Former US Secretary of State, Mr. Henry Kissinger, in an interview with our newspaper told about the dangerous new threats of the solution to the conflict in the Middle East and its agreement with the German “kantslerin”.
By Gabor Steingart and Astrid Dёrner Handelsblatt
In fact, Henry Kissinger has long been able to retire and give the opportunity to solve big problems to others. But 92 years of his diary is full planned activities. For example, in November, he met with the head of the Beijing, Xi Jinping. Kissinger writes books, speaks at conferences, consults the presidential candidates – and took in his New York office of our correspondent in the United States Astrid Dёrner Handelsblatt and publisher Gabor Shtayngarta and gave them an interview.
Handelsblatt: Mr. Kissinger, the publication of your book, “World Order”, only added confusion – he was even more archaic, cruel and chaotic. What are the driving forces of this development?
Henry Kissinger: The book, of course, was not a direct prediction of the future. I tried to describe a certain condition and the dangers that could be associated with it. So, I’m not surprised that now the world has come an even bigger mess. In my opinion, we are talking about fundamental problems: the first time in history, on different continents at the same time such events occur. People know that at any moment occurs in various regions of the world. This speeds up the process and complicates everything. Secondly, in different regions changes occur very differently from each other. But they have common characteristics. Therefore, no general principles according to which it would be possible to solve these problems.
– The confrontation between East and West, as well as the conflict between north and south, however, were almost clear and therefore predictable structure. Which region is your greatest concern?
– Near East! There were just three or four of the revolution, it happened at the same time. Now there is a conflict against existing states, conflicts between different religious groups, between ethnic groups, as well as conflict spills over certain borders. And there are attacks on the whole system. And all this takes place in the same region!
– China raised…
– China becomes more powerful, resulting in a change of the existing balance of power in the international arena. By the way, the Chinese themselves are going through a time of great change.
– Putin’s Russia is returning to the world stage.
– Russia is trying to re-find their identity in an unusual setting. And with that, for the West it could be another problem.
– What do you have in mind?
– The current Europe compared to the time a hundred years ago has changed beyond recognition. It tends to some new form of unity, but is not yet able to give political expression to this desire. Europe can not develop a long-term strategy of its own development. Now, all these elements have coincided. I see this as a new level of complexity.
– In your book “The World Order”, you are talking about threats from the chaos and hitherto unprecedented interdependence of different countries. Needless to say that Western societies too overwhelmed or already overstrained at all?
– Whatever it was, still different sides failed to agree on a common understanding of the current crisis and the joint analysis of threats, not to mention the general solution of these problems. Thus, you can really talk about a “laceration”. However, he has a psychological rather than essential nature. The advent of the Internet – it becomes more and more noticeable – fundamentally changed the modern world. People not only receive information, at the screen, rather than on paper. This makes the information obtained even more direct and emotional, however, the process is associated with less reflection.
– Could you describe more precisely the impact of the Internet on foreign policy?
– On the Internet, you can repeatedly click on one and the same answer, so now there are fewer incentives to share the events of the world into different categories and display different concepts. A large number of facts often prevents analyze them. In addition, political leaders now have much more reason to respond to the mood of the society at the moment. All this leads to the fact that people deal with problems differently than before – even just 20 years ago. I’m not saying here that today’s world has become worse. No, it just became another.
– Help us bring to the current more complex world order. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in an interview with CNN, he sees the link between the war in Iraq and the rise of “Islamic State”. Do you also think so?
– The attack on the World Trade Center September 11, 2001 was the beginning of the attacks of militant Islam into western structures. West saw this as an act of terrorism committed by a certain small group of people. However, since the nature of the conflict between the parties has changed. The main features of the IS differs from those of al-Qaeda. In the IS, it has a territorial base from which it operates as a normal state. On the other hand, the IS is a religious movement, operating in a decentralized manner – when the more important factor is the ideology, not statehood.
– What the Western world to do with the IS? After the terrorist attacks in Paris, the fight against terrorism has become a key issue for Europe.
– I think we can find a diplomatic solution to the problem of the IS. IS needs to win, because as long as it exists, it will spread the idea that all other societies are illegitimate and strive to build a caliphate in the Middle East. In such cases, diplomacy can play an important role only in the sense that it is necessary to combine different endangered society and create a structure that will prevent the IS attack her.
