Kissinger on Kissinger: Reflections on Diplomacy, Grand Strategy, and Leadership



good morning everyone welcome to the Wilson Center to a program that the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States is unusually proud to be putting on we are very glad to be spending this morning with ambassador Winston Lord and will be speaking with him about the new book Kissinger on Kissinger reflections on diplomacy grand strategy and leadership this is the only oral history on dr. Kissinger and ambassador Lord worked on this with KT McFarland it is available I should mention for sale out in the lobby and it is not simply an oral history of dr. Kissinger it is also the portrait of a period and the portrait of a set of attitudes and skillsets and understandings about America's place in the world and its foreign policy that many people feel is is lacking today it covers not only the opening to China breakthroughs with the Soviet Union but also Middle East shuttle diplomacy and negotiations to end the Vietnam War it's subject in many ways is the question of what diplomacy is and I was I noted that a lot of the passages that I had underlined clearly had also been underlined by Peggy Noonan for her piece in The Wall Street Journal and particularly dr. Kissinger's line that everything depends on some conception of the future ambassador Winston Lord is well known to many of you today you've had the pleasure of working with him in many cases and a special welcome to old colleagues from M embassy Beijing ambassador Lord graduated from Yale and then from Fletcher where he was first in his class he would then served from 1969 to 1973 on the national security council's planning staff with dr. Kissinger to whom he was a special assistant he accompanied dr. Kissinger to Beijing in 1971 there's a very famous story about that I don't know if you'll be relating that today and was one of the principal drafters then of the 1972 Shanghai commune kay he was also a top assistant on Vietnam negotiations and was present at every one of dr. Kissinger's meetings with North Vietnam from 1970 to 1973 and in that capacity was also a principal drafter of the Paris Peace Accords he later served as the director of the State Department's Office of policy planning as ambassador to China from 1985 to 1989 under President Reagan and then from 1993 to 1997 as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific affairs he later served as the President of the Council on Foreign Relations and on a list of boards and projects ongoing which are too lengthy to mention I also on a personal note would like to say that he was the ambassador when I first got to Beijing as a diplomat in 1987 I had the pleasure of serving under you and was deeply impressed during my first week there you always invited one junior officer to attend country team meetings and during my first week I had the opportunity to sit in and that as well as the great amount of interest that you showed in junior staff and that Betty Bao also showed in those days and this may have been the last time the ambassador's residence was the premier cultural salon in China and if you happen to drop by for some reason in the middle today you were likely to run into people like the great actor you know Chung the heads of the Beijing people's art theater leading writers it was really a marvelous time to serve with you and so I wanted to thank you for all of that ambassador Lords did sometimes ask too much of junior staff you may not remember this but in 1988 we played basketball against the Soviet Union and we were out on the court at the same time and ambassador Lord set a pick for me about 40 feet out and said shoot shoot and this was well outside the range of my reliable jumper which is about nine feet this is before three-pointers up and so I threw up a brick we won the game anyway because our team was primarily made up of members of the u.s. marine detachment and not a foreign service officers that saved us but a marvelous time a great ambassador and a great book we look forward to hearing about it and are very glad that you'll be joined in this discussion by our own ambassador Stapleton Roy the founding director emeritus of the Kissinger Institute who needs no introduction to this group and so with that I will leave it to the two of you for a much anticipated discussion and we're going to ask you ambassador Lord to lead off with whatever you would like to say by way of opening with the book and then we'll have a discussion between the two of you before we open it up to those in attendance thank you thank you Robert for that incredible introduction I can't think of a more appropriate place to launch this book than here after all it is the Kissinger Center it's won by Robert Dailey and as Robert said we work closely together and he did that extremely closely with my wife as well including the kind of issues he just mentioned I would also mention the production of the Caine Mutiny we bought Charlton Heston over to be the director of that and that was quite an experience Robert is obviously emerged as one of the leading China watchers in this country I won't say China expert because I think a China expert is an oxymoron or just the plain moron it's it's it's so unpredictable and so contradictory and then they have state boy in conversation with me what could be more appropriate after all he worked for Kissinger he's been heavily involved in China affairs including the normalization negotiations he was in Moscow when we opened up to China and began a triangular diplomacy so Steve you could have done this book as well and I look forward to our conversation I will say in front of him what I say behind his back Stape is one of the very small handful of outstanding diplomats of my generation or generation in fact you're still older than I about you or two in any event I mean that I'm older than you but your senior to me Stape and I have had each other's back we've worked on a lot of issues together when I was ambassador he supported me during a crisis when he was Deputy Assistant Secretary on the east asian bureau and when he was ambassador I was assistant secretary there I supported him it's a lesser crisis but he'll did we had each other's back so I'm particularly pleased to have you moderating this discussion a couple of quick words about the book first you notice it's a little white book and I told Kissinger that we did this because we wanted to distinguish it from the writings of Chairman Mao and Henry Kissinger namely little red books I'll try it again little red books okay we are thinking of a new title however I sent word of this to some friends that press release one of whom was Tom Brokaw and he got the notice on a small iPhone so to cut off the last two letters of the title so he merely ran out to get the book thinking the book was Kissinger on kissing so we think we might we might change the title I don't want to take too