D.卡尔顿 罗西
D. Carlton Rossi



Kissinger discusses US-China relations at New Economy Forum

November 21st, 2019

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger talks with Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Niall Ferguson about the relationship between the United States and China. They speak at Bloomberg's New Economy Forum in Beijing. (Source: Bloomberg)

Video: 28:09





General Impressions of the Kissinger-Ferguson Forum

Generally speaking, I've had a bias against former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. That bias stems from the war in Vietnam which was a proxy war between the United States and China as the Korean War was a proxy war between the United States and Russia-China. It was Kissinger who oversaw the escalation of the Vietnam War into Cambodia and Laos through a four year bombing campaign which left 100,000 civilians dead. The ensuing power vacuum led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge and the Cambodian holocaust.

At the time of the Vietnam War, I visited the embassy of South Vietnam in Washington, D.C. to listen to their official view of the war. I didn't believe a thing they said. Also, I couldn't agree with the views and actions of Kissinger and Nixon on the Vietnam War. I wore a bracelet with the name of a missing US soldier on it along with a surplus military jacket to express my opposition to the war.

Despite these latent biases I am still open to what Kissinger says not because of the normalization of relations with China in 1972, but rather because Xi values his views as did Mao. I suspect that President Xi recently invited him to China to find out his views on the Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019. Kissinger's views may have reflected what he said at the New Economic Forum about Hong Kong. If I recall correctly he said to the effect that Hong Kong is not of strategic value to the United States as it was to Great Britain. While the PRC reacted vociferously against the act as blantant interference in China affairs; nevertheless, its response in terms of actions was rather mild--perhaps in response to Kissinger's comments to President Xi. That is real diplomacy--not Donald Duck Diplomacy.

While Kissinger would like to see the trade war between the United States and China resolved he says that they are at least talking to one another about an important issue. Of course, Trump's comments today may override the talks since he indicates that he is happy with the tariffs until after the 2020 election. In other words, he is not talking with the Chinese but at the Chinese.

The main thrust of Kissinger's argument is that the US is no longer an exceptional uni-power, but it has an equal rival in China. The United States must realize this situation if it hopes to achieve a state of equalibrium with China. “So those countries that used to be exceptional and used to be unique, have to get used to the fact that they have a rival.”

According to Kissinger there are a number of flashpoints that could erupt into a catacyclsmic war. This war would exceed anything known in history without any winner and both sides losers. The author was expecting him to zero in on the South China Sea, but Kissinger perhaps diplomatically or uncertainly did not emphasize a particular flashpoint in the New Economic Forum.

It is President Xi who says “At present, Sino-US relations are at a critical juncture facing some difficulties and challenges.” He calls on the two countries to deepen communication on strategic issues which is mirrored in Kissinger's views. It is better to communicate than annihilate.