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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  June 12, 2011 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT

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moved back into the new york area but in 1993, of course, everything changed with the attack on the world trade center. the first bombing. and his story tracks the evolution of the fbi from what we traditionally think of them as being going after bank robbers and the mafia to an organization that was working on tracking terrorists. :
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♪ >> coming up next, booktv presents, "after words," an hour-long program where we invite guest hosts to interview authors. this week, former u.s. secretary of state henry kissinger and his new book "on china," the diplomat who accompanied president nixon to the communist nation presents his thoughts on the history of china's relationship with the united states and its current influence on american politics and monetary policy. he shares his perspective with former nixon aide and fox news contributor, monica crowley. >> host: dr. kissinger, great to see you, as always. and congratulations on your
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extraordinary new book which is called quite simply "on china" and i can't think of anybody else i'd rather talk to about china. china has gone over the last few decades from being a very important concern to the united states to an important, urgent and primary concern for the united states. and there's so many layers to the sino-american relationship and we're going to get into all of it with you. >> guest: i look forward to it. >> host: let's begin how china sees itself and how it's traditionally seen itself. as i was making my way through the book, both the united states and china both believe they represent unique values in the united states. you say the united states believes it has an obligation to spread its values to every part of the world; whereas, china acts on the basis of its singularity and that it's expanded through what you call cultural osmosis. tell us what you mean? >> guest: america believes that
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its values apply everywhere. that any society can adopt them. that our institutions can be spread everywhere. the chinese believe that they represent a unique civilization. you can't really become a chinese. you have to grow up in its cultural environment. you can't really naturalize as a chinese. so as a result, americans have thought of the world as composed of more or less equal society. and had the concept of sovereignty to go with it. the chinese, until the end of the 19th century, thought of the world as tributaries to what they call the celestial empire. tributaries didn't mean that they had to pay tribute.
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they had to -- it was expected that they bring symbolic gifts, but they very often give bigger gifts in the turn but what it means it said it indicated respect for the nature of chinese society and chinese supremacy in its region. so chinese relations to its other nations are based on its mutual respect than on a concept of equality. but the chinese, as we do, believe that their values are unique and it makes them even more sensitive than we would be to outside pressures telling them how to redo their society. >> host: is it a superiority? do the chinese -- >> guest: it's a sense of
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cultural to superiority. it's not necessarily a sense of personal seniority. >> host: you also right when europe entered the modern age, it had a tremendous experience with diversity by then. and you had these princes and counts, and you had cities across europe that governed themselves and you had an entire political philosophy built on that concept, that civilization, right? you also say when china entered the modern age, it had been a fully functioning imperial bureaucracy for over 1,000 years. tell us what you mean by imperial bureaucracy. >> guest: china, the modern china, evolved about 2,000 years ago and when china was unified. and then it was governed by a bureaucracy that was elected by competitive examinations. so in that sense, it was more modern than europe was at that
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period. but china had a governing philosophy which was confusionism and a governing bureaucracy which operated on a national basis. and, therefore, when -- occasionally china was conquered by its neighbors but they didn't know how to govern it and they needed the chinese bureaucracy so at least on two occasions in chinese history, foreigners came in and conquered the country, used the chinese bureaucracy to govern it and became sinofied themselves. so china expanded sometimes by the opposite, not by conquests but by being conquered.
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the mograls on one occasion. it's a painful way. >> host: it is, yes. you also say that because china was never really forced to engage with larger civilizations in the world, it remained basically insular, but because of that, it also considered itself the center of the world. does that still hold true? >> guest: in a way it still held true when nixon and i went to china. the contact of mao and the revolutionary leaders in china still was subconsciously influenced by the chinese pattern. for example, you never had an appointment with mao. you were summoned to see mao.