long I do hope you buy it of course but more importantly I think it's accessible it's a hundred and seventy-five pages so I think even for those who are familiar with some of the issues it'll be a very accessible more so than thousand page memoirs of what happened but it's beyond the four main issues which are discussed namely China Russia Middle East and Vietnam Henry holds fourth and we urged him to talk about the need for strategy the qualities of leadership how you negotiate etc but more important I think for newer generations almost anybody under 40 or 50 this would be an introduction to appear as a sort of ancient history to them and it was amazing that Henry in his mid nineties could reflect back on his period with a memory that was incredible not only had the strategic context in some of the milestones but he peppered it with revealing anecdotes and personal portraits of leaders that really are quite quite interesting so it's his only all history but I think it's more than that and I hope you'll enjoy it and we'll get into some of the subject matter when we turn this over now to state thank you when as he mentioned he and I go back a long way he was our third ambassador to Beijing and I was the fifth and when I was the deputy assistant secretary I can't tell you how easy it made the job to have an ambassador who give you instructions in Washington and what our policy approach should be and then all you had to do was carry it out at certain him and then he kept me really informed in in Beijing when he was the assistant secretary to a degree that is unusual for ambassadors to be consulted on things that usually Washington handles on its own so we do indeed go back a long way and we both have long long exposure to to Henry Kissinger my favorite Kissinger joke as told by Kissinger himself is that he was at a cocktail party and this woman came up to him and said dr. Kissinger I hear you're a fascinating man fact fascinate me women was was dr. Kissinger a fascinating man and did he fascinate you he he did he also stretched my patience and my nerves as I outlined in the end it forward to the book I do give a many personal portrait of Henry to toward the end which I introduced by saying the agony and the ecstasy there's no question he tested your patience I was ready to quit about once a week the hours were incredible he would clearly expect the best out of you the classic story many of you have heard is that I used to draft speeches for him and I'd go in with a draft and he'd come in the next day and say is this the best you can do and I said I thought so try it again I went in the next couple days another draft he said you sure it's the best you can do and I said I thought so but let me try this happened six or seven times and I was getting really exasperated so the next time he said is this Sebastian he said Henry damn it I've tweaked every paragraph every semicolon I can't do any better than this so then he looked at me and smiled and said in that case I guess now I'll read it that story's about 50% true but the point is you know in all seriously he would stretch you and I've always been grateful for that it's hard not to fall into cliches about the brilliance of this person did he have flaws of course he did and there were times when he was exasperating but I don't know of any great man it doesn't doesn't have flaws he had a great sense of humor which eased situations in times of tension above all he really did not like yes men or yes women when I joined the NSC staff I started an e what is now the Eisenhower building of course when the West Wing sort of a mini C policy planning staff and we would send him memos about the future or about current policy and I sent several that my boss let me go through with my name on it criticizing some of the Nixon and Kissinger policies respectful but hard-hitting way and it was because of those memos not in spite of them that he hired me as his special assistant and I'll be forever grateful for all kinds of favors which I in the forward including sitting in on the famous Nixon Mouse summit and including me with Vietnam protester who was outside the the gates at a very tense time and we went directly and I think we really had we might have saved his life there were aspects of Henry that don't enter into the public view I'm not here to defend every last flaw I am here to say that I do think he's one of the great diplomats in American history and I think the his achievements some of which are in this book but others are in the Ford administration which we don't get to I think the last thing and help too when the architecture we're working within today when it really was an unusual period in u.s. foreign policy because you had a president who really looked at the world in terms of grand strategy and you had a national security adviser who shared that global strategic vision but also was a master of the tactics of trying to turn strategic vision into practical diplomatic accomplishments in the six years that dr. Kissinger worked with President Nixon we had to break through to China which really was the turning point in the Cold War I was in Moscow at the time and the impact on the Russians who recognized instantly the strategic significance of the Americans getting to break through to to China the salt one agreement also took place on the Soviet side and paved the way for date on that ultimately created the conditions which gorbachev emerged and it brought down the Soviet Union the Middle East breakthrough was really unforeseen by anybody they brought about a strategic reversal of the balance in the Middle East where the Soviet Union had established close relations with both Egypt and Syria it had becoming the arms supplier to key countries in the Middle East and Kissinger and Nixon were able to reverse that essentially end the Soviet strategic role at that time and it paved the way for the Camp David agreements between Israel and Egypt that occurred after the Nixon administration and we forget this they negotiated a a an end the Vietnam War that in retrospect that looked at as a disastrous end but the fact of the matter is the agreement that was reached in 1973 was on US terms because the key Vietnamese demand throughout the negotiations had been that we could only have an agreement if we got rid of the South Vietnamese government and the US side would not cave in on that subject and eventually the North Vietnamese agreed to having the South Vietnamese government remain in place but the agreement was unimplemented on the US side because it had lost its domestic base and this gives you some interesting lessons about foreign policies they shouldn't be formulated in terms of domestic attitudes but they cannot be implemented effectively if you don't have the domestic support for doing that when for great achievements in a relatively short period of time what are the lessons that we can derive from that period that