Monday, January 24, 2011

Henry Kissinger on China's visit this last week

[*I apologize for the lack of breaks between paragraphs earlier, it was only just now brought to my attention. - Murdock]

When asked about China on Sunday 1/23, Henry Kissenger said that this current group of Chinese do not really remember the weak years of China, as these past thirty years have been relatively good and stable. These new Chinese grew up in the cultural revolution, seeing much turmoil in the beginning and by contrast, the rising up of China now.

Kissinger, you may remember, was the 56th US Secretary of State, from 1969-1975, for President Nixon. He broke the ice with Mao Tse-tung by going to China at a time when people in the States didn't understand why he would do that.

This followed up by President Nixon going to China. At a time when everyone was against Nixon, I was typically the only one to say that I thought he would be remembered differently, defined not so much by mentally unbalanced and paranoid actions but by having opened up the path between China and the US.

The Chinese do not really realize that we are a country of a mixed salad of immigrants, of mixed interest groups pushing agendas, and so they think we have an intelligent whole format of our intents, rather than a more random push of various different interests; so sometimes we look like we are of a conspiratorial mindset to work against them. A little paranoid, but when you consider how they normally think and do things, perhaps, not so paranoid; just logical, from their perspective.

Kissinger said that Chinese leaders are now seeking him out, because many of them never got to meet Mao, but he spent hundreds of hours with him, so these new Chinese leaders are learning much about their past from Kissinger.

When asked if the "Tiger Moms" of China aren't raising smarter children who are now in charge over there, aren't smarter than our US Leaders, Kissinger responded that they are not smarter, they are just different. He said that a good way to look at it, is in our strategic games. The US in this area has always been quite partial to Chess, a game where all the pieces are in front of you at all time, so you can calculate your risk and your goal is to win.

The Chinese national game is "Go" has about 180 pieces, a game where pieces are added throughout the game but are not always on the board, the goal is to surround and the game may never end; a concept that encapsulates the Chinese mentality very well. In Go, your opponent is always capable of introducing new pieces. So this is how China thinks differently that the US, in strategic encirclement, which may be why we have experienced confoundment with China over the years; not to mention, China is used to playing a game that never ends (Go) as opposed to a game (Chess) that has a definite end and outcome (save for the occasional stalemate where the game is deadlocked with no conceivable end available).

In my own studies of China, I had in my University days, appreciated China for their endurance. When asked at the time of British occupation in the 1800s, why China handles this occupation as they did, with patience and restraint (up until a certain point anyway, like in the "Boxer Rebellion"), the response was that many had occupied China, but in the end, China always was left there after they were gone. It just took time and China would again be the only one left standing. And, indeed the were.

"The Boxer Uprising by some historians or the Righteous Harmony Society Movement in northern China, was a proto-nationalist movement by the "Righteous Harmony Society" (義和團 - Yìhétuán), or "Righteous Fists of Harmony" or "Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists" (known as "Boxers" in English), in China between 1898 and 1901, opposing Western imperialism and Christianity." - Wikipedia

I can understand a backlash against Christianity, as it was taking a magical paradigm of a spiritual organization and trying to force it into the round hole of a country, that was far more down to Earth in their thinking going back to Confucius, Taoism and Buddha. Japan did a similar thing when they expelled Catholic Priests and put out a mandate to kill any that remained.

A brief aside regarding Japan:

"On February 5, 1597, twenty-six Christians – six European Franciscan missionaries, three Japanese Jesuits and seventeen Japanese laymen including three young boys – were executed by crucifixion in Nagasaki. These individuals were raised on crosses and then pierced through with spears. While there were many more martyrs, the first martyrs came to be especially revered, the most celebrated of which was Paul Miki. The Martyrs of Japan were canonized by the Roman Catholic Church on June 8, 1862 by Blessed Pius IX, and are listed on the calendar as Sts. Paul Miki and his Companions, commemorated on February 6, February 5, the date of their death, being the feast of Saint Agatha."

Persecution continued sporadically, breaking out again in 1613 and 1630. On September 10, 1632, 55 Christians were martyred in Nagasaki in what became known as the Great Genna Martyrdom. At this time Catholicism was officially outlawed. The Church remained without clergy and theological teaching disintegrated until the arrival of Western missionaries in the 19th century." - Wikipedia

Few Christians, or Catholics even, know about the crucifixions in Japan.

Back to Kissinger.

He said he would be disappointed if China doesn't revalue its currency over the next year or so and that Tim Geithner (75th and current United States Secretary of the Treasury) has set things up so China can act accordingly without losing face. What this looks like to our own Citizens, can appear odd, but in the end, hopefully, this will work to everyone's advantage.

It is also important to consider what Brzezinski said this week about China, that China wants to become a major power, to support their own internal sense of themselves; but that "the definition of what they ought to be, is not going to be made by us. Precisely because they do want to be a major player. So, what is important in our dialog, and this is what I think this meeting was useful, is to itemize the issues, under which we have to work together, and begin to spell out a kind of generalized sense of direction but not one in which "direction" means "I direct and you follow." And that's much more difficult."

So in the end, although China can look confusing to us at times, even though they may think the US is suspect in many of our, admittedly confusing tactics due to our heterogeneous make up, we do have hope on the horizon ("And some of this change can take place [rapidly] in a month" Kissinger said) hope for both sides, for a path to a better life for both countries; and in the end, a path that means help more stability for the entire World.

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