Free Markets, Free People


On Kissinger

There will be light blogging today as I head from DC to Minneapolis for RightOnLine. A few thoughts on Henry Kissinger.

One, an hour to listen to him talk about China is way to short a time and I, and I’m certain everyone else in the room, could have spent at least a day questioning him. He impressed me as a very deep thinker in the strategic sense and he made the point that one of the primary differences between China and the US (among many) is the fact that the Chinese culture and history produce many strategic thinkers and planners while they’re actually few a and far between in the West. When asked to name foreign policy strategic thinkers in the US at the moment he was at a bit of a loss.

Anyway, I recorded the whole interview and want to take the time to go through it and write it up.

I also had a chance to read parts of the book. It’s fascinating. You have to remember this was a man who had many one-on-one discussions with Mao. In fact, he said he originally planned to make the book about conversations he’d had with Chinese leaders, but it grew into one that covers the country’s history, culture and philosophies to help the reader better understand why the Chinese react to events as they do. Like I said above, fascinating stuff and interesting to read (at least the random parts I read – which tells me the entire book is like that.

Much more on this as time permits.

~McQ

Twitter: McQandO

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6 Responses to On Kissinger

  • On Kissinger
    ¬
    That’s an interesting image…

  • “Chinese culture and history produce many strategic thinkers and planners” versus the West.
    I would like to see evidence of this.
    After all, this is a culture which managed to have a corrupt imperial system that at one time burned all of their boats and forced everyone to move 3 miles inland for fear of foreign contact, that morphed into the ROC controlled by Chiang Kai-Shek’s Leninist KMT, which also became corrupt, and then had communism, which made everyone really poor, and is now almost a pinnacle corrupt.
    I also doubt any of these were planned very well, or with much strategy in mind. And corruption seems very short-term thinking if you ask me.

  • Take your time Bruce. There is a whole lot going on in China right now and no one seems to be reporting it.
    ¬
    Harun. You make some good points on close in Chinese history. I don’t know about the “Leninist” angle with the KMT, but the KMT did go through it’s “German” period. In reverse order, at the beginning of the Ching (now Qing), the Kang-hsi Emperor was then and is now considered to be a model leader and administrative dynamo. Before that, Ming despotism was just that. Believe it or not, the Yuan (Mongols) led quite well; The Song were quite feeble but culturally rich and of course the Tang was¬†emblematic¬†of a three hundred year water shed history of mature Chinese government.

  • “When asked to name foreign policy strategic thinkers in the US at the moment he was at a bit of a loss.”

    Other than himself, of course.

    “the Chinese culture and history produce many strategic thinkers and planners”

    Which explains why China has been the dominant world power for the last few centuries.

  • You can buy it for your iOS devices on the iBookStore (and probably other places). I can’t think of a better way to test your iPad than to read Henry Kissinger’s new book on it. ¬†It can be a part of your iPad library in seconds (for $19.99).
    Looking forward to reviews of both the book and life with the iPad. ¬