might be relevant to our foreign policy today first let me just take two of those to give an example of strategic approach and then segue under your question more directly in the case of China Nixon and Kissinger each approached it independently is something we ought to be working on Nixon wrote his famous Foreign Affairs article 67 he saw opening up with China after 22 years of hostility and the Korean War as important for World Order that you needed to get a fifth of the world's people involved and if you're going to have stability and peace over the long run and Kissinger's emphasis was more how we could exploit it against the Soviet Union in order to have better relations with Moscow but in order to get their attention but they converged on us and when we had the border clashes in 69 at that point we were negotiating a lot of substance with the Soviets we weren't doing too well and had absolutely no contact with China and yet when those clashes erupted the the Soviet ambassador Dobrynin was keeping Kissinger carefully informed which suggested to him that the Russians were looking for a pretext for even greater expansion and Nixon and Kissinger decided that it was best to side with the weaker against the stronger if you will ante hegemony which found its way you know the Shanghai communique and bound us together with China so as a result of that you had the famous triangular diplomacy where we had better relations with each of those countries than they had with each other which unfortunately today is just the opposite where the triangle were in the worst shape that Russia and China I don't think they're going to forge an alliance over the long term there's too many contradictions but clearly in the Triangle we're looking a lot less good shape than we did 40 years ago the other quick example is the Middle East as Stape suggested the Middle East except for a couple exceptions like Jordan and Saudi Arabia was essentially under the sway of Soviet arms and they thought that maybe they could get land back or peace from Israel by the pressure of Soviet arms Nixon and Kissinger wanted to move on the Middle East but the time wasn't ripe until the Yom Kippur War in October 73 and then again a sense of strategy since they always decided they wanted to prove to the Arab states that the only way they could get progress was with American mediation not Soviet arms Kissinger moved that just the precise right time the Egyptians attacked the Israelis the Syrians too and actually for the first time Arabs made real advances against Israel and then Israel course rebounded and fought back and surrounded the Egyptian army Kissinger moved at that precise moment to try to freeze the situation with the ceasefire because he figured for the first time before the Egyptian army was wiped out because he saw that for the first time the Arabs had some sense of dignity that they had had some success they hadn't been humiliated by the Israelis and so they might be better prepared to enter negotiations which by the way was Sadat strategy his attack was not an end in itself it was to produce negotiations that's Kissinger calling oh I got it wrong at the same time for the freedom of at the same time for the first time Israel was sobered up they realized that they weren't quite as secure as they thought so both sides were in the mood to negotiate and indeed they did and we let the shuttle diplomacy now I would say that the grand strategy of those years can't be a hasn't been but doesn't have to be totally replicated and subsequent administration's they had a situation in the late sixties early seventies where we had the nucleus standoff with the Russia injured no contact with China we had a Vietnam war going on he had the Soviets dominate in the Middle East so you needed some conceptual strength and so on that's always important in foreign policy you've got to have some sense of where you end up not just tactical decisions based on discrete advance but successive administration's have had some success without this grand strategy but having some sense of what they're up to I mean Bush and Bush won and what he said we pushed back the invasion of Kuwait with a power pole we don't go over and try to throw over the government or we end the Cold War by giving Gorbachev some face or the beautification of Germany or the Clinton administration on the cost of our agreement or Obama on Iran figuring there's a lot of problems with Iran but it's better to deal with them if they're not nuclear then and so you get a partial agreement to try to seal that off as you deal with the other problems or climate change and so on so I'm not saying you had to have the brilliance of the Nixon Kissinger error in terms of conceptual strength cuz it's a different world but you got to have some sense of where you're going and I don't want to another things tape ones that we don't want to get another anti Trump rally here we're all sick of talking about this and so I won't dwell on it but you have a situation now where there's no sense of strategy at all and we've gone if comparing Kissinger and Nixon to say tactical diplomacy and now we have to compare it to tweeter diplomacy which is the most extreme example of acting by impulse narcissism phony deals Bluffs which others understand so you're gonna wipe out North Korea and then you'd love lettuce with Kim jong-un you go back and forth you're trying to implement tough sanctions because your advisers on Russia but you cozy up to Putin just the last couple of weeks with Iran we get talk of we sent aircraft carriers and other assets through the area because Iran's threatening us then we hear Trump a few days ago so no no no I don't want to war and he are gonna have to rein in this hawkish Bolton and now this morning yesterday he tweets again threatening to wipe everyone out I mean you just can't conduct policy like that you need a strategy I'll take one example then we already get on to other questions but for example China or greater interest to this group to Trump's credit he is begun to blow the whistle on the mercantilist ik and protectionist his policies of of China but he doesn't have a clue how to deal with China overall yes I think correct to describe them as strategic competitors but it's either falling in love with XI or blustering we'll get into the tariff or if you want later but the point is if you want to deal with China you need a strategic approach not just this tactical one on one or two issues and so in each of the three components I consider most of essential strategically with China he is messing us up domestically get our act together not only go get away from polarization and get some things done invest in infrastructure built up our competitive strengths versus China not to mention looking like the city on the hill and promoting democracy and human rights which he totally ignores in fact he loves autocrats so our soft power and our domestic hard