup The rise of China -- and of Asia -- will, over the next decades, bring about a substantial reordering of the international system Military imperialism is not the Chinese style. Clausewitz, the leading Western strategic theoretician, addresses the preparation and conduct of a central battle. Sun Tzu, his Chinese counterpart, focuses on the psychological weakening of the adversary. China seeks its objectives by careful study, patience and the accumulation of nuances U.S. policy in Asia must not mesmerize itself with the Chinese military buildup...
...In a U.S. confrontation with China, the vast majority of nations will seek to avoid choosing sides...
...China, in its own interest, is seeking cooperation with the United States for many reasons, including the need to close the gap between its own developed and developing regions; the imperative of adjusting its political institutions to the accelerating economic and technological revolutions; and the potentially catastrophic impact of a Cold War with the United States...
The issue of nuclear weapons in North Korea is an important test case...
Attitudes are psychologically important. China needs to be careful about policies seeming to exclude America from Asia and our sensitivities regarding human rights, which will influence the flexibility and scope of the U.S. stance toward China. America needs to understand that a hectoring tone evokes in China memories of imperialist condescension and that it is not appropriate in dealing with a country that has managed 4,000 years of uninterrupted self-government.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
It is yet again unfortunate that we are required to post only short exerpts. This 2000 word article is worth archiving for future FR reference. I'll be saving a copy of it, and I hope many other FReepers do, too.
"4,000 years of uninterrupted self-government" This is a big statement, but is also patently false. China was not always whole during the last 4000 years (ever heard of the warring states period?). How about in the 19th century when Europeans invaded and created concessions (like Hong Kong). Not my area of specific expertise, but I can at least identify several exceptions off the top of my head.
I believe that China is one Mr. Kissinger's paying clients, and I suspect that this recent blitz from him is not unrelated.
The art of fighting without fighting -Sun Tzu. Slow and stead wins the race in many cases.
Instead of hiring Kissinger to polish its image in the US, it should hire Kissinger to help it figure out how to free itself from Stalinism.
Bang on the head!
You didn't read the whole article, did you?
You didn't read the article, did you? Kissinger states his relationship with China in an early paragraph of this piece.
This article ought to be read before being commented on.
People making comments without reading it are doing a big disservice to FR itself. I'm beginning to think that taking the time to do a fair and representative excerpt instead of just posting the first 2-3 sentences is not worth my effort.
Please read articles before criticizing.
China has economical problems. Their economy is over-inflated, based on false data, and currency is not based on the market flucuations. China will implode on its on from any reason between democracy and economics. I just dont see it sustaining its current trend.
There is a paradox which afflicts many of the men, who, like Kissinger, dealt with the end of WW2. On the one hand, they no longer could get away with the sort of naivete demonstrated only a few years earlier by Chamberlain. On the other hand, they got their minds stuck with an obsession about preventing another great war, whatever it took. I certainly can understand the intense revulsion to what had happened in WW2 and can even understand the initial knee jerk response to it - the UN, the idea of MAD, etc. But the problem is, no "framework" - be it geopolitical multilateralism or economic global market capitalism, is capable of restraining a future Hilter or Stalin (or group of them among an Axis). The only thing capable of restraining procrusteans is the means of prosecuting and winning a great war. And most importantly, the would be allies possessing such means must demonstrate their will to use them. I hate to say it, but the West, and the US, have not done a particularly good job of demonstrating such means, what with all the limited wars, truces, draws and de facto inconclusive conflicts since 1945. I'll take this even further - the obsession I mentioned above, which has been the Holy Grail for the majority group - classical liberals - in foreign policy since 1945, has actually been a key factor contributing to our lack of conclusive results in most wars since 1945. It is a vicious cycle - and the saddest thing is - not if but when it is ended by the stochastically inevitable next war between great powers, the resulting conflict will be far worse than the great war we would have already had, without the liberals' obsession with their "framework" and resulting series of wars fought by politicians not generals!
I agree with you. The whole human rights issue is only lightly touched upon by Kissinger, and in fact, I believe that his failure to include in this article the likelihood that the whole Chinese communist system will have some problems adjusting to the way business is being done now weakens the article. Of course, it is only 2000 words, and a full treatment probably requires a couple books at least.
Kissinger is a great intellect and we are lucky to have him still around. However, it should be recalled that policies he championed in the past such as detente arguably were disastrously wrong.
