In a newly published interview with the Wall Street Journal, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger warned of the dangers of the United States’ current policy toward Russia and China.
“I think that the current period has a great trouble defining a direction. It’s very responsive to the emotion of the moment,” Kissinger told the Wall Street Journal.
Kissinger, 99, served as secretary of state and national security adviser under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and has held numerous foreign policy roles since. Kissinger has long been among the foremost advocates of realpolitik: a system of politics considered to be based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations.
“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, adding that the U.S. should not “accelerate the tensions and to create options.”
Kissinger warned that the U.S. should be wary about its recent increase in support toward Taiwan.
“The policy that was carried out by both parties has produced and allowed the progress of Taiwan into an autonomous democratic entity and has preserved peace between China and the U.S. for 50 years,” he said. “One should be very careful, therefore, in measures that seem to change the basic structure.”
Kissinger is among the most controversial figures in U.S. politics. He may be best known for his role in Operation Menu, which involved the secret U.S. bombing of Cambodia and Laos from 1969 to 1970. Kissinger also played a significant role in opening U.S. trade with China by making a secret trip to the country in 1971.
The late Christopher Hitchens wrote a book-length indictment of Kissinger in 2001 titled “The Trial of Henry Kissinger.” In the book, Hitchens calls for Kissinger’s prosecution "for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offenses against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture.” However, in a poll conducted by Foreign Policy magazine, scholars ranked Kissinger as the most effective U.S. secretary of state of the past 50 years.
“I do not torture myself with things we might have done differently,” Kissinger said in the recent interview.