What is Henry Kissinger Up To?
By Paul Craig Roberts
The English language Russian news agency, Sputnik, reports that former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is advising US president-elect Donald Trump how to “bring the United States and Russia closer together to offset China’s military buildup.”
If we take this report at face value, it tells us that Kissinger, an old cold warrior, is working to use Trump’s commitment to better relations with Russia in order to separate Russia from its strategic alliance with China.
China’s military buildup is a response to US provocations against China and US claims to the South China Sea as an area of US national interests. China does not intend to attack the US and certainly not Russia.
Kissinger, who was my colleague at the Center for Strategic and International studies for a dozen years, is aware of the pro-American elites inside Russia, and he is at work creating for them a “China threat” that they can use in their effort to lead Russia into the arms of the West. If this effort is successful, Russia’s sovereignty will be eroded exactly as has the sovereignty of every other country allied with the US.
At President Putin’s last press conference, journalist Marat Sagadatov asked if Russia wasn’t already subject to forms of foreign semi-domination: “Our economy, industry, ministries and agencies often follow the rules laid down by international organizations and are managed by consulting companies. Even our defense enterprises have foreign consulting firms auditing them.” The journalist asked, “if it is not time to do some import substitution in this area too?”
Every Russian needs to understand that being part of the West means living by Washington’s rules. The only country in the Western Alliance that has an independent foreign and economic policy is the US.
All of us need to understand that although Trump has been elected president, the neoconservatives remain dominant in US foreign policy, and their commitment to the hegemony of the US as the uni-power remains as strong as ever. The neoconservative ideology has been institutionalized in parts of the CIA, State Department and Pentagon. The neoconservatives retain their influence in media, think tanks, university faculties, foundations, and in the Council on Foreign Relations.
We also need to understand that Trump revels in the role of tough guy and will say things that can be misinterpreted as my friend, Finian Cunningham, whose columns I read, usually with appreciation, might have done.
I do not know that Trump will prevail over the vast neoconservative conspiracy. However, it seems clear enough that he is serious about reducing the tensions with Russia that have been building since President Clinton violated the George H. W. Bush administration’s promise that NATO would not expand one inch to the East. Unless Trump were serious, there is no reason for him to announce Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson as his choice for Secretary of State. In 2013 Mr. Tillerson was awarded Russia’s Order of Friendship.
As Professor Michel Chossudovsky has pointed out, a global corporation such as Exxon has interests different from those of the US military/security complex. The military/security complex needs a powerful threat, such as the former “Soviet threat” which has been transformed into the “Russian threat,” in order to justify its hold on an annual budget of approximately one trillion dollars. In contrast, Exxon wants to be part of the Russian energy business. Therefore, as Secretary of State, Tillerson is motivated to achieve good relations between the US and Russia, whereas for the military/security complex good relations undermine the orchestrated fear on which the military/security budget rests.
Clearly, the military/security complex and the neoconservatives see Trump and Tillerson as threats, which is why the neoconservatives and the armaments tycoons so strongly opposed Trump and why CIA Director John Brennan made wild and unsupported accusations of Russian interference in the US presidential election.
The lines are drawn. The next test will be whether Trump can obtain Senate confirmation of his choice of Tillerson as Secretary of State.
The myth is widespread that President Reagan won the cold war by breaking the Soviet Union financially with an arms race. As one who was involved in Reagan’s effort to end the cold war, I find myself yet again correcting the record.
Reagan never spoke of winning the cold war. He spoke of ending it. Other officials in his government have said the same thing, and Pat Buchanan can verify it.
Reagan wanted to end the Cold War, not win it. He spoke of those “godawful” nuclear weapons. He thought the Soviet economy was in too much difficulty to compete in an arms race. He thought that if he could first cure the stagflation that afflicted the US economy, he could force the Soviets to the negotiating table by going through the motion of launching an arms race. “Star wars” was mainly hype. (Whether or nor the Soviets believed the arms race threat, the American leftwing clearly did and has never got over it.)