In this piece, I am inclined to accept his version of certain realities. But the main advice seems to be to avoid a hectoring tone on human rights issues. Would that be something like the hectoring tone used by Amnesty International in describing Guantanmo Bay as a "gulag"?
It strikes me that on human rights abuses, there is a crying need for a greater worldwide commitment to opposing them, but with much less leftist moonbatism. But I don't think it can be done with the great subtlety for which Kissinger asks.
Yes, I have indeed read this article, and I also read its companion piece ( http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1419942/posts) in the International Tribune Herald that came out last week, which if you might note is quite similar -- in fact, many of the lines are exactly the same, though there has been a bit of a rewrite of others. My comment was directed toward the blatant public relations campaign that I perceive, not to any lack of disclosure on Mr. Kissinger's part:
Conflict is not an optionNEW YORK The relationship between the United States and China is beset by ambiguity. On the one hand, seven presidents have affirmed the importance of cooperative relations with China and a commitment to a one-China policy.Nevertheless, ambivalence has suddenly re-emerged. Various U.S. officials, members of Congress and the news media are attacking China's policies, from the exchange rate to military buildup, much of it in a tone implying that China is on some sort of probation.Before continuing on this subject, I must point out that the consulting company I chair advises clients with business interests around the world, including China. Also, in early May, I spent a week in China, much of it as a guest of the government.The rise of China - and Asia - will, over the next decades, bring about a substantial reordering of the international system. The center of gravity of world affairs is shifting from the Atlantic to the Pacific.China's emerging role is often compared to that of imperial Germany at the beginning of the last century, the implication being that a strategic confrontation is inevitable and the United States had best prepare for it. That assumption is as dangerous as it is wrong. Military imperialism is not the Chinese style. China seeks its objectives by careful study, patience and the accumulation of nuances.It is also unwise to apply to China the policy of military containment of the cold war. The Soviet Union was the heir of an imperialist tradition. The Chinese state in its present dimensions has existed substantially for 2,000 years.is often invoked as a potential trigger. This could happen if either side abandons the restraint that has characterized U.S.-Chinese relations on the subject for more than a generation. But it is far from inevitable. All major countries have recognized China's claim that Taiwan is part of China. So have seven American presidents of both parties, none more emphatically than President George W. Bush.With respect to the overall balance, China's large and educated population, its vast markets, its growing role in the world economy and global financial system foreshadow an increasing capacity to pose an array of incentives and risks, the currency of international influence.Short of seeking to destroy China as a functioning entity, however, this capacity is inherent in the global economic and financial processes that America has been pre-eminent in fostering.The test of China's intentions will be whether its growing capacity will be used to seek to exclude America from Asia or whether it will be part of a cooperative effort.Paradoxically, the best strategy for achieving antihegemonic objectives is to maintain close relations with all the major countries of Asia, including China. In that sense, the rise of Asia will be a test of America's competitiveness in the world now emerging, especially in the countries of Asia.The vast majority of Asian nations view their relations with the United States in terms of their perception of their own interests. In a U.S. confrontation with China, they would seek to avoid choosing sides; at the same time, they would generally have greater incentives for participating in a multilateral system with America than adopting an exclusionary Asian nationalism.They will not want to be seen as pieces of an American design. India, for example, finds no inconsistency between its improving relations with the United States and proclaiming a strategic partnership with China.China, in its own interest, is seeking cooperation with the United States for many reasons, including the need to close the gap between its own developed and developing regions; the imperative of adjusting its political institutions to the accelerating economic and technological revolutions; the potentially catastrophic impact of a cold war with America on the continued raising of the standard of living, on which the legitimacy of the government depends.But from this it does not follow that any damage to China caused by a cold war would benefit America. The United States would have few followers anywhere in Asia. Asian countries would continue trading with China. Whatever happens, China will not disappear. The American interest in cooperative relations with China is for the pursuit of world peace.Attitudes are psychologically important. China needs to be careful about policies that seem to exclude America from Asia and about U.S. sensitivities regarding human rights, which will influence the flexibility and scope of America's stance toward China.America needs to understand that a hectoring tone evokes in China memories of imperialist condescension and is not appropriate in dealing with a country that has managed 4,000 years of uninterrupted self-government.As a new century begins, the relations between China and the United States may well determine whether our children will live in turmoil even worse than the 20th century or whether they will witness a new world order compatible with universal aspirations for peace and progress.(Henry A. Kissinger heads the consulting firm Kissinger and Associates. Distributed by Tribune Media Services International.)
