On the Foothills of a Cold War with China

Speaking just 21 days after Mike Pompeo presented what amounts to The Trump China Doctrine at a gala in New.York. Henry Kissinger cautioned against too much bravura.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, age 96

The architect of Detente between the U.S. and China in 1972, warned that the two sides had escalated a trade war into ‘the foothills of a Cold War’ speaking to Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum. Three weeks prior Kissinger had been seated at the head table at the Hudson Foundation Awards Gala where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had delivered what many consider to be a reply to China’s President Xi speech celebrating the 70th anniversary of Communist rule in China.

“That makes it, in my view, especially important that a period of relative tension be followed by an explicit effort to understand what the political causes are and a commitment by both sides to try to overcome those. It is far from being too late for that, because we are still in the foothills of a Cold War.”

Observers may wonder whether Dr. Kissinger’s conciliatory tones may not be too late arriving on the scene. The Xi regime has escalated China’s aggressiveness dealing with the West amid a dramatic unwinding of the Chinese miracle. The falling growth numbers are noting short of startling for a country and an economy that is still bearing first fruits.

Dr. Kissinger acknowledged that the two largest world economies, and military powers:

“Are bound to step on each other’s toes all over the world, in the sense of being conscious of the purposes of the other.”

In this light,

“A discussion of our mutual purposes and an attempt to limit the impact of conflict seems to me essential. If conflict is permitted to run unconstrained the outcome could be even worse that it was in Europe. World War I broke out because a relatively minor crisis could not be mastered.”

As appears to be the case with Trump, the Europeans were chomping at the bit to engage in large scale war at the beginning of the 20th century.

“Everybody knows that trade negotiations, which I hope will succeed and whose success I support, can only be a small beginning to a political discussion that I hope will take place,” concluded the Former Secretary of State.

It is hard to imagine a diplomatic solution in Hong Kong and North Korea. With Trump’s Trade War premised on levelling the playing field between the U.S. and China, it’s also hard to believe the trade negotiations will succeed. Xi has already prepared China to go on another ‘long march.’ On the one hand, the Communists appear out of ammunition in the Trade War already. On the other, noting would play better for a Trump re-election than a victory against Communism. One thing is for sureā€”the Republicans are sticking by him on the impeachment front.

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