On China

On China

Henry Kissinger

Language: English

Pages: 624

ISBN: 0143121316

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"Fascinating, shrewd . . . The book deftly traces the rhythms and patterns of Chinese history." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

In this sweeping and insightful history, Henry Kissinger turns for the first time at book length to a country he has known intimately for decades and whose modern relations with the West he helped shape. On China illuminates the inner workings of Chinese diplomacy during such pivotal events as the initial encounters between China and tight line modern European powers, the formation and breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance, the Korean War, and Richard Nixon’s historic trip to Beijing. With a new final chapter on the emerging superpower’s twenty-first-century role in global politics and economics, On China provides historical perspective on Chinese foreign affairs from one of the premier statesmen of our time.











Singularity of China | 17 another country on the basis of equality for the simple reason that it never encountered societies of comparable culture or magnitude. That the Chinese Empire should tower over its geographical sphere was taken virtually as a law of nature, an expression of the Mandate of Heaven. For Chinese Emperors, the mandate did not necessarily imply an adversarial relationship with neighboring peoples; preferably it did not. Like the United States, China thought of itself as

recasting him as a modern business management guru.) Even today Sun Tzu’s text reads with a degree of immediacy and insight that places him among the ranks of the world’s foremost strategic thinkers. One could argue that the disregard of his 9780143121312_OnChina_TX_p1-530.indd 25 2/17/12 9:54 AM 26 | On China precepts was importantly responsible for America’s frustration in its Asian wars. What distinguishes Sun Tzu from Western writers on strategy is the emphasis on the psychological and

limited goals. Deeming themselves more advanced societies, their goal was to exploit China for economic gain, not to join its way of life. Their demands were therefore limited only by their resources and their greed. Personal relationships could not be decisive, because the chiefs of the invaders 9780143121312_OnChina_TX_p1-530.indd 55 2/17/12 9:54 AM 56 | On China were not neighbors but lived thousands of miles away, where they were governed by motivations obtuse to the subtleness and

tradition but uncommonly attuned to its peril, Li served for nearly four decades as China’s face to the outside world. He cast himself as the intermediary between the foreign powers’ insistent demands for territorial and economic concessions and the Chinese court’s expansive claims of political superiority. By definition his policies could never meet with either side’s complete approbation. Within China in particular Li left a controversial legacy, especially among those urging a more

commander opts for a stratagem. He opens the gates of his city, places himself there in a posture of repose, playing a lute, and behind him shows normal life without any sign of panic or concern. The general of the invading army interprets this sangfroid as a sign of the existence of hidden reserves, stops his advance, and withdraws. Mao’s avowed indifference to the threat of nuclear war surely owed something to that tradition. From the very beginning, the People’s Republic of China had to

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