power is suffering then allies you need allies with China and trade I'm happy to say that in the last few days looks like he's postponing Auto tariffs and he's trying to get the Canadian Mexican deal in place so that we can least have more united front against China but if you want to compete with your honor you want to work with your allies not pick fights with them and love dictators and finding multilateral institutions where we should taking the lead to pull out of Iran and climate eels and lead the field to China not only do we forfeit areas where we can cooperate with China but we're leaving the field to them and another example course is the trans-pacific partnership Act which he would chew and if you want to deal with China economically as well as geopolitically we needed that so I do think the lessons are still applicable today I think there Apple it all administration's but I think it's much more acute in the current situation when let me link those very interesting observations to the book dr. Kissinger notes in the book the difficulties caused for the Nixon Kissinger foreign policy during the Nixon administration the difficulties caused by views in the United States that the Soviet Union was inherently an evil State that negotiating with the USSR granted it moral equivalence and therefore somehow it was wrong to be negotiating with them and that the culmination of the Cold War had to be some kind of overall diplomatic confrontation or a war these concepts are now being applied to China and arguably could be complicating the problem of trying to sort out the areas where our strategic rivalry china is a dominant factor and those areas where we need to cooperate with china for both narrow US national interests and for global reasons such as climate change could you reflect on that a bit now Charlie gave this answer shorter so we can get to more questions I think China has been overreaching but we're in danger of overreacting so quick advertisement for I think the most appropriate policy toward China then I get more directly to a question as a report put out by a task force of longtime China watchers by the Asia Society and university callistonian Sandiego / shell and Suzan sure called course-correction and I do recommend this as being firmer with China but also seeking out areas where we can compete and do it smartly and where we can cooperate first let's distinguish the Russians are interfering with our democracy directly the China is interfering they're trying to influence our public opinion sometimes in ways that are unacceptable but they're not trying to actually overthrow our system and in terms of the Cold War it's one thing with the Soviet Union we were confronting them we had absolutely no economic connections and now of course is tremendous interdependence with China I do think we have to push back in certain tasks I think China has gotten more aggressive overseas South China Sea pressures on Taiwan pressures on Hong Kong its military buildup which is asymmetrical versus our strengths much more repressive regime at home and then flaunting these various overseas is a different model and interfering in our and other countries societies then of course the mercantilist ik and protectionist economic policies so I do think some pushback is required but it ought to be done in a way that I suggested earlier in terms of our domestic strengths we certainly have assets of China's cut huge problems it would just look at their 14 neighbors with terrorism or nuclear weapons or ancient enmities of border conflicts we've got Canada Mexico and the two oceans all kinds of other strengths that we have so we oughta play to those strengths and not be a worried about overtaken by by China Jo pardon I think was misquoted the other day said we'd have to worry about China that's a stupid statement by itself what I think he meant was we have enough inherent strengths they have enough important problems that we can compete with him to be with him smartly so yes we got a push back we got to be more careful about 5g technology intellectual property theft by students and so on but not to start banning them or overreacting in that case we ought to in my view get back to the TPP in order to enjoin what is now 11 nations in order to have multilateral pressure so I think we are in danger of demonizing China we have a new committee what is it called the committee the president video the president resuscitated are you to know what am i feeling we have to be tougher with China but we still have errors we can cooperate I do not rule out China going back to a more constructive course under XI who I think has been a lot the part of the problem a little pessimistic in the short run but if we have self-confidence if we compete smartly if we push back where we should if we join with our allies and reassert our efforts and multilateral institutions I have every reason to think we can compete with these guys and I don't rule out the current you look the debate here and one last comment there are a lot of those and many of whom I respect like Jim Mann or maybe in the audience and others that we're all naive and we all thought China is going to become a democracy because of capitalism in the middle class and so on I think some of us were to me I was fairly optimistic after Tiananmen Square where you had millions of people demonstrating but we always hedged in terms of allies and military and no assuming this is going to happen and I don't think we should be overly pessimistic today for the middle and long term I think if we compete smartly with China and if we can have our allies and friends with us one cannot rule out China returning to a somewhat more constructive course when dr. Kissinger emphasizes in the book the importance of the anti hegemony clauses in the Shanghai communique when it was issued in 1972 I confess that I had to rush or a dictionary to find out what hegemony meant I was never sure whether it was hegemony or hegemony to my knowledge it was the first time in American diplomatic history actually that we used that word but it clearly played a very important role in the breakthrough that turned the course of the Cold War because both the United States and China were opposed to Soviet hegemony in the world you could argue that China's foreign policy has been consistent in that it went from opposing Soviet of Germany to being unhappy with a sole superpower which amounted in essence to opposing American hegemony in the world but now we are accusing China of having the goal of becoming not only a regional hegemon but actually a global hegemon is that an accurate assessment of what China's goals are and how would you think how should we deal with this question should we try to reach an agreement with China on opposing global hegemony well if you mean a written agreement or another communique of some sort no that's just a slippery slope and there's no way we can