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and that was also the same of any foreign envoy that came with a previous millennium. there was a british -- at the end of the 18th century, the british sent an envoy to beijing, and he was supposed to offer them trade and diplomatic relations and everything that europeans were familiar with. he was marvelously received but he couldn't get an audience with the emperor. and it took him three months before he was summoned. and then they said, you have nothing we want. and we have nothing you should want. therefore, trade is not is not possible. and anyone who lives in binge has to wear chinese clothes, live in a chinese house and can
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never leave china. so it's not -- now, your question is do they still think this way? >> host: uh-huh. >> guest: of course, not exactly this way. and with globalization of the economy and with daily contact, but there's still a tendency to think in central kingdom terms but it's much attenuated in the modern period. >> you mentioned mao tao -- >> guest: i met him five times. three times alone. >> host: what were your impressions of him both as a strategic leader and as a movement leader? >> guest: first, as a movement leader, one has to understand that -- and tens of millions of people were killed under his
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rule. and the reason for that was because he wanted to complete the communist revolution in his lifetime. he knew that in chinese history, the leader he respected most was an emperor who unified china, and then 20 years after his death, all vestiges of its rule had disappeared except the unification. so he, for example, organized what was called the great leap forward in which china was supposed to move from total underdevelopment to its steel protection at the level of great britain in three years. and in order to do that, they had to get resources from the
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countryside. and 10 years later he started the culture revolution which was another -- produced another huge casualties under movement leader ground. he was -- there were enormous cruelties and disasters that were inflicted. at the same time as ruler of china, he had to maneuver china among a whole host of other countries. and the china that was poor, underdeveloped, not very strong militarily and had just merged from a century of half of colonial degradation.
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and on that point, he was an enormous leader and had a goal of strategic leaders. he's the only major communist country that survived the collapse of communism and he managed to switch from the communist side to the winning side without missing a beat. so on that point of view as a strategic analyst which is how we got to know him first, he had extraordinary abilities, as you would expect from somebody who started and unified a huge society and for the decade-long civil war. but one cannot forget the suffering he caused.
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>> host: you mentioned that you met with him a total of five times, three times alone. one-on-one. what were your impressions of him as a man? >> guest: it was never totally one-on-one. but i was the principal -- >> host: yeah. >> guest: mao in those context and i didn't have to deal with him on a written level, which is how these meetings came about, which as i say you were summoned so your chinese escorts would take off, almost always in chinese cars to where he lived. he undoubtedly had many places where he lived but one they showed foreigners was a regular soviet-style guest house, in which there was -- it was none of the majesty of european
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palaces. it had -- the first time, i saw him the anteroom had a ping-pong table in it. and he received one in a study in which folks were scattered all over the place. and he sat in the middle of a semi circle. he had a very sardonic manner. he did not, as almost every leader i knew that i met over the years would do -- most leaders i have five points to make and here are my five points. mao wouldn't do this. mao would begin his conversation. what is your consideration? and he would pose an issue, then you'd say whatever you wanted to
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say and then he'd say, well, have you considered the following? and every once in a while he would make a sardonic interjection. at one point, we were discussing the contribution europe could make to the common defense, and he said, they remind me of swallows who fly up in the air at an approaching storm and flap their wings. but you, professor and i, will know that the flapping of the wings does not affect the coming of the storm. so he achieved in that sentence two things. one, he gave me equal status with him, as sort of as a
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philosopher, professor, you and i, and then he had his metaphor of the impetus and this is how he would conduct a conversation. and sometimes it got pointed but it was usually in an indirect way but they forceful. when he spoke, you knew that his voice was on. he vibrated almost physical dominance. now, the last two times i talked to him, he had a stroke and he had great difficulty speaking. and he had to croak out his sounds and china being a tonal language, the interpreters had to hold him what they understood him to say before they could interpret it.
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but even then, he conducted a meeting of over two hours with all his physical disabilities. so he was -- obviously, he was a formidable person. >> host: let's talk about 1972 and that dramatic diplomatic breakthrough conducted by you and president nixon, of course. it's interesting because president nixon told me in the 1990s that the thing that brought the two of you together, china and the united states, was a major strategic concern over the growing soviet power and the chinese crossed the border and they saw a growing soviet assertiveness and they were very concerned and they approached the united states. you approached china. you came together for strategic reasons. could you describe the strategic dynamics at the time that allowed the kind of triangular diplomacy that you and president known were trying to develop?