– You have always been a man of peace negotiations and diplomacy. Do you believe that the state remaining in the shadow, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and others, perhaps even Israel could help reach some agreement? Not directly with the terrorists, and rich families or groups that stand for the IS. After Camp David, for example, often it becomes a place where able to achieve results that few could count on.
– I have always believed that meaningful negotiations necessary that the parties had a number of common goals and values, but the IS, I do not see those. Is it possible to achieve some agreement between the West and the Islamic world (without the participation of the IS)? Assuming that the Islamic world will accept the legitimacy of the structure of the world, which is based on the state, I would have said yes, and it is necessary to conduct such negotiations.
– What would you do in this process advised the parties?
– These upheavals in the Middle East will not end without some kind of analogue of the Peace of Westphalia, which signified the end of the Thirty Years’ War between the different groups had different motives, and led to the creation of the system, which then for centuries formed the basis of international relations. Even now, it is considered a fundamental concept. Is it possible that something like that? Yes. But this “something” does not arise as a result of direct negotiations with the IS.
– Must participate in solving the problem there the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin?
– Assad – not necessarily, but representatives of the Alawites, who are now he is – yes. Conditions that Assad leaves the scene peacefully, could become part of a larger agreement. The West must realize that this great agreement cannot be achieved without Russia’s consent. A peaceful solution to this and other problems is impossible without the participation of Russia.
– Angela Merkel due to the Ukrainian crisis has listened to you. She tried to negotiate with Putin on the de-escalation of the situation in the eastern regions of Ukraine on their own. As a result, managed to reach the first and second Minsk Agreement, which contributed significantly to the discharge.
– Angela Merkel has played in the central and decisive role.
– The leadership of the White House?
– It is likely that Putin should be taught a lesson before you agree to it.
– You always prefer the diplomatic solution of the military “dismantling”. That you have opened once the door to this successful partnership with China. You promoted a policy of detente, which led to the signing of an agreement on the establishment of the CSCE, which eventually made possible the peaceful coexistence of Eastern and Western Europe. Is today an agreement with the current members of the Middle East process is much harder than it used to be with the Soviet and Chinese leaders? After Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Mao were very uneasy guys.
– They certainly were not easy, but then there were special circumstances. The opening of China was made possible because at the time (and we are talking about the year 1969) a threat to China from the Soviet Union was much more serious than an ideological confrontation with the West. And it was more than the prejudice to the United States. Of course, in the last third of the twentieth century, when we were negotiating with China, Moscow or East Berlin, there are often a lot of stress at the same time in different regions. But this tension arises between states. Today, conflicts arise between ethnic groups – on the basis of origin or religion. Now the lines of conflict lie partly between states and non-state organizations. This has great potential for conflict the situation is quite different in nature.
– Bundeswehr joined the United States, France and the UK and will provide for participation in the operations of the Syrian troops in 1200. In your opinion, it can be called real politics?
– I must say that the concept of “real politics” is often associated with me, but you will not find mention of this in any of my books.
– …Because it is constantly used against you, including representatives of your party – Republican?
– It was used against me. Critics could easily result in an argument like this: he is German, he is not on the position of the Americans.
– But, maybe, it’s kind and is?
– I think that foreign policy important to keep in mind two factors – realism and idealism… You cannot make foreign policy without a thorough analysis of the problem, which you do, and the goals that you pursue. It must be realistic. But since there is no complex problems unambiguous decisions, and the ratio is usually 50:50 or 51:49, you need to be sure of ethical intent, to which you aspire. So I do not like it when someone says that we must be clean and pure realist idealist. I do not believe that this is possible. Even Bismarck, who was considered a pure realist, said: “Politicians cannot do something himself – he can only wait for the Lord will hear gait, observing certain events. And then he will have to jump and reach the tip of his coat.”
– Western values such as freedom, equality for women and the rule of law, are often incompatible with the real policy, which primarily seeks to establish stability and order.
– Probably never be fully achieved and of both. This tension and supports the process of “afloat”. But these ethical goals should definitely seek.
– Should not we at “promoting” Western values in the heat of battle to refrain from destroying the existing order, the end of which could boomerang on ourselves? In this regard, recall, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
– The value of the existing systems should not be overestimated. If we analyze the lack of stability, the consequences of this deficiency, as well as weapons, which now houses all the parties, the conclusion suggests itself that we constantly threatens disaster for which past generations had been unthinkable. I, in this regard, first of all, think about the possible use of nuclear and cyber weapons.