construct that particular the two current regimes in Washington and Beijing and we'd make everybody nervous around the world however I think we can move in that direction conceptually but it's going to be tough right now let me first say that the jury is out on what China's goals are look they have a Middle Kingdom conflict though the center of the world they ruled the world essentially for 4000 5000 years then they had a lousy century in terms of humiliation and foreign domination and of course they play on out for nationalistic reasons now and I think ever since 2008 the financial crisis where we screwed up and they seem to be doing better not to mention the Olympics coming-out party started with huge in Taliban war under Xi Jinping they now feel they're they should take their rightful place in many ways they have a right to take that rightful place I don't rule out frankly certainly their dominating Asia and even global influence there's certainly reaching for that now and even to over the long term to a point of threatening the United dates but because of my self-confidence in the u.s. if we got our act together and the allies we have compared to China I think that's unlikely and I think they'll come to that conclusion right now of course China's biding its time I think they're leaving aside for now their final decision they want to gain on us in Asia and in the world situation and they'll decide when they're stronger in another couple of decades where they're to be even more aggressive so I don't rule out a fairly ominous future but I think we can prevent it now what I would do even though I wouldn't try to negotiate a document but it's going to be impossible with Trump and she frankly is that we ought to have strategic discussions with the Chinese along the following lines and you could do it with Kissinger and Jolin ma you cannot do it now but conceptually you what you're getting at is correct namely we fear that China wants this drive us out of Asia maybe take over the world they feel we're containing them trying to keep them down we ought to have a discussion and it's tough which in effect says we say to them look we we mean it when we say we're not opposing your eyes you have a right to have more seats at the table and more influence but you really have to abide by the international rules and norms you can try to adjust some to reflect your strength but the basic fundamentals of a system which enabled you to grow dramatically have to be respected but within that framework we're welcoming you and we can cooperate in certain areas the Chinese in turn have got to say to us we have an interest in Asia it's right on our doorstep we have a legitimate case here but we're not trying to drive you away you've got interest too and there won't be willing for both of us at our Pacific Sam with specific issues like North Korea with China has legitimate security interests but they've always put stability of the regime over nuclear weapons deprival and that's been a problem here so we ought to talk to them about their security concerns so we ought to have this kind of discussion in order to reach a more stable world system but I'm obviously very pessimistic with our current leadership one final simple question and then we'll turn to questions from the audience dr. Kissinger constantly emphasizes in the book the need for and I'm quoting this language comes from the book the need for strategic blueprints a vision of the future a sense of the desired end state to guide tactical foreign policy decisions toward a strategic goal but our political system is attaching essentially no importance to having presidential candidates who are prepared to provide this sort of strategic leadership that President Nixon and National Security Advisor Kissinger were able to provide at that critical moment in the Cold War how do we deal with this problem because we are still the most powerful country in the world but we've had four presidents in a row I mean this problem didn't begin with President Trump whatever you think about the foreign policy that was carried out by our earlier presidents the fact is the president's themselves were not prepared by experience or by their own way of thinking to provide strategic guidance as to how the United States should be exercising our influence in the world how how can we deal with that problem within a few words that's the easy question why don't we go back to the audience well very quickly again I want to emphasize what I said earlier are not saying we have to have the kind of strategic approach grand strategy of Nixon and Kissinger but we do have to have some common sense we do have to have a president is willing to believe as intelligence community instead of dismissing them someone who understands for rational foreign policy process you've got to fill the top positions in government and that you can't within 72 hours go from hard to soft to hard on Iran for example so I'm not asking for a very high bar here I don't think the president has to be strategically adapted at foreign policy as long as he's got some advisors who can help him I mean I don't think Ford that was his strength that Kissinger certainly helped him I don't think that was Reagan's strength but Shultz have to you know helped him and I would argue that our domestic scene is still the most urgent and I'd rather have a president who's good on that which in turn will help us compete with China and in our foreign policy in general so I don't want to get into particular candidates but certainly Biden knows a lot about some of the other candidates no less but that's not crippling if they get the right advisors my own thesis is that in the presidential debates we should stop asking the candidates what their policy positions are in particular areas rather we should grill them on what they have done to prepare themselves to be president have they learned economics have they visited foreign countries have they met with foreign leaders etc in other words I think that our system needs to put much greater emphasis on the requirement that if you are ambitious and want to be President there are certain things you have to do to qualify to hold that office and we're not doing this the president agree one last go I noticed Jim man is here I do want to give him his too he was a head of almost everybody years ago about not getting over optimistic about China and assuming certain things I would argue that we were not quite as naive as stupid as he thinks some of us were but I gave him full credit for being way ahead of the power curve on the threat coming from China I just feel we still should not overreact to it well thank you let's go to the audience now and we'll start way in the back and then in the middle there what please wait for the microphone mister Lord there's no reason that you would remember this but I interviewed you in 1977 for my Oxford thesis on the us-china date on I was