Friday, 24 June 2011 00:00
Because of the above, I could not resist getting Kissinger’s book. It was 530 pages of reading with 35 pages of detailed notes. It was a fascinating read! I could not recommend more the reading of the book, because the future of the United States is so closely tied to that of China.
The book starts with a great review of China’s early history and ancient past with Chinese ships sailing the globe before Christopher Columbus. Every chapter of China’s evolution was explored in detail. Kissinger detailed the rise of Communism and Mao Zedong, who had declared war on Chinese traditional art, culture and modes of thought.
Kissinger then reviews the Korean War, which engaged Chinese soldiers in support of North Korea. The book goes on to explain, in detail, confrontations with the United States in Vietnam, Cambodia and Taiwan. Throughout the book, Kissinger also explores tensions between the then Soviet Union which, at one time, had over one million Soviet troops deployed along China’s northern border.
Soon the United States was involved in “Triangular Diplomacy” with the ball bouncing between China, the United States, and the Soviet Union. In fact, Kissinger documents carefully the possibility of war between China and the Soviet Union back in 1969.
All of this leads up to Kissinger’s description of how Richard Nixon opened the door to China in February 1972. Please let me state again that the notes and personal dialogue between Kissinger and Chinese leaders could not have been in more detail.
One personal footnote to Kissinger’s detailed description of his secret trip to China in July of 1971 to arrange for President Nixon’s visit was the stop Kissinger made in New Delhi, India on the way to China. My former boss, Senator Kenneth B. Keating, then U.S. Ambassador to India, met Kissinger’s unmarked plane and missed a breakfast with India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Keating informed the Prime Minister’s office that his alarm clock failed to work, and that was his reason for not making the breakfast. Interestingly, when Keating left India to become Ambassador to Israel, Prime Minister Gandhi gave him an alarm clock as a going away present. By that time, the secret visit to china, with the stop in New Delhi, had been made public.
Again, I highly recommend Henry Kissinger’s book On China as a must read to better understand the growing importance of China in the future of the United States.