Veteran US Diplomat Blames Current Conflicts on Washington’s Lack of Visionary Leadership
Story Code : 1009138
In an interview published by RT on Saturday, the 99-year-old former US Secretary of State told the Wall Street Journal that Washington has rejected traditional diplomacy, and in the absence of a great leader, has driven the world to the precipice of war over Ukraine and Chinese Taipei (Taiwan). Kissinger previously courted controversy for suggesting that Kiev abandon some of its territorial claims to end the conflict with Russia.
“We are at the edge of war with Russia and China on issues which we partly created, without any concept of how this is going to end or what it’s supposed to lead to,” Kissinger said in the interview.
Kissinger elaborated on the West’s role in the Ukraine conflict in a recent book profiling prominent post-WWII leaders. He described Russia’s decision to send troops into the country in February as motivated by its own security, as having Ukraine join NATO would move the alliance’s weapons to within 480km of Moscow. Conversely, having Ukraine in its entirety fall under Russian influence would do little to “calm historic European fears of Russian domination.”
Diplomats in Kiev and Washington should have balanced these concerns, he wrote, describing the current conflict in Ukraine as “an outgrowth of a failed strategic dialog.” Speaking to the Wall Street Journal a month after the book’s publication, Kissinger stood by his insistence that the West should have taken Russian President Vladimir Putin’s security demands seriously, and refused to signal that Ukraine would one day be accepted into the NATO Alliance.
In the runup to Russia's special military operation in the Donbas, Moscow presented Washington and Brussels with written outlines of its security concerns, which were rejected by both receiving parties.
The Republican diplomat, who in the late 1960s and early 1970s held extensive negotiations with Vietnamese communists even as the US military waged war against them, said that modern American leaders tend to view diplomacy as having “personal relationships with the adversary,” and in words paraphrased by the Wall Street Journal, “tend to view negotiations in missionary, rather than psychological terms, seeking to convert or condemn their interlocutors rather than to penetrate their thinking.”
Instead, Kissinger argued that the US should seek “equilibrium” between itself, Russia, and China.