a foreign service reserve officer and of course the information that was available was much more limited publicly at that time I hope you got an A or newer thesis that well I continued after that but I'm curious about how Kissinger educated himself on China since that was not something he was really familiar with when he came into the administration and I don't know if you've read Margaret McMillen's books and she has had access to much more of what's been Declassified and what the Chinese have had that's that's one question and then when you get into the Chinese perspective more recently during the Iraq war they were busy locking down mineral resources in various parts of the world and they have been busy developing a global Navy and taking a long-term strategic view whereas we tend to take a shorter term perspective and if the two of you are able to comment on some of that they've along with their history of thousands of years of of presence they are looking at foreign policy and economic policy generally in a longer term perspective than we do okay I'll let state take the second question and the first one on Kissinger is education it's a very good point he came in essentially knowledgeable about world affairs certainly nuclear arms and so on but mostly a European expert and one of the genius dimensions of Henry was that he not only learned how to deal with the Chinese but he learned how to deal in the Middle East and with the Vietnamese and others that he had had no real contact with he got a memo from Nixon on February 1 1969 saying get in touch with the Chinese that's how urgently priority was for the president and also for Kissinger and so from then on he began to educate himself he called on everybody from China scholars across the country to Andre Malvo all of France and so on and I want to point out yes there's no question that under the Nixon foreign policy was one out of the White House and the State Department other agencies were cut out of some of the secret negotiations no one's going to deny that it does not in any way minimize the contributions of the experts in the bureaucracy from the very beginning as we are taking some public steps to sort of indicate the direction we were going and as we were searching secretly for anemia where we ended up with Pakistan we asked for all kinds of information from the Intelligence Agency from the State Department the Pentagon they thought it was just general support that in realized as we got closer in 71 that was for an actual trip but whether it was that or once the secret trip was announced and we began ready for the president's trip and the State Department was included in the delegation we drew heavily on them personally as well as their writings now still doesn't mean they weren't cut out of things I mean I was in the mouth summit and the Secretary of State wasn't but and sharing our communique got criticized at the last minute because the State Department was excluded from the negotiation force they shouldn't have been a Marshall Greene had some very good points which we tried to reopen and we did make some progress but my point here is that not only the Kissinger educate himself but he relied heavily on the experts around the government well I'll just just add a couple of points one dr. Kissinger did end up with some very good China specialists on his staff in the White House John Holdren John Holdrege for example who among the least moronic of the China experts and and he drew in their wisdom but I think it also illustrates when you have to deal with hundreds of countries in the world that you can't be an expert on every one of them and therefore it's particularly important that you have some understanding of how the promisee functions how dealing with this country has an immediate impact on countries elsewhere and both President Nixon and president and secretary Kissinger our national security adviser Kissinger at the time had that understanding if you don't believe me go on and do an internet search on an article that dr. Kissinger wrote in 1968 before he had been approached by Nixon to be his national security adviser it's called current issues of American foreign policy and if you read it now it is stunning how many of the insights in that article are still relevant to our foreign policy today so it was an expertise on China that enabled dr. Kissinger to play a helpful role to President Nixon in achieving the breakthrough but it was an understanding of foreign policy and how you need to take into account the interests of both sides in order to reach mutually acceptable understandings in the middle in the red top and then we'll go to Jim if you get a little closer to the mic please sit on so working okay that's okay yeah I'm not sure I heard everything but quickly is China's role in the North Korean issue I think on the whole they've been more the problem than a solution they have legitimate security interests we ought to be talking to them about that we tried I think without real success in a sense saying to reassure them it says unification which is a euphemistic way of saying regime change that they're legitimate with security concerns can be respected that say American troops wouldn't move further north might even be withdrawn over time that if refugees pour over the border into China we'd help them out financially the nuclear weapons we've taken care of by the UN not by the PLA or the 82nd airborne these kinds of assurances but having said that China above all does not want a unified democratic country on their border and therefore even though they don't want nuclear weapons on the border they've consistently undercut and watered-down sanctions now they've been better for a while under trump but they're slipping again partly because of trumps mismanagement of this issue and Kim's tactics but on the whole pressure on North Korea which i think is required whether to negotiate or to contain them is undercut by the Chinese and I think there's been too much talk of China's help in this issue I don't think they've been all that helpful in my opinion if bring a microphone up front please with Jim man hi thanks for this just working this your lucid presentation I want to ask two quick questions that involve the early days the first is at what point you're working alongside Kissinger does he really take on China as his thing the reason I ask is the memoirs show I think it's Al Haig writes that in that February Kissinger shows up maybe from the Oval Office and says rolls his eyes and China the boss wants to establish a relationship with China as as if he's incredulous and I wondered whether it's you know it gradually became part of his identity and I didn't I don't know whether that was the secret trip or before that and then the other question on the secret trip Kissinger writes in his memoirs Taiwan was barely discussed at that first meeting and the mem cons which came out later showed