Tag Archive for 'Taiwan'

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.

Strategy for a STEM Work Force for India

Thomas Friedman in his report titled ” Pass the books . Hold the Oil ”  in the New York Times [ reproduced by Deccan Chronicle today ] praises Taiwan-  a country with hardly any natural resources and yet becoming the fourth largest financial reserves in the World . This status has been achieved not by mining any natural resources but by mining its 23 million people , their talent ,energy and intelligence ! He also talks about the PISA [ Program for International student Assessment] Examination scores in OECD [ Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ] Countries and the correlation with lack of natural resources in those countries with higher PISA scores.

We have a great lesson in India from this observation. As of now , India is enjoying a great demographic dividend in having about 60 percent of the population with a median age of  26 or around – Ideal target group for talent mining and development . Dr V K Saraswat ,  the  Scientific Adviser to the Defense Minister of India  recently made a plea for revamping our Education system based on the so called STEM  methodology , STEM being an acronym for Science , Technology , Engineering and Mathematics . He advocates this initiative from the secondary school level to prepare a future work force based on STEM .

Thomas Friedman also quotes his friend K R Sridhar founder of the Silicon Valley fuel cell company Bloom Energy who said “when you don’t have resources , you become resourceful ” . A very relevant comment for the Indian Talent pool .