I may not be expertise as Henry A. Kissinger, but I have been studying about East Asia in College and disagree to his analysis. He has said China was formed by cultural conformity with substantial force in the background, and not a military imperialism. The history should not be ignored for civil wars that has been fought in China and its expansionism. China is a multi-ethnic multi-cultural country. There has been and continues to be regional rivalry. There continues to be separatist movements in some of the regions such as Tibet. It may not be noticed, but there has been resistance against the central government from Uyghur region. In the east, China has destroyed the culture of Manchuria. Military influence could not be ignored in dictatorship. There has been a protests by ex-soldiers about pensions. Usually protest that have anti-government tone are denied and members are detained, but the government did not interfere this protest which could have brought tensions between the government and the military. China continues to influence its surrounding. In recent years, China has attempt to maintain or strengthen relations with India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippine, and Uzbekistan. Relations between some of these examples may not be new, but China has supported building ports in Pakistan which may harbor Chinese naval force. China also considers to build a base in Kyrgyzstan. Aware of American influence in the region, China has announced trilateral relationship with India and Russia. Trilateral relationship may be rather a strategic relationship against America for the rivalry between the three, but is also a concern that may threaten American interest in the region. In the east, China has aggressively threaten Japan for its territory. China has claimed the Senkaku islands as their territory which Japan has claimed long ago, showing interest of energy resource in the region. China has also sent submarine down in Japanese territory violating international laws, and approaching toward US naval base in Guam. China's expansionism may not be that new, but has been a policy of China to expand its territory toward the east much as possible. The expansionist policy of China also seems to spread toward south and west. According to studies by Chinese intellectuals, they have been showing concerns of presence in Afghanistan which shares borders. Meanwhile, China has also shown interest of the oil resource in Central Asia. Southward, China may have been strengthening relationship with certain countries to protect its access of oil from the Middle East. However, this have also threaten America's access of oil through the Indian Ocean region. It may not be the same as what Soviet Union has done, but it seems similar to the approach of Iron Curtain building buffer states against its opponents. China continues to seek to occupy Taiwan, and this would mean more access toard the Pacific Ocean. Japan and Taiwan has served as a barrier against China from the Pacific Ocean and must be denied access to threaten American territories. China's threat is also reality in Latin America as well as Russia. It may not be similar to the threat of Cuba crisis, but China has supported Venezuela for military training. China has interfered in politics of multiple countries, and have used the carrot and stick strategy to gain influence of those countries. In Japan, China has created a strategy for over decades, to influence Japanese media, socialist parties, and attempted to transform it into a socialist country. CIA has reported this months ago while concluding the attempts as a failure. However, China continues to succeed in influencing Japanese media and politics with pro-China Japanese. Influence in politics of America is also reality. It is uncertain if the government was in the back but Chinese interest groups has engaged in a propaganda campaign calling America not to accept Taiwan as an independent country and called not to support the expansion of United Nation Security Council. There is also a threat of Chinese spies in the US trying to steal valuable technology. It may be true that in the past China has searched for relations with the US but that does not mean China has become an ally. China has continued to threat America in political and military terms as Russia did, and this could not be tolerated in any way. America is forced to fight another cold war with China. It is not avoidable, and rather US attempts to strengthen relationship with china or not, China will continue to threat America and American interest as long as the Communist regime is in power. Russia did still continue to exist after the collapse of Soviet Union, but at least less threatening as a result of the collapse of Soviet Union. China must collapse as well.
Let's hear from another expert in China affairs. Mr. Jeff Head, what is your oppinion on this?
I agree with most of your analysis, but I think the key bit for us is not so much to pursue a direct, Cold War engagement as it is to first disengage from our pursuit of normal trade relations with China. I think Mr. Kissinger is way off track, and, disfavorably to his whole argument, I believe that his track is unfortunately swayed by pecuniary considerations.
This will be painful to us, and may push them into confrontation...but better that now than to wait until it is done on their terms.
At the same time, we need a Reagan like military buildup to show them we are serious and to be in a better position should they pull the trigger.
That's my opinion.