I agree with the attempt of the Nuclear Posture Statement to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons where we can safely do so. Some of the assurances that were given to non-nuclear countries, however, seem to me too explicit. Especially the statement that the U.S. would not respond to biological and chemical attacks with nuclear weapons. That issue should be left ambiguous.
As for the recent summit of world leaders, controlling fissionable material all over the world is crucial, especially as the civilian use of nuclear energy spreads. Of these three initiatives on the nuclear weapons front taken by Obama, this is the most important subject. It will need continued attention to be effective.
Gardels: One of the stumbling blocks the last time the U.S. and the then-
Kissinger: I favor developing a joint missile defense with
Gardels: When you made the opening to China with
As a result, one senses in China these days an inner-civilizational confidence that borders on arrogance. That has led China to assert itself strongly vis-à-vis the U.S. on
How should we read China these days? How should we deal with China?
Kissinger: I don't agree with your catalogue of examples as reflecting what you call Chinese arrogance.
It is true, of course, that the China of today is far more developed than at the time of the opening. One of the big challenges of the next generation is whether the American and Chinese perceptions of the world can be brought into some harmony. America has its own values and convictions, but so does China. We must learn to evolve side by side.
This is the big unresolved challenge in geopolitics today. I think there are prospects of a constructive approach on a whole series of new common interests that have never been dealt with on a global basis -- climate and other environmental issues, nuclear proliferation -- that will require an unprecedented scope for foreign policy in both countries.
Kissinger: They have made some positive movement in the last few weeks. The issue now is how these sanctions are defined. The purpose of the exercise is not sanctions as such, but the impact these sanctions will have on
Gardels: For the second year in a row,
How do you view the BRIC initiatives? What role will they play globally?
Kissinger: We've been through this with the non-aligned movement. The question is whether the BRICs can align their policies into a coherent bloc. China and
Also, the non-aligned movement was attempting to place itself between the U.S. and the
Gardels: They are defining themselves against
Kissinger: This is true more in rhetoric than practice. The BRICs will attempt to be a player on global economic questions. But I would be surprised if they could achieve a coherent political position on the international scene. In any event, the most hopeful prospect is cooperation between the BRIC states and America, not confrontation.
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(C) 2010 Henry Kissinger