Former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger’s new book World Order is getting lots of favorable press and publicity. Our media treat him as something approaching royalty, with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria calling him “the elder statesman of American diplomacy.” He certainly has been around a long time. But has Kissinger been right or wrong about the major foreign policy issues of our time?
You may remember that Kissinger in 2009 insisted that President Obama could create a New World Order and that he had a good foreign policy team. He made these comments on CNBC during a “celebration” of 30 years of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China.
Bill Gertz’s book, The China Threat, explained how Kissinger “played the key role” in the talks that led President Nixon in 1972 to establish informal ties with China, that ultimately led to formal diplomatic relations in 1979. Kissinger insisted that China had abandoned communism, and was no longer a threat.
The threat from China is growing daily. The new book, The Russia-China Axis: The New Cold War and America’s Crisis of Leadership, by Douglas E. Schoen and Melik Kaylan, examines some recent developments. As noted by analyst Toby Westerman, however, Russia and China actually declared their own version of a “New World Order” in 1997.
A recent article in the Bejing Review, “An Evolving Partnership,” goes back even further, noting that China and Russia signed a joint statement on “the foundation for bilateral ties” in 1992, and established a “partnership of strategic coordination” in 1996.
After that, the author notes:
- In 2001, China and Russia signed the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation.
- In February 2013, China and Russia signed a joint statement to “deepen their comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination,” thereby “bringing bilateral relationship to an unprecedented level.”
Emphasizing that Russia and China currently enjoy a “very high level of relations characterized as [a] strategic partnership,” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says Russia and China are expected to sign more than 40 “very important bilateral documents” this week, on the occasion of the 19th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian prime ministers.
Today, Russia, China, Brazil, South Africa and India are members of the BRICS alliance of nations, which is designed to undermine U.S. economic, financial, and military dominance in the world.
A proposed Russia-South Africa nuclear deal has gotten the attention of South African Democracy Alliance leader Helen Zille, who says, “President [Jacob] Zuma has been to Russia on numerous occasions over the past 18 months. What were the details of these visits? Why were they so secretive? And why has Zuma clearly given preferential access to himself for the Russians, in the absence of witnesses or experts in nuclear energy? What are the incentives attached?”
Zuma, like his predecessors, was (or still is) a member of the South African Communist Party, brought to power through the African National Congress (ANC) with the support of the Soviet Union and Communist China.
Henry Kissinger’s speaking appearance on Wednesday at a meeting of the U.S.-Russia Business Council in New York City is more evidence of how “the elder statesman” has been wrong about key developments.