Kissinger gives vote of confidence to Hillary Clinton and backs U.S. to retain global leadership
• Former Secretary of State discusses future of American foreign policy at the World Economic Forum’s 24th India Economic Summit, held in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
• Expresses confidence in Senator Clinton as potential Secretary of State and backs the U.S. to retain global leadership
New Delhi, India – Speaking to a session of the World Economic Forum’s 24th India Economic Summit, held in partnership with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Henry A. Kissinger, Chairman, Kissinger Associates, USA, endorsed US Senator Hillary Clinton, rumoured to be the favourite for his former position of Secretary of State: “I believe it would be an outstanding appointment,” Kissinger said. “If it is true, it shows a number of things, including great courage on the part of the President-Elect. To appoint a very strong personality into a prominent cabinet position requires a great deal of courage.”
Kissinger acknowledged that “[President-Elect] Obama was my second choice in the election. But at the same time, I want to stress that this is the moment for non-partisanship in America. There are a number of challenges that must be dealt with.” Among other pressing priorities are the challenges of nuclear proliferation posed by Iran and the urgent need for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He expressed optimism about the prospects for a more stable world, with the United States reasserting leadership through a multilateral approach. “I believe that the United States faces a moment of enormous complexity, but also a moment of extraordinary opportunity.”
While “America will still be the strongest single country,” the centre of geopolitical gravity is shifting eastward. China is a challenger, but not in the way that the Soviet Union was during the Cold War: “It’s a challenge to non-military capabilities.” Kissinger called for a balanced approach: “What we need to avoid is a generation of Chinese that grow up believing that it is in the interest of the West to hold them down. We should not generate an assertive nationalism to substitute for the declining influence of the Communist leadership.” He concluded that “the Sino-American relationship is on a healthy course, and I would be very surprised if that did not continue and improve.”
Relations between the US and Russia, while currently strained, are set to improve, he claimed. Part of the challenge lies in old modes of analysis: “For any student of foreign policy, one has to resist the temptation to conduct foreign policy by rote.” Russia is not poised to reclaim old territory lost after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Kissinger held. And yet, Russia clearly exhibits “a desire to assert a role for itself that is not based on weakness.” Still, Kissinger predicted that, soon, “a significant effort would be made on both sides to see whether the disputes of recent months could be overcome.”
US interests in South Asia are also complex. While Pakistan can and should be a part of a “comprehensive solution” to the Afghan conflict, its own viability remains in question. “The critical challenge is to prevent Pakistan from becoming a failed state. To have a failed state with nuclear weapons would be a tremendous challenge to the international system.” Kissinger celebrated the fact that “relations between India and the United States are unusually close.” Indian and American interests are not just complimentary, but in “major areas of the world there is an extraordinary parallelism of interest.” This will continue under an Obama administration, Kissinger said, largely because of well-calibrated Indian leadership: “I’ve been very impressed by the careful, thoughtful, precise analysis of Indian policy-makers of their national interest.”
NDTV is the Host Broadcaster of the India Economic Summit.
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