the Taiwan was indeed discussed right at the beginning of the first meeting I'd like to let me go both those and if I leave something I'll come back to me first the first year from 69 February to 70 I was not his special assistant I was not privy to all the inside discussions on the Vietnam negotiation China after that I was involved in all of them I was lucky to be paired with him and with experts and all the major issues so I can't absolutely tell you his inner thoughts I would not have talked him that much about China and so on but the Haig account just seems unreal to me I know from Kissinger zone writings and previous work that he he thought China was important as I said more for balancing purposes and for world order purposes which was Nixon's emphasis secondly he's too damn smart to understand I'm opening up a China would be a gerbil of geopolitical earthquake if you don't think Henry would want to be in charge of that I've got a book on bridge this area so clearly I think he was very interested in China from the beginning there's no question the time I got there which was February 1970 still early in the explorations he was clearly dominant so I just think the Hager Cod is totally misleading for Henry to say we didn't discuss Taiwan a secret trip was an example of his duplicity let's face it I don't want to be quoted out of context total nonsense it was excessively as it should be I think you meant to say the sophistication of his thing when Henry calls me tomorrow that's what I'll say let me make a point in Taiwan you know the conventional wisdom is by some at least that we sort of sold out in Taiwan or we discuss things let's let's think back of where we were for 20 years the Chinese said we're not going to even talk to you about other issues till we saw the Taiwan issue so we had these propaganda a few salons in Warsaw and Geneva and so on when we finally established through the pakistanis a secret channel and I would help Henry write the notes to Jo and lie through the Pakistani ambassador and the idea of a trip came up we made it very clear we wouldn't go there if Taiwan was the only issue so they came back and said we'll discuss other issues that made the secret trip possible now obviously if you're gonna open up a China given his 20 year history you got to talk about Taiwan I don't know why Henry would deny it frankly he should have because I think China made the major concessions on Taiwan and not us and it's an example to meet a strategic approach how's this for Jo and I'm also teaching approach for them Taiwan was the crucial issue right but they decided they could kick the can down of old have a holding action in order to achieve for the nearer term the two main objectives one security against the polar bear to the north and secondly breaking out of the isolation of the Cultural Revolution that's still going on and getting other countries to follow the u.s. lead in terms of normalization getting into the United Nations they achieved both those objectives we achieved ours as well but they did it by holding the nose on Taiwan and kicking the can down the road the Shanghai communique and the whole summit was about finessing difficulties through ambiguity unilateral statements of each other's position and postponing the difficult issue of Taiwan we opened up to China what a China do they allowed us to continue diplomatic relations with Beijing they allowed us to continue to sell arms they allowed us to continue to have troops in Taiwan and Kissinger Li affirmed our alliance with Taiwan on Chinese soil now if that isn't China of reaching out and of course we said we're for one China we folded up about which China and we did make him who we had to to get movement we're trying but my point is I would say that Joe and I showed sweetie vision and that they they bent more than we do German let me just add one point on the the on the emergence of China as a factor in dr. Kissinger is thinking the Nixon administration was inaugurated in January of 1969 dr. Kissinger became the National Security Advisor that spring we had armed clashes on the sino-soviet border and that summer we didn't fully understand what the background of these clashes was but it was immediately evident that an opportunity had opened up for us that didn't exist previously of maneuvering with China because of the increased threat that the Soviet Union was posing to China so I think you can be certain that dr. Kissinger was beginning to focus heavily on China at least two years before the secret trip he made to Beijing because of the relevance of China as an emerging factor in the sign of Soviet relations thank you thank you vas in your moment in my case I should have decided that because I was in some of the meetings even though I was not a special assistant and Kissinger clearly was concerned about how we use this opportunity so he was clearly involved in I suspect even before then excuse me we have a question from Peter Thompson who served with ambassador Lord as deputy chief of mission thank you well I'll just stand I'm Winston state I want to draw things back to the triangular relationship in the 70s when we had the catbird seat as you said we had better relations with each than they had with each other and I want to draw a comparison maybe this is on potential in the road ahead to get back into the catbird seat see just try this out on you maybe it won't happen in the near term during the Trump administration but it could hold promise for the future you could still say that each one of them value their relationship with us much more than with each other and just about every sphere I mean Putin's playing games he's trying to show an alignment with China against the United States but when push comes to shove you look at the relationship between Russia and us what we can do to them still and you look at our economic relationship but China but that goes into other areas as well then there's also I don't want to take too much time but I'd say that they have potential areas of friction right now Central Asia is kind of a buffer between them but I was in a delegation that was in Kazakhstan not long ago when the central bank chairman told us that he expects in a decade to be in the Chinese un zone now Russia also sees that near a broad area of Central Asia as it's in in its Imperial Imperium certainly Putin does last factor is India India was not much of a factor during the 70s but now India too is a rising power with a lot of potential out reach further into Asia with the blue water Navy etc so I'll stop there again the main I want it's a difference I want state to state by the way was in Moscow Embassy when we opened up to China so he saw this very clearly from the the Soviet perspective I agree by the way I don't want to single anybody out here because I work with so many of you but Thompson had the misfortune to being by Deputy in Beijing but an EAP so this man has suffered