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>> well, as you say, we saw the growth of soviet power and the soviet union in the space of 10 years had occupied hungary, it had subrogated poland a second time. and it had occupied czechoslovakia. now, in the summer of '69, they were beginning the buildup along the chinese border. and there were a series of military clashes along this river, between the two sides. and we were sort of watching this. and then the soviets made a mistake that accelerated our considerations. the mistake was that they sent in their ambassador to brief us periodically about clashes with the chinese. they did that probably because they were considering attacking china, and they wanted to prove
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that they had a good reason for doing it. it had practically the affected that i created a map for nixon and me and our staff to look at, of the location of these incidents. and then we called in an expert and said, if there are incidents, it's in these places. what would that suggest to you? who's the attacker? and that expert said, well, this is all close to soviet supply points. and it's up to the chinese if they wanted to attack would do it from such a posture and then we picked up a few other signals. and then nixon made one of the unannounced but important --
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most important decisions, which was we discussed, assuming there's a war, what position does the united states take? and we concluded that it was against the american interest to have china defeated even though we had no contact with them. and so we decided that in case of a war, we would be technically neutral towards china and try to give it as much ability to survive as we could. no, we didn't communicate that to the chinese because we had no way of communicating with them. but what we did do is to step up
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statements that we would not be indifferent to such a war. and we had director helms, cia director, make a speech to the political science associations something that we know would lead in a low key way he made that point and the deputy secretary of state. and then we energetically began looking for channels into china at the same time and we did a number of little things for example in retrospect that looks very minuscule. chinese -- no american could buy chinese goods anywhere. and so we lifted that restriction so that as a tourist you could buy $100 worth of
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chinese goods. the chinese in turn released some people that had strayed into chinese waters. anyway, that had been captured and they were released. and so we had these signals. we found it hard to establish contact because, for example, sent some messages to romania, or we told the romanians what they might tell the chinese. we chose to remain there because nixon had been travelling to romanians and the romanians had been the most independent of the east european communist countries. so we thought they might have most credibility in beijing. the problem was that the chinese
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communists didn't trust any communist, so they were reluctant to be very specific through romania. finally again, on the trip around the world, nixon talked to the pakistan president, and that established a contact which we then used. >> host: let me ask you about the immediate backdrop to what you were doing with the opening to china which was the vietnam war. >> guest: okay. >> host: we could about the strategic in the soviet union which was growing at least this strategic terms and china. talk a little bit about how you expected the opening to china to affect the war in vietnam? >> guest: one has to remember that nixon didn't start the war in vietnam. nixon inherited the war in vietnam. when nixon ended office, there
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were 545,000 americans in vietnam. and we had just gone through the tet offensive, which was a major attack by the vietnamese and we had riots in the streets in this country against the war in vietnam. at the same time, we were the country in which the security of almost every region of the world depended. and nixon had known he had not made the commitment that americans on promises had staked their future on cooperating with us. so nixon decided to withdraw from vietnam but do it in a way in which the people in south
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vietnam would be given the opportunity to develop -- to choose their own fate. the one condition he would not meet is to turn over the vietnamese population to the communists. he wanted a free political process. and when people say he could have ended or we could have ended the war more quickly, they never tell you how. because if you look at the record of negotiations, you will see that every other condition we were willing to meet except that one. now, the vietnamese approached the negotiation with us was to try to break our spirit. i went every -- periodically, every weekend to paris to negotiate on behalf of nixon and the united states. and they -- their strategy was
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to outwit us. by opening to china, we had to follow it. it, first of all, changed the debate. it showed that nixon who was being vilified as being opposed to peace in vietnam had actually large, almost a grandiose idea of peace which included the whole world. and so -- and at the same time, it isolated the vietnamese because it meant that their closest -- or at least their most nearby ally was willing to deal with the united states without informing them and to some extent take their advantage because it interrupted the psychologicalism they thought they had established.