Reagan had no intention of dominating the Soviet Union or collapsing it. Unlike Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama, he was not controlled by neoconservatives. Reagan fired and prosecuted the neoconservatives in his administration when they operated behind his back and broke the law.
The Soviet Union did not collapse because of Reagan’s determination to end the Cold War. The Soviet collapse was the work of hardline communists, who believed that Gorbachev was loosening the Communist Party’s hold so quickly that Gorbachev was a threat to the existence of the Soviet Union and placed him under house arrest. It was the hardline communist coup against Gorbachev that led to the rise of Yeltsin. No one expected the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The US military/security complex did not want Reagan to end the Cold War, as the Cold War was the foundation of profit and power for the complex. The CIA told Reagan that if he renewed the arms race, the Soviets would win, because the Soviets controlled investment and could allocate a larger share of the economy to the military than Reagan could.
Reagan did not believe the CIA’s claim that the Soviet Union could prevail in an arms race. He formed a secret committee and gave the committee the power to investigate the CIA’s claim that the US would lose an arms race with the Soviet Union. The committee concluded that the CIA was protecting its prerogatives. I know this because I was a member of the committee.
American capitalism and the social safety net would function much better without the drain on the budget of the military/security complex. It is more correct to say that the military/security complex wants a major threat, not an actual arms race. Stateless Muslim terrorists are not a sufficient threat for such a massive US military, and the trouble with an actual arms race as opposed to a threat is that the US armaments corporations would have to produce weapons that work instead of cost overruns that boost profits.
The latest US missile ship has twice broken down and had to be towed into port. The F-35 has cost endless money, has a variety of problems ( http://www.stopthef35.com/pentagon-f-35-wont-have-a-chance-in-real-combat/ ) and is already outclassed.
The Russian missiles are hypersonic. The Russian tanks are superior. The explosive power of the Russian Satan II ICBM is terrifying. The morale of the Russian forces is high. They have not been exhausted from 15 years of fighting without much success pointless wars against women and children.
Washington, given the corrupt nature of the US military/security complex, can arms race all it wants without being a danger to Russia or China, much less to the strategic alliance between the two powers.
The neoconservatives are discredited, but they are still a powerful influence on US foreign policy. Until Trump relegates them to the ideological backwaters, Russia and China had best hold on to their strategic alliance. Anyone attempting to break this alliance is a threat to both Russia and China, and to America and to life on earth.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.
Quemado Institute Conclusion
On the Balance of Russia and China
By Karl Pomeroy
Paul Craig Roberts has given us yet another compelling commentary. As usual, he makes many excellent points, and is an obvious expert on the topic of Henry Kissinger. In defense of a free Tibet, and to emphasize a positive outlook on Donald Trump’s transition, I will examine in detail Roberts’ analysis and its implications for U.S. relations with Russia and China.
First, the Sputnik article says only the following: The analysis of information, obtained by western European intelligence from Trump’s transition team and cited by the Bild newspaper, revealed Monday the White House would go for a “constructive cooperation” with the Kremlin. Kissinger has reportedly met with Trump several times in the past couple of months and is rumored to be his informal foreign policy adviser. The veteran diplomat, who served as secretary of state under presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, has spelled out how to bring the United States and Russia closer together to offset China’s military buildup. Some of the steps include recognizing Russia’s dominance in former Soviet republics, such as Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia and Kazakhstan, as well as closing the eyes on Crimea and lifting sanctions from Russia in exchange for its pullout from eastern Ukraine, where it allegedly has troops.
There are several reasons to doubt the contents of this article. Any information obtained by “Western European intelligence” and cited by Bild is likely to be inaccurate. Paul Craig Roberts is no doubt aware of this, and admits his analysis is based on taking the report at face value.
The “rumor” that Kissinger is Trump’s “informal foreign policy advisor” is likely exaggerated. Trump often meets with people he has differences with. He has said he does not like yes men, and prefers to work with people he feels comfortable with but who disagree with him. This is a quality of strength and open-mindedness. Trump’s meetings with Kissinger signify nothing subversive.
