Gringo Lost

Words about things and stuff

How economics and security meet: US-PRC relations

with 3 comments

Dr. Kissinger just penned this article titled Forging a New Agenda with China about how, like-it-or-not, the US and China are locked in an economic relationship that neither country can afford to ignore.  The article is worth a read because it neatly breaks down how our two economies have become so intertwined.  But, I’d like to pullout some quotes that concern global power relationships and how forging collaborative economic institutions can have spillover effects into other realms like international security.

To make this effort [Sino-American partnership] work, American leaders must resist the siren call of a containment policy drawn from the Cold War playbook. China must guard against a policy aimed at reducing alleged American hegemonic designs and the temptation to create an Asian bloc to that end. America and China should not repeat the process that, a century ago, moved Britain and Germany from friendship to a confrontation that drained both societies in a global war. The ultimate victims of such an evolution would be global issues, such as energy, the environment, nuclear proliferation and climate change, which will require a common vision of the future.


[The US & China] must not slide into a 21st-century version of classic balance-of-power politics. It would be especially pernicious if opposing blocs were to form on each side of the Pacific. While the center of gravity of international affairs shifts to Asia, and America finds a new role distinct from hegemony yet compatible with leadership, we need a vision of a Pacific structure based on close cooperation between America and China but also broad enough to enable other countries bordering the Pacific to fulfill their aspirations.

Emphasis added by me because I found this line peculiar coming from the 20th-century’s foremost proponent of realpolitik.


3 Responses

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  1. Kissinger, the Teflon Don who ran every murderous enterprise in the latter half of the 20th century and took responsibility for none of it. An uber ego who once said “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac” Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for the sellout and consignment of millions of Cambodians, Laotians, and South Vietnamese to their deaths by PAVN and Khmer Rouge armies. A man who consigned our POW’s in Laos and Cambodia to nonentity status(death by the numbers). Operation Condor in South America?

    GL, I know I am not addressing your topic of realpolitik and China, but forgive this old Indochina Veteran for an unwilling suspension of disbelief. PS: No harm done, a good rant is almost enough……..


    August 21, 2009 at 8:47 am

  2. No doubt, Dr. Kissinger is a controversial figure. And perhaps the most effective foreign policy maker this country has ever had.

    And I think he has a point here that we Americans cannot take lightly. We cannot keep living an illusion that everything we touch turns to gold and we’ll never have to worry about changing how we spend (and don’t save).

    I agree with him too that we can combine both collaborative economic institutions with greater overall security partnerships. But, one is going to have to come first and the future points to working closer on financial matters.

    If there’s anything thing that can compare, it would be the Bretton Woods system which forced allied countries to collaborate on economic matters and is, at least, partially responsible for the peace and security between the Bretton Woods’ leading players.


    August 21, 2009 at 4:30 pm

  3. GL,
    Otto Van Bismarck coined the term ‘Realpolitik’. For you to say, “Dr. Kissinger is a controversial figure. And perhaps the most effective foreign policy maker this country has ever had”. This is an academic opinion, based on ‘knowthing’ politics. You did not live this time period. I was witness to the horror that this man, “the most effective foreign policy maker this country ever had “, wrought on South East Asia. It’s an insult to the memory of the millions that died as a result of Kissinger’s ‘realpolitik’. This is my own personal problem and this discussion has run it’s course. So I’ll end it on a brighter note. I value an open mind and honest discourse, dissonant, or in agreement, is essential to inquiry, so thanks. Peace


    August 21, 2009 at 6:00 pm

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