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so that was an important aspect. >> host: in any national security and foreign policy calculus, there's always american domestic opinion, which any great leader knows how to change, how to persuade, how to move. >> guest: but sometimes you can't and sometimes you can. >> host: exactly. now, when you think about the opening to china and detente with the soviet union, which you conducted as well, was that part of a strategy to signal to the american people that while we were fighting this hot war in vietnam, that this administration was also seeking longer term peace with vietnam -- >> guest: it was done because he believed it to be right and we believed it to be right. it had the practical effect of telling the american people not to be obsessed with events in one part of the world that we had inherited and were trying to
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liquidate. and to look at the overall design, which put china, soviet union, europe into a pattern that could be grasped in time by public opinion. >> host: taiwan, united states and china had -- still have wildly divergent views about taiwan. how do president nixon and mao move past that? >> guest: for 20 years, the negotiation between china and the united states took the following course. the chinese negotiator, if he spoke first, would say, we won't do anything else until you turn taiwan over to us. when we turned that down, it ended it. the american negotiator would say, we won't do anything else
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until you give us is pledge of peaceful attitudes towards taiwan. so there was an absolute deadlock. so even before i got to beijing, and in the first communication to us, the chinese invited us in order to discuss the turnover of taiwan to china. we replied that we were willing to talk about the issue of taiwan but only in relation to all other issues of asia and in the world. and the chinese accepted that so that was already a huge concession before we ever got there. but then -- one had to remember the united states and the president roosevelt in the
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declaration of 1943, had declared that the united states considered taiwan to be a part of china. so the fact that taiwan belonged to china had never been revoked by any american president. the only condition subsequent to the american presidents made, was the takeover or the union should be peaceful. so we got around this problem by signing a communique in which each side stated its own views. we stated in our view that the chinese people on both sides of the taiwan straits asserted that there's only one china.
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the united states said we do not challenge that proposition, so that was a way of accepting one china, but we still did not recognize beijing as the government of china so nixon was in the capital of a country that he did not recognize as the capital of that country. so if you look at the 40 years that have happened since then, both sides in a way finessed the taiwan problem on the pages really of three principles. that the united states accepts the principle of one china. that the united states strongly insists or infers a need for a peaceful solution. and that the united states wants
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each side plus the taiwanese not to take precipitous action. it's remarkable and today there are many heroes of retrospective diplomacy who says what nixon might have done and what nixon might have extracted -- we didn't hear from all of them at that time. >> host: of course not. now, the framework you put in place in 1972 has been remarkably durable to this area. >> guest: 8 american administrations of both parties so it's one of the most continuous american foreign policies. >> host: dr. kissinger please stand by. we're going to take a short break and after that i would like to move in more current affairs with the united states with china, economically and in
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terms of human rights. we're going to cover all of those hears with former secretary of state henry kissinger former secretary of state on china when we come back. >> host: and we are rejoined by former secretary of state dr. henry kissinger, who has a masterful new book called quite simply "on china." dr. kissinger, let's talk about more current events, particularly, as they relate to the united states relationship with china. it's very complicated now. i remember when i was working fopresident nixon in the early
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1990s, he said, you know, monica, it's interesting when kissinger and i opened relations with china in the early '70s, it was all about strategic issues which we talked about before the break. he said, now in the early '90s, he said now it's almost all about economics. i think now in the 21st century, it's a combination of both. it's strategic and economic. when you look at china's incredibly rapid economic rise, are you stunned? are you surprised? or not at all? >> guest: no, no. i'm surprised and so would nixon be. any of us who were part of the group the group was open to china. when i had been to china but before nixon went, nixon invited the french novelist andre mulieu, who had been to china,
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to see what we could learn from it. and he said, china is such a desperately poor country that the most important thing you can do for them is to do kind of a multiplan and give them economic aid but mao didn't want economic aid and he didn't want china connected with the rest of the world at all. china was so poor at the time, that when nixon went there, they did not have telephonic equipment to connect us with washington in a way appropriate to the president. so we brought in a ground station. technically sold it to the chinese so that they did not do it. at any rate, we would have been amazed at the rapid progress that has taken place and which really couldn't take place until mao had died and a reforming group came in.