Sputnik also claims: “Some of the steps [spelled out by Kissinger] include … lifting sanctions from Russia in exchange for its pullout from eastern Ukraine, where it allegedly has troops.” Kissinger can’t really believe Russia has troops in Donbass. One of many items of proof that Russia has no forces there lies in the Minsk agreements themselves. Russia is a guarantor of the Minsk Agreements on the same footing as France and Germany. But Russia is not a party to the agreement. The parties are Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, Igor Plotnitsky, representative of the region of Lugansk, and Alexander Zakharchenko, representative of the region of Donetsk. There are Russian volunteers fighting in Donbass, as there are even a few American volunteers. But there are no official Russian forces. These so-called steps proposed by Kissinger do not ring true, and cast still more doubt on the Sputnik report.
The implication that Trump’s Russia-friendly policy will be used to drive a wedge between Russia and China bothers me because it places emphasis on the wrong thing. Roberts says, “If we take this report at face value, it tells us that Kissinger, an old cold warrior, is working to use Trump’s commitment to better relations with Russia in order to separate Russia from its strategic alliance with China.” Actually, nothing in the Sputnik article says this. Apparently Roberts speculates this because he knows Henry Kissinger personally, and therefore has a good idea what Kissinger would be up to. In any case, there is no reason to believe Trump would be influenced by Kissinger’s devious motives.
Several other analysts have recently issued dark speculations that Trump’s friendly attitude toward Russia is intended to separate Russia from China. This puts the cart before the horse. Vladimir Putin, before the coup in Ukraine, said over and over again he wanted a partnership with West. He only began turning to China when the West imposed sanctions during the years 2014 to 2016. The Russia-China alliance was an unintended consequence of the sanctions. It was not Putin’s first choice. To pretend Putin preferred a Chinese alliance over a Western alliance prior to 2014 is unrealistic.
Friendly U.S. relations with Russia will not “separate Russia from its strategic alliance with China”. Friendhip with Russia will simply stop driving Russia toward further dependence on China. In other words, Russia will have more options. In any case, it is Putin’s choice.
Quemado Institute advocates a trilateral balance of world powers, with the U.S., Russia and China playing equal roles. We believe this is the most reasonable path to stability. Nevertheless, because of its invasion and seizure of Tibet (and also Xinjiang), we consider China an enemy to global freedom. Russia, unlike China, has relinquished the territories it seized and controlled in the twentieth century. And of course, Russia did not invade Ukraine. Nor did the illegal post-coup government in Kiev have a right to rule Donbass or Crimea, territories not allowed to participate in the May 25, 2014 election that brought Poroshenko to power. Therefore nothing should prevent Russia from being a strategic ally of the United States.
Roberts concludes by saying, “Anyone attempting to break this alliance [between Russia and China] is a threat to both Russia and China, and to America and to life on earth.” This paints an overly cynical picture. A US-Russian alliance and a Russian-Chinese alliance are not mutually exclusive. And although I oppose the neocon view, it is arguable that too strong a Russian-Chinese alliance could be even more of a threat to America and to life on earth.
Roberts, along with many alternate media analysts—even the most brilliant—assumes, falsely, that China is not a threat, except in reaction to U.S. provocation. Roberts says, “China’s military buildup is a response to US provocations against China and US claims to the South China Sea as an area of US national interests. China does not intend to attack the US and certainly not Russia.” No, China does not intend to attack the US or Russia. China intends to expand into the South China Sea, the same way it “expanded” into Tibet and Xinjiang.
Chinese philosophers have maintained for centuries that the whole world belongs to China, and that China is lending it to the rest of us as a temporary altruistic gesture. China works on long long timescales. Its invasion and conquest of Tibet and Xinjiang, comprising an area larger than Argentina and almost the size of India, happened within living memory. Its creeping expansion into the South China Sea is eerily reminiscent, to say the least. China absolutely must be contained. It must withdraw from contested islands, and grant recognition of full independence to Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang.
Only then can we assume there is no threat from China.