a lot just like I suffered under under Kissinger and I've always appreciated it I fully agree with you analysis and therefore your your question that the Chinese and the Soviets or the Russians are cooperating for tactical reasons they don't want the world to be won by the u.s. superpower they agree on the lack of human rights and here they have agreement with Trump and this tactical ways they can and they working together on Iran and other issues so in UN votes so there's no question and against human rights in the UN that they have tactical agreements but I believe their history enmity the lack of chemistry that big open Soviet land with Chinese population the fact they have no economic interests really with each other so perhaps energy compared to their interests with us in each case that this needn't I'm not all that concerned about their ganging up on us in any strategic sense that I think over time but an intelligent policy we get back in the catbird seat but we can certainly make sure there's no grand alliance against this but let me give state the last word you know just very briefly I think it still holds true that their bilateral relations with us may be more important than the bilateral relationship there I think it's less the case in the Soviet side now but it shows the unwisdom and the lack of strategic vision in talking about D linking ourselves from the Chinese economy and pursuing the course that will reduce the interests on the part of China in putting up with the difficult United States because of the importance of the relationship to them this is what I consider total strategic myopia because no one's focusing adequately on how this it impacts on our role in the world this is a mistake that Nixon and Kissinger would not make they would immediately understand and also they would understand the fact that we have driven the Russia into the arms of China through the confrontation over Ukraine and the NATO confrontation with Russia there you find very little consideration given to that factor in the way that we're looking at our European strategy so again one asks where's the strategic vision China has laid out goals for 2020 one 2025 2035 2040 9 what presidential candidate is putting forward a vision of where they would like to see the United States 10 15 20 25 years down the road our strategic vision at the moment is one of our biggest or the absence of a strategic vision is one of our biggest liabilities if time for one more question that's it yes Peter got most most of them but I'll ask one more three words you don't hear in Washington very much these days is and then what and and I'd like for you to comment upon the areas in the world that might be strategic flash points where we might have a conflict that would raise the temperature in the relationship between US and China Iran Venezuela Africa are there places around the world that you see that China views as strategically important to them where a misstep by us could lead to a conflagration that we might otherwise want to avoid well again welcome States view I think our biggest danger is its miscalculation an accident neither the US or China wants to get into a conflict but whether it's bombing the wrong embassy or planes colliding things can happen and the China aggressiveness in the South China Seas mean many more deployments by us and I'm happy to say allies and I give Trump credit for stepping up operations there including joint operations by the way exercises are more effective than freedom of navigation area but I won't get into detail on that so I do think there's there's a danger of miscalculation but clearly neither side wants war for obvious reasons that tremendous havoc and the loss of life the wreck of their economies and so on is too obvious to go into so I think it's a matter of managing these delicate errors now you mentioned what are the flash points well Iran wouldn't be with China because that's there is a danger now with Iran stumbling into that and it was by tomorrow I think I'm sure Trump will be a peacemaker again but the problem there is that you could have a accident delete so it's the same with China I don't think they'll attack Taiwan I don't think they could take Taiwan if they attacked it but they are squeezing Taiwan and there is that is so imported the Chinese that whether it's a blockade or some other kind of incident that we could stumble into North Korea wouldn't be against China but it could be an area of instability so I'm not worried about war with China frankly and I think we're and it is important even in these difficult times with China and I used to know one of my feelings they really have overreached and they're a pain in the neck right now it's important to have military-to-military talks to try to avoid we've had some limited talks about incidents at sea and so on so that kind of thing has to happen to head off the accident because it was certainly not going to go into war purposefully the flash points are as well as touch on North Korea and Taiwan if we move away from a one China policy continue arms sales to Taiwan it's going to become a major flashpoint and I'm talking at a big deal of level South China Sea there's a potential for clashes ships you know raising tensions but neither side is going to go to war or into serious military clashes over fairly occupiable rocks in the South China Sea North Korea we don't win is right China's interests in North Korea are not identical to ours it does share the goal of denuclearization because it sees clearly the proliferation risks that North Korea having nuclear weapons poses in terms of Japan and South Korea feeling that they have the need for nuclear weapons but the most important thing that I find lacking in American understanding of the issue is imagine a situation where China has decided it wants to bring about regime change in Mexico and pursues a policy of not consulting in the United States on the implications of either through subversion or through military intervention taking actions that would have that effect we would as we did with the French Empire in Mexico back in the 19th century have the ability to intervene in ways that would frustrate that so China is an absolutely essential factor in dealing with the North Korean problem whether or not they see things identically through the way that we're seeing them so that we cannot ignore China's role and we need to try to have China working with us if we want to have any hope of a successful strategy well thanks to all of you for joining us this morning thank you to Ambassador Winston Lord ambassador Stapleton Roy the book Kissinger on Kissinger reflections on diplomacy grand strategy and leadership is available out in the foyer are you willing to and and they can be signed actually anybody who buys 100 bucks on Sunday sign well thank you once again for joining us [Applause]

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