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>> host: after mao who was succeeded by ping who really revolutionized the chinese economy because he began reform through agriculture. he began agriculture reforms that then laid the framework for what we see today, right? >> guest: right. for mao, everything was ideology. ping said i don't know whether it's black or gray as long as it catches mice. so anything that worked was acceptable. and he liberated the energy of the chinese people. one has to remember that over the last 2,000 years, in 1800 of the last 2,000 years, china had the largest growth domestic product in the world. it was just in the 19th century that they fell apart because of the impact of colonialism.
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but chinese economic growth really didn't take place until just about 30 years ago. >> host: how would you describe chinese capitalism? would you describe it as managed capitalism? >> guest: i would describe it a big -- what would we call it, a market economy with -- >> host: with chinese characteristics. >> guest: with chinese characteristics. what it is, it's market economics but guided by strategic decisions. from the center which helped establish priorities. and so far it has worked amazingly to have a growth rate
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of 8 or 10% over a 30-year period. it's an extraordinary achievement. >> host: even during times of global recession? >> guest: well, even at times of global recession. of course, they can do things that we can't even think of. i was in china in 2008. i talked to the mayor of the city, and he said they have about 5 million unemployed transients in that city. so i asked him what he was going to do about that. they all go home at chinese new year's, and we will only let about a quarter of them come back. so they use the chinese family tradition of taking care of their people, their family, as a social security network. but on the purely economic
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level, it is a combination of market principles and central management. it's not a planned economy in the soviet sense. >> host: there's a major point of contention between the united states and beijing over the chinese manipulation of its currency. how is this straining our relationship and how should the administration be dealing with it? >> guest: well, the argument that is made is that the chinese are manipulating the currency at an artificial level which gives them an advantage in exports and, therefore, improves their balance of payment and that in turn gives them greater economic and financial reach. my view is this, some of the deficit is caused by our own actions. some of it is caused by chinese
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actions. it is caused by our own action because as long as we are financial financially and run huge deficits, deficits, it is inevitable because we have to borrow from abroad to meet -- to meet our deficit. so we need to work at our own problems first. and lead conconcurrently. where the chinese take unfair advantage, we have to raise the issue and defend our interest but the way it's usually done is to arrange for a balance of penalties and awards that achieves this. >> host: it is striking to me
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that just about every time the chinese leadership meet with the american leadership, whether it's president obama, secretary of state clinton, treasury secretary geithner, they never miss an opportunity to lecture on our very critical issues, our spending levels and our chineses and it's ironically that we have chinese communists to lecture us about spending. >> guest: it's our evolution. for the greatest part of the -- after the opening of the relationship, the chinese's basic attitude they thought our political enthusiasms were -- well, there's various adjectives for it. some of them were immatter and so forth. but they had huge respect for our economic opportunities and they thought we were on to the management of the world financial system from which they
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could learn a great deal so they sent students over here but they sent practicing capitalists to learn our banking systems and american investment banks and so forth. then in late 2007 and '8, they think they learned that the americans didn't know how to run their economy very well either. and that caused a tremendous loss of prestige, both for us but also for those chinese who had been associated with the reform -- with the reform program and some of the difficulties that followed afterwards in which it is claimed and correctly in some respects that the chinese were too assertive go back to that period when that shock.
