Happy birthday to Mr. Kissinger.
Good article if you can get past the paywall.
“The American view of itself is righteousness,” says the man famed for his realpolitik. “We believe we are unselfish, that we have no purely national objectives, and also that our national objectives are achieved in foreign policy with such difficulty that when we expose them to modification through discussion, we get resentful of opponents.” And so “we expect that our views will carry the day, not because we think we are intellectually superior, but because we think the views in themselves should be dominant. It’s an expression of strong moral feelings coupled with great power. But it’s usually not put forward as a power position.”
Asked whether this American assertion of inherent unselfishness strikes a chord with other countries, Mr. Kissinger is quick to say: “No, of course not.” Does Xi Jinping buy it? “No, absolutely not. That is the inherent difference between us.” Mr. Xi is stronger globally than any previous Chinese leader, and he has “confronted, in the last two U.S. presidents,” men who “want to exact concessions from China and announce them as concessions.” This is quite the wrong approach, in Mr. Kissinger’s view: “I think the art is to present relations with China as a mutual concern in which agreements are made because both parties think it is best for themselves. That’s the technique of diplomacy that I favor.”
In his reckoning, Joe Biden’s China policy is no better than Donald Trump’s : “It’s been very much the same. The policy is to declare China as an adversary, and then to exact from the adversary concessions that we think will prevent it from carrying out its domineering desires.