Kissinger Addresses How the U.S. Should Proceed to Order and Divide the World
A plethora of former U.S. presidents and vice-presidents, secretaries of state, national security advisors, newspapers and pundits of various kinds have been giving opinions about the Ukraine crisis and discussing U.S. foreign policy and the direction it should take. On May 23, Henry Kissinger, four days before he turned 99 years old, spoke virtually at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. In the lead up to the WEF he also gave an interview to the Financial Times on May 9. He addressed the issues of Ukraine, China, Russia and nuclear weapons.
Considered by the ruling elites as an influential and veteran diplomat, Kissinger served as secretary of state and national security advisor under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford in the 1970s. He was a main negotiator with Vietnam during the war and in the opening of U.S. relations with China during the Nixon administration. He is also known for orchestrating the 1973 coup d'état in Chile which began with the assassination of President Salvador Allende. He backed Operation Condor, notorious for its assassinations, torture and heinous crimes against progressive people, stopping at nothing to stamp out democratic movements in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and other countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as subsequent dirty wars.
About Greece he famously said:
"The Greek people are anarchic and difficult to tame. For this reason, we must strike deep into their cultural roots: Perhaps then we can force them to conform.
"I mean, of course, to strike at their language, their religion, their cultural and historical reserves, so that we can neutralize their ability to develop, to distinguish themselves, or to prevail; thereby removing them as an obstacle to our strategically vital plans in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East."
Kissinger's speech to the WEF sought to promote a detente/deterrence equation. He said the U.S. and China should avoid confrontation, Taiwan should not be a focus or distraction and there should be a negotiated peace in Ukraine in the next two months.
He spoke the same day that President Biden once again provoked China on the issue of the status of Taiwan while speaking in Japan. Biden said the U.S. would intervene militarily if China invaded Taiwan -- something China has repeatedly said it would not do. Referring to the decades-long one-China policy, Kissinger said, "I think it is essential that these principles be maintained and the United States should not, by subterfuge or a gradual process, develop something of a two-China solution, and that China will continue to exercise patience that has been exercised up to now."
"A direct confrontation should be avoided, and Taiwan cannot be the core of the negotiations between China and the United States," Kissinger said. He elaborated further: "For the core of the negotiations, it is important that the United States and China discuss principles that affect the adversarial relationship, and that permit at least some scope for cooperative efforts. The Taiwan issue will not disappear, but as the direct subject of confrontation and adversarial conduct it is bound to lead to a situation that may mutate into the military field, which is against the world interest and against the long-term interest of China and the United States."
Referring to the U.S. and China, he added that "from the point of view of strategic potential, they are the greatest threat to each other -- in fact, the only military threat that each side needs to deal with continuously."
What this shows is that what underlies Kissinger's opposition to confrontation is the position that military action remains the main U.S. deterrent. This includes the fact that both the U.S. and China are nuclear powers, which is "the strategic potential" at the disposal of each of them which poses "the greatest threat to each other."
On Ukraine, he presented a view similar to the one given recently by the New York Times. He called for negotiations that accept the conditions as they were before the start of the conflict. "Parties should be brought to peace talks within the next two months. Ukraine should've been a bridge between Europe and Russia, but now, as the relationships are reshaped, we may enter a space where the dividing line is redrawn and Russia is entirely isolated. We are facing a situation now where Russia could alienate itself completely from Europe and seek a permanent alliance elsewhere. This may lead to Cold War-like diplomatic distances, which will set us back decades. We should strive for long-term peace." Continued conflict "could create upheaval and tensions that will be ever-harder to overcome," he said.
What is significant is the way he speaks about nuclear weapons, as though they can be used without worldwide destruction. "[T]here's almost no discussion internationally about what would happen if the weapons actually became used. My appeal in general, on whatever side you are, is to understand that we are now living in a totally new era, and we have gotten away with neglecting that aspect," he said. Referring to Putin, he asks: "[W]ill he escalate by moving into a category of weapons that in 70 years of their existence have never been used? If that line is crossed, that will be an extraordinarily significant event. Because we have not gone through globally what the next dividing lines would be."
While identifying China as the main threat, he also spoke to the importance of not driving China and Russia together, elaborating what he calls a differential approach. "I think it is unwise to take an adversarial position to two adversaries in a way that drives them together, and once we take aboard this principle in our relationships with Europe and in our internal discussions, I think history will provide opportunities in which we can apply the differential approach."
What Kissinger is saying is that Ukraine, Taiwan and other issues should be used to pit China and Russia against each other in a manner that favours the U.S. and prevents them from establishing a "permanent alliance." The proposal is not for purposes of securing peace, but to achieve U.S. aims of dominating Asia by threatening to use nuclear weapons against any country which continues to defy the U.S. dictate.
No to the Use of Nuclear Blackmail in the Name of Securing Peace!
1. Henry Kissinger, while addressing a group of Washington, D.C. businessmen in Sept.1974, (as reported in Oikonomikos Tachydromos, Aug 14, 1997)
This article was published in
Volume 52 Number 6 - June 5, 2022
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