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China presents ‘fundamental challenge to American strategy,’ says Kissinger

August 20, 2015, 8:58 UTC+3 WASHINGTON

The challenge of China is a much subtler problem than that of the Soviet Union, Henry Kissinger said

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Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger

© AP Photo/Richard Drew

WASHINGTON, August 20. /TASS/. China "inherently presents a fundamental challenge to American strategy", "a much subtler problem than that of the Soviet Union," a patriarch of American foreign policy, Henry Kissinger, said in an interview with the National Interest magazine.

Dismissing a notion that the US had itself created a Frankenstein by ‘creating the opening to China’, the former secretary of state said: "A country that has had three thousand years of dominating its region can be said to have an inherent reality".

"The alternative would have been to keep China permanently subdued in collusion with the Soviet Union, and therefore making the Soviet Union-already an advanced nuclear country-the dominant country of Eurasia with American connivance," he noted.

"But China inherently presents a fundamental challenge to American strategy," he said in the interview.

In reply to the question whether he saw Beijing’s aspirations as Sinocentric, or whether they could be "integrated into some sort of Westphalian framework", Henry Kissinger said "That’s the challenge. That’s the open question. It’s our task".

"We’re not good at it, because we don’t understand their history and culture," he admitted.

"I think that their basic thinking is Sinocentric. But it may produce consequences that are global in impact," Kissinger said.

"Therefore, the challenge of China is a much subtler problem than that of the Soviet Union. The Soviet problem was largely strategic. This is a cultural issue: Can two civilizations that do not, at least as yet, think alike come to a coexistence formula that produces world order?" he summed up.

The National Interest’s editor, Jacob Heilbrunn, spoke with Henry Kissinger in July.

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