Angesichts der erschreckenden Vision eines durch unverantwortliche Provinz-Marionetten des amerikanischen Herrschaftsegimes provozierten Krieges der Volksrepublik CHINA gegen die „abtrünnige Provinz“ TAIWAN erlaube ich mir die Wiedergabe eines Beitrages – indirekte Fassung des Interviews mit dem ehemaligen Sicherheitsberater und Secretary of State Henry Kissinger im Wallstreet Journal – Eine Minute vor Zwölf !!!
By Laura Secor Aug. 12, 2022 1:27 pm ET
Henry Kissinger Is Worried About ‘Disequilibrium’
The 99-year-old former secretary of state has just published a book on leadership and sees a dangerous lack of strategic purpose in U.S. foreign policy
At 99 years old, Henry Kissinger has just published his 19th book, “Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy.” It is an analysis of the vision and historical achievements of an idiosyncratic pantheon of post-World War II leaders: Konrad Adenauer, Charles DeGaulle, Richard Nixon, Anwar Sadat, Lee Kuan-Yew and Margaret Thatcher.
In the 1950s, “before I was involved in politics,” Mr. Kissinger tells me in his midtown Manhattan office on a steamy day in July, “my plan was to write a book about the making of peace and the ending of peace in the 19th century, starting with the Congress of Vienna, and that turned into a book, and then I had about a third of a book written on Bismarck, and it was going to end with the outbreak of World War I.” The new book, he says, “is a kind of continuation. It’s not just a contemporary reflection.”
All six figures profiled in “Leadership,” says the former secretary of state and national security adviser, were shaped by what he calls the “second Thirty Years’ War,” the period from 1914 to 1945, and contributed to molding the world that followed it. And all combined, in Mr. Kissinger’s view, two archetypes of leadership: the farsighted pragmatism of the statesman and the visionary boldness of the prophet.
Asked if he knows of any contemporary leader who shares this combination of qualities, he says, “No. I would make the qualification that, though DeGaulle had this in him, this vision of himself, in the case of Nixon and probably Sadat, or even of Adenauer, you would not have known at an earlier stage. On the other hand, none of these people were essentially tactical people. They mastered the art of tactics, but they had a perception of purpose as they entered office.”
‘I think that the current period has a great trouble defining a direction. It’s very responsive to the emotion of the moment.’
One never goes long in conversation with Mr. Kissinger without hearing that word—purpose—the defining quality of the prophet, along with another, equilibrium, the guiding preoccupation of the statesman. Since the 1950s, when he was a Harvard scholar writing on nuclear strategy, Mr. Kissinger has understood diplomacy as a balancing act among great powers shadowed by the potential for nuclear catastrophe. The apocalyptic potential of modern weapons technology, in his view, makes sustaining an equilibrium of hostile powers, however uneasy it might be, an overriding imperative of international relations.
“In my thinking, equilibrium has two components,” he tells me. “A kind of balance of power, with an acceptance of the legitimacy of sometimes opposing values. Because if you believe that the final outcome of your effort has to be the imposition of your values, then I think equilibrium is not possible. So one level is a sort of absolute equilibrium.” The other level, he says, is “equilibrium of conduct, meaning there are limitations to the exercise of your own capabilities and power in relation to what is needed for the overall equilibrium.” Achieving this combination takes “an almost artistic skill,” he says. “It’s not very often that statesmen have aimed at it deliberately, because power had so many possibilities of being expanded without being disastrous that countries never felt that full obligation.”
Mr. Kissinger concedes that equilibrium, while essential, can’t be a value in itself. “There can be situations where coexistence is morally impossible,” he notes. “For example, with Hitler. With Hitler it was useless to discuss equilibrium—even though I have some sympathy for Chamberlain if he was thinking that he needed to gain time for a showdown that he thought would be inevitable anyway.”
There is a hint, in “Leadership,” of Mr. Kissinger’s hope that contemporary American statesmen might absorb the lessons of their predecessors. “I think that the current period has a great trouble defining a direction,” Mr. Kissinger says. “It’s very responsive to the emotion of the moment.” Americans resist separating the idea of diplomacy from that of “personal relationships with the adversary.” They tend to view negotiations, he tells me, in missionary rather than psychological terms, seeking to convert or condemn their interlocutors rather than to penetrate their thinking.
Mr. Kissinger sees today’s world as verging on a dangerous disequilibrium. “We are at the edge of war with Russia and China on issues which we partly created, without any concept of how this is going to end or what it’s supposed to lead to,” he says. Could the U.S. manage the two adversaries by triangulating between them, as during the Nixon years? He offers no simple prescription. “You can’t just now say we’re going to split them off and turn them against each other. All you can do is not to accelerate the tensions and to create options, and for that you have to have some purpose.”
On the question of Taiwan, Mr. Kissinger worries that the U.S. and China are maneuvering toward a crisis, and he counsels steadiness on Washington’s part. “The policy that was carried out by both parties has produced and allowed the progress of Taiwan into an autonomous democratic entity and has preserved peace between China and the U.S. for 50 years,” he says. “One should be very careful, therefore, in measures that seem to change the basic structure.”
Mr. Kissinger courted controversy earlier this year by suggesting that incautious policies on the part of the U.S. and NATO may have touched off the crisis in Ukraine. He sees no choice but to take Vladimir Putin’s stated security concerns seriously and believes that it was a mistake for NATO to signal to Ukraine that it might eventually join the alliance: “I thought that Poland—all the traditional Western countries that have been part of Western history—were logical members of NATO,” he says. But Ukraine, in his view, is a collection of territories once appended to Russia, which Russians see as their own, even though “some Ukrainians” do not. Stability would be better served by its acting as a buffer between Russia and the West: “I was in favor of the full independence of Ukraine, but I thought its best role was something like Finland.”
He says, however, that the die has now been cast. After the way Russia has behaved in Ukraine, “now I consider, one way or the other, formally or not, Ukraine has to be treated in the aftermath of this as a member of NATO.” Still, he foresees a settlement that preserves Russia’s gains from its initial incursion in 2014, when it seized Crimea and portions of the Donbas region, though he does not have an answer to the question of how such a settlement would differ from the agreement that failed to stabilize the conflict 8 years ago.
The moral claim posed by Ukraine’s democracy and independence—since 2014, clear majorities have favored EU and NATO membership—and the dire fate of its people under Russian occupation fit awkwardly into Mr. Kissinger’s statecraft. If the avoidance of nuclear war is the greatest good, what is owed to small states whose only role in the global equilibrium is to be acted upon by larger ones?
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“How to marry our military capacity to our strategic purposes,” Mr. Kissinger reflects, “and how to relate those to our moral purposes—it’s an unsolved problem.”
Looking back over his long and often controversial career, however, he is not given to self-criticism. Asked if he has regrets from his years in power, he replies, “From a manipulative point of view, I ought to learn a great answer to that question, because it’s always being asked.” But while he might revisit some minor tactical points, on the whole, he says, “I do not torture myself with things we might have done differently.”
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Appeared in the August 13, 2022, print edition as ‚Henry Kissinger.‘