– In the Middle East is about to be sent to the troops. This will help solve the problem in Syria, or – on the contrary – will only exacerbate it?
– I think this is the right decision. It is important that the lead role is played by the French. Even planned to further strengthen the Transatlantic relationship. However, at the same time, it is necessary to know what the result of this. The result should be to the fact that the IS would lose control of their present territory. Then IS but not disappear, but it will occupy a smaller area. But when that result is achieved must be territorial association, which does not allow the recurrence of the problems that led to the creation of all of the current situation.
– As a result of the establishment of the disorder in the world Europe is now faced with an onslaught of refugees.
– In Europe, we are witnessing a very rare historical phenomenon: it does not protect its external borders, and on the contrary – they opened. That did not happen for several thousand years.
– It is right or wrong?
– It is a dilemma: when we see the suffering of refugees, we understand that it is necessary, from a humanitarian point of view. On the other hand, we must be aware of the further consequences of these actions. If the composition of society is rapidly changing under the influence of the outside, it may entail consequences of historic proportions.
– Everywhere in Europe, there is a surge in popularity pravopopulistskih parties. In France, for example, the National Front of Marine Le Pen for the first time overtook the local elections “traditional” party.
– This is a historic event as the influx of refugees could not affect the public mood.
– In early December, you, along with former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, several former heads of the CIA and others have signed an open letter to Congress, which was in favor of receiving more refugees from Syria and Iraq.
– Like other signatories, I believe that America can be more active. The decision on the admission of refugees should take into account the safety aspect, but also a humanitarian aspect. Traditionally, we are a country of immigrants, and so far it has not caused any special transformation of our society.
– “Upper limit” is a concept that is called in German political circles, a lot of controversy. Do you think the Germans should designate a limit for yourself and others?
– I very much support the current actions of Angela Merkel. Given Germany’s history and its own humanitarian beliefs, she does not want to become a person who chases people fleeing from the troubles in her country. But she also knows that there is a certain point at which to begin the transformation of the social and political structure of its country. Sooner or later it will happen, especially if you have to deal with groups that do not agree with the basic values of Western society.
– You will now support Mrs. Merkel or criticize it?
– I understand her situation. She must decide what is more important for her compassion with refugees or the impact that the refugees would have on its own people. The main question is whether the Germans take the unilateral decision to close the borders. I very much respect the decision “kantslerin”.
– Looking at the situation in Syria, as well as in Ukraine, we see that the US did not play a leading role in the settlement. What’s wrong with the main power in the world?
– We must understand that American leadership has long been considered something self-evident – both in America and in other countries. Now we are witnessing the end of an era in which the United States participated in the five wars and still have not achieved their goals: in Korea (even if it was a war of secondary importance), Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Thus, a question that causes much debate: whether America and take part in any war? But we must honestly admit that in Europe the possibility of a government to ask its own population to accept with some non-economic victims become much smaller. And on the economic sacrifices people also do not want to go. So, living in a world in which disorder prevails and democratic nations are deprived of freedom of action because of their own internal processes, we find ourselves in a unique situation.
– In the United States, in fact, already in full swing the presidential race. You expect that after the election, America will once again play a leading role in the world?
– Yes. Look: all the candidates, including Hillary Clinton, in favor of a tightening of US foreign policy.
– What happened to your party? Republicans in the election campaign put forward a few ideas that in Germany are perceived as insane: to build a wall on the Mexican border, to recalculate all Muslims in the country to ban the entry to the United States all the people professing Islam …
– What we are seeing is a reaction to what is happening voters throughout the Western world. Do voters the impression that the government can not cope with the solution of fundamental problems. The American voters the impression is particularly strong because they are accustomed to the fact that the problems are solved. Therefore Republican candidates – no matter how they differed from each other – they are assured that they will do more. I was someone recently asked, “What would you advise the candidates?” I said, “Let them stop talking, that they will do on the first day of his tenure.” Because their real goal is to run the historical process, and this can not be done in one day.
– Have you met Jeb Bush, Ben Carsson and other candidates. With Donald Trump, too?
– Do you have a favorite?
– Now, I prefer not to interfere in the electoral debates.
– If you had one wish in relation to today’s world, what?
– I would like the transatlantic community could together find an answer to the question of its value in the world.
– Mr. Kissinger, thank you very much for the interview.