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>> host: the chinese are our biggest foreign creditors. how much of a threat is that? >> guest: it's a very complicated issue. on the one hand they say if they exploit their credit situation, they could make life very difficult for us. at the same time, it's been said if you owe $100,000 to a bank, it's your problem. if you owe 100 million to a bank, it's their problem. so that the creditor suffers enormously if the several trillion that they're holding of american assets, that they suddenly become relatively as a result of them harassing us. that would be a big blow to them so we have a mutual suicide pact here. >> host: there was a high level member of the member started
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talking about the united states in terms of economic warfare, not military warfare but economic warfare. how big of a concern should that be for the united states? >> guest: well, what i say in the book is this, we are the two most powerful countries in the world today. there's a whole series of issues that are new, environment proliferation, energy, these are unique problems. they can only be solved on a global basis. secondly, we ought to learn from the european experience. when a rising germany and an established britain had to deal with each other and didn't manage to do it and the result was world war i, i often ask myself if the leaders that went to war in 1914 had known what the world would look like four years later when the war ended, would they ever have done it? would one or the other would
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have made an accommodation? so what i say in the book is we ought to approach foreign policy vis-a-vis china with that in mind. we ought to look for opportunities of a cooperative relationship. at the same time, we will strenuously defend our interests. and if the chinese approach the problem in the same way, then i'm hopeful that the ingenuity on both sides will find a way through. but both sides have to have this attitude. the united states cannot do it by itself. and i think it's the greatest challenge to peace and the greatest test of progress as possible. >> host: let's talk for a moment of the strategic challenges facing the sino-american relationship. there's a discussion of the chinese military buildup.
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how worried should we be about that, about growing growing chinese assertiveness in asia, and in the region and globally as well and the ability to project power and should we be doing anything to shore up our allies who are increasingly worried about china? >> guest: well, as china gross economically, their military capacity is bound to grow. that's inherit is what is going on. what we have to watch is at what point does the chinese military capacity go from beyond defending its country to a capacity to intervene all over the world and challenge existing
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institutions? at that point, we are in a period of potential confrontation. and if that is not attended to, then it could slide into a confrontation. they haven't yet reached that point. but they certainly are increasing their military capability. and we certainly have to be sure that we maintain the edge or the balance that has characterized the situation before that. now, if they conduct assertive policies, we should have a clear notion of our national interest. when our national interest is challenged by assertive or nonassertive policies, we will take measures to protect it.
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so when the chinese conduct an assertive policy with all our commitment to cooperation, then i would say the american interest comes first. if the chinese conduct an open-minded policy, then we should have a discussion of oppositions and see where progress can be made. but of it is always necessary that any foreign country dealing with us should understand that we will protect our interests and also strengthen our relations with korea, india and japan. it's absolutely essential that america remain an asian power and america maintains its relationship in the asian world. we cannot do it the same way it
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was done in europe because in europe there was an ex tensiontial threat. and in the relationships between japan, korea, united states, india. the economic and social factors play a huge role. the practical consequences are similar really to show that america is committed to the independence of key countries but i wouldn't object some of the projects that the chinese participated so long as they are not the hegemonyial power of asia. >> host: talk if you would, about china's role in nuclear proliferation. there's a big concern that china is working with rogue powers like north korea. even pakistan to some degree to share nuclear technology with the iranians, perhaps the
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syrians, perhaps the venezuelans, all opponents and enemies of the united states. what can we do to try to rein china in on the proliferation area? >> guest: all issues except north korea, i think the chinese national interest is very parallel to ours. neither of us can be interested in the proliferation of nuclear weapons because if nuclear weapons would spread to countries that cannot have the same technological safeguards and they do not understand the nature of modern technology adequately, the danger of a catastrophic conflict or even just an outburst of terrorism is relevant. but i'm quite hopeful that we can get gradual chinese support.
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the major hesitation the chinese have is they're always reluctant to agree that outside forces can tell a country what to do internally but i think with increasing globalization china will come to that. it's a complicated issue. on north korea, oeshd, it's not in the chinese interest for north korea to have nuclear weapons. on the other hand, the chinese believe that it's also not in their national interest to have north korea collapse and then fades the prospect of a large country on its border which may even inherit the north korean capability. so i think china has been going back and forth on the north korean nuclear issue. and hasn't really made a decisive move.
