Tag Archive for 'Henry Kissinger'

US and China – Defining Relationship of 21st Century

” America has no permanent friends or enemies , only permanent interests ”   – Henry Kissinger

The nonagenarian master strategist and American diplomat Henry Kissinger spoke at the Columbia University on 26th September at the US-China University Presidents and Think Tank Forum.He described the US- China relations as the ‘ defining ‘ relationship of the 21st Century and suggested that from a rational day-to-day working relationship , this should raise to a conceptual level for ‘ Global Peace and Human Progress’ .Kissinger should know as it was he who initiated this relationship way back in June 1971 , when he traveled on a secret mission via Romania and Pakistan to meet up with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and Chairman Mao Zedong at the behest of President Nixon ,ending  China’s isolation for 30 years from the western world.

I recall an incident in 1975 , when I was undergoing the prestigious staff course at the Defense Services Staff College [DSSC] , Wellington , Nilgiris , India . The then US Ambassador to India William B Saxbe was a guest speaker and one of my colleague asked him an awkward question –  ” Sir , US treated China as an untouchable till 1971 , and suddenly , we find that President Nixon sent his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger secretly to China to meet up with Premier Zhou Enlai – How do you explain this incident in the context of morality in International politics? ” – The Ambassador did not like this question and avoided a direct answer initially . But later on , he stated that it was in the strategic interest of the US to have opened this so-called Track 2 diplomacy in 1971.

Rest is history now as the above initiative was soon followed up with the Nixon – Zhou Enlai summit in Beijing in 1972 and a new chapter began in the US- China relationship , though formal diplomatic ties came about only in 1979 because of the US stand on Formosa – now Taiwan. This major break through paved the way for a ‘détente ‘ with USSR later and helped both the countries to enter trade relations for mutual benefit . However , in the eyes of the US , China remains a potential adversary but an economic partner , in spite of the poor human rights records of China and the status of the largest foreign creditor of the US ! .

In the present North Korean crisis , the US – China relationship assumes a great significance and a summit meeting between President Donald Trump and the Chinese Premier Xi Jinping is on the cards soon. Experts believe that this meeting can pavé the way to diffuse the tension and bring North Korea to the negotiation table to settle the Nuclear Issue.

The Chinese are in a hurry !

A lot is being written and spoken about the Chinese actions in the globalized world  – buying up dollars in trillions creating a trade imbalance with the US , highest consumer of Gold even beating the Indians , leasing vast tracts of fertile land in Africa to grow crops , a massive glut of petroleum products from wherever they can get , looking at Mongolia and Siberia for a possible migration tract for the Chinese  population , Dreaming of  a Chinese global currency replacing the US Dollar [ a red back ? ] , lapping up all the top awards in Mathematics in International competitions and many more !!

Did Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger ever dream of this scenario when old Henry made his secret overtures to Chairman Mao in the seventies ? . The spectacular and exponential growth of the Chinese Economy while retaining a totalitarian single party political set up defies the very foundation of democracy practiced  in the US , Europe , Japan and in India .

Gideon Rachman in his well researched book titled ” Zero Sum World ” talks about the US fighting a long drawn out war in Afghanistan and Iraq using a Chinese credit card ! The Chinese are also offering bail out packages to many countries in the Euro Zone !

The Chinese are obviously in a hurry to catch up on lost time and become a world leader in their own terms ! I will not be surprised if they bring in democratic changes in phases to thwart any external attempt to trigger a revolution within China for this purpose !