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i think it would be delighted if these weapons would go away but they don't want to do what is required to make them go away. so they bear responsibility for the consequences. now, they themselves have not been active in nuclear proliferation because it would hurt them more than what north korea has because north korea has -- it's broke. and it's just about the most repressive country in the world. and sooner or later the other countries have to face the issue of what happens when a rogue nuclear country continues to operate? and that's an issue before us with iran and it is also an issue also of -- in a more
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complex way. with north korea, and it can't really be solved as an isolated problem. there needs to be a security concept developed for all of northeast asia that other nations can join. and maybe under that system, north korea should be denucleariz denuclearized. >> host: human rights, policy dictates that we should not be all that concerned with what goes on internally within a country. that we should only be concerned with their external behavior and that guided foreign policy for quite a while but over the last two decades, i would say the united states has concerned itself with what goes on inside of china. there's a lot of talk now, a lot of worry that the chinese are now retrenching and that there's been an escalation of the detention of dissidents, of those who are out there arguing very publicly for
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democratization, liberalization, journalists being detained, religious minorities, catholics and so on. what would you say to the chinese when you talk to them about their human rights record? >> guest: let me say a word about this, which is a term i never use. it's a term my critics use if they want to be able to see what it really means to a german and this is not an american concept, even though i lived in germany as a child as part of a persecuted minority so that in the school to which -- the jewish school to which i had to go, they were not exactly studying prussian realpolitik. but putting that issue aside, the fundamental necessity of a peaceful world is two elements.
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it preaches it all my life. on the one hand you need equilibrium, a balance of power. why? so that the strong cannot simply dominate the week. at the same time, you need justice, legitimacy, whatever you want to call it, so that the existing arrangements appear to just most of the members and to most of the people so that they don't want to challenge it. first with the capability and the second one deals with attitudes. so it's that balance that has to be achieved. now, there again two aspects as a human rights issue. what are our convictions with respect to human rights? secondly, what do we do about that? america has been founded on the
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principles of human dignity, human liberty, and human equality. we can never not only not renounce these principles, we need to affirm them. and other countries should know that it makes a difference to us how they conduct themselves on the human rights issue. the more -- the next question is, what do you do beyond this? how many sanctions do you put on? and to what degree do you assert that you can tell other countries what domestic institutions they should have? and at that point, it's a difference of opinion. some people do it who belong, and i would say nixon and i would say almost every american president i have seen in action
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believes that through a policy of engagement, one can move the chinese better than through a polity of confrontation which evoke all the memories of the history and which they have always resisted. when clinton was president in his first years, he adopted a policy of confrontation. and after three years of failure, he gave it up. whenever i am in china and whenever nixon was in china and every president i've known, if we are aware of individual cases in which human rights have been violated, we often speak to the chinese on the private places. so there's no disagreement about the importance of human rights.
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there's no disagreement about the role of america. there isn't a disagreement on whether it should be done first by public demonstrations or by diplomacy. >> host: we just have a few minutes left, dr. kissinger. and i want to ask you, when you look at the geopolitical landscape today, when you survey the world, what worries you the most? what are the threats that are looming out there that concern you the most? >> guest: well, what worries me is that you have upheavals in every part of the world happening more or less simultaneously without really any clear guiding principles of where they're going to go. it's one thing to say that we're very enthusiastic and with the arabs, but one knows that the key to revolutions is not the
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day on which they occur but the period in which they have been sorted out. on the technical level, what worries me is the threat of nuclear weapons and the knowledge of nuclear technology. and if any of them would get used the casualties would be so be so unbelievable that it would hurt the human's sense of security and the political system that cannot prevent this. so those are the keys that worry me. >> host: dr. kissinger, it has been such a joy to talk to you and you're one of my personal heroes and i've known you for 18 years now. i think i'm dating myself and it's been such an honor to get to know you and such a pleasure to talk to you today. and it's a real privilege to call you a friend as well as a

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