The myth of Kissinger is as great as the historical reality, if not larger. Whether you find him to be a scion of diplomacy or a scoundrel, or a little bit of both, how does he stack up as a negotiator? A recent paper by James K. Sebenius and Laurence A. Green do a little work by exploring three key negotiations, with a useful list of other activities in the appendix:
Following a brief summary of Henry A. Kissinger’s career, this paper describes three of his most pivotal negotiations: the historic establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China, the easing of geopolitical tension with the Soviet Union, symbolized by the signing of the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (“SALT I”), and the mediation of the agreement on Sinai disengagement between Egypt and Israel. An appendix lists other important negotiations in which Kissinger played key roles. In a subsequent paper (forthcoming), the authors will examine these and other major events in which Henry Kissinger played leading roles in order to extract their most important insights into the principles and practice of effective negotiation.
via Henry A. Kissinger as Negotiator: Background and Key Accomplishments :: SSRN.
Making the case that China’s success isn’t worthy of emulation, economist Damboso Moyo suggests the following:
China’s track record is unquestionably impressive. But the Chinese model isn’t as viable as its admirers in the emerging world often think. First, unlike many emerging markets, China’s growth has been driven largely by exports. Its success has been dependent on the free markets of the West. Most other emerging-market economies are based on agricultural commodities—just the sort of produce that the U.S. and Europe undercut with their own domestic subsidies.
Second, an economic system with the state at its heart is inefficient because it dislocates markets. When the government is the ultimate economic arbiter, assets are inevitably mispriced, which hinders sustained, longer-term growth. It also creates imbalances between supply and demand, which can spark inflation and distort interest rates.
Finally, policies that mimic China may yield a short-term burst in employment, but they also produce serious negative externalities and economic dead weight. China itself is now grappling with massive debt woes in its financial sector, a property bubble that could burst at any time and pollution that slows growth.
via For Poor Countries, China Is No Model – WSJ.
Invoking chess planning in determining a country’s foreign policy grand strategy is a common approach as evidenced by numerous textbook covers. James Fallows of the Atlantic uses it once again to argue that China’s maneuvers in the ADIZ are not the result of some hundred year strategy, but rather, derives from other reasons:
Others note that foreign policy is usually the lowest-priority item on the Chinese leadership’s (collective) mind. What really matters in Zhongnanhai, the Communist Party’s command center, is domestic security, stability, and growth, with anything beyond that as an afterthought. By this logic, China’s foreign-policy and defense moves, far from fitting into a decades-long master plan, often seem ad-hoc at best and self-defeating at worst.
via Chessmaster or Pawn: Now, It’s China’s Turn – James Fallows – The Atlantic.
Quoting Francesco Sisci, he makes the point that “if the United States wanted to make trouble for China, it would–paradoxically–greatly pull back its military presence in Asia…” thus resulting in more erratic, aggressive, and unpredictable responses from regional nation states.
Turkey buys Chines, not American.
Industry executives and arms-sales analysts say the Chinese probably beat out their more established rivals by significantly undercutting them on price, offering their system at $3 billion. Nonetheless, Turkey’s selection of a Chinese state-owned manufacturer is a breakthrough for China, a nation that has set its sights on moving up the value chain in arms technology and establishing itself as a credible competitor in the global weapons market.
“This is a remarkable win for the Chinese arms industry,” said Pieter Wezeman, a senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks arms sales and transfers.
via China’s Arms Industry Makes Global Inroads – NYTimes.com.
Get your China fix in this review of three new books by Edward Luttwak, Steve Chan, and David Shambaugh by Andrew J. Nathan in the March/April 2013 issues of Foreign Affairs.
Of the three, the latter one, China Goes Global: The Partial Power posits Shambaugh’s intriguing argument that although China may be a seen to be a global power with unequalled power–it hasn’t arrived yet.
Shambaugh’s masterful survey of China’s presence on the world scene shows that in every field—diplomatic, economic, military, and cultural—Beijing’s influence, although growing, remains limited. China has global economic interests without dominating any market; it has a large military without being able to project force very far beyond its borders; its sizable propaganda apparatus promotes cultural products and ideological values that few admire.
via Three Books on the Rise of China | Foreign Affairs.
An explanation of China’s new efforts in Syria:
This month, a curious thing happened in the annals of diplomacy. A country offered up a peace plan to put an end to a seemingly endless civil war in Syria. This country was not one of the usual foreign policy suspects – it was not the United States, it was not in Europe, and it wasn’t Syria’s neighbor.
It was a country that has no real experience in playing the world’s policeman. But, seeing a world filled with retired officers, it decided to try on the uniform for itself. China has taken another step into the spotlight of the world stage.
This is what happens in a G-Zero world – a world without any specific country or bloc of countries in charge. China has long been content to watch world events play out and then react, trusting that another country would step in to put volatile situations to rest. But that’s not happening with the Syrian conflict and its spillover into the broader Middle East.
Americans feel that the issue doesn’t affect them enough to intervene. Europeans, as a Union, don’t seem to be particularly interested, even if some smaller countries are. And with those powers on the sidelines, suddenly the Chinese have a much bigger problem – a civil war that could metastasize into regional instability. The Chinese have far too much at stake in Iraq and Iran for that to happen: 11 percent of China’s oil imports come from Iran, and it is on track to be the chief importer of Iraqi oil by 2030.
via COLUMN-In Syria, a rare Chinese foray into foreign policy | Reuters.
What will a new era of leadership in the rise of China look like?
There are a few foreigners, with full bellies, who have nothing better to do than try to point fingers at our country,” Mr. Xi said, according to a tape broadcast on Hong Kong television. “China does not export revolution, hunger, poverty nor does China cause you any headaches. Just what else do you want?”
Mr. Xi is set to be elevated to the top post of the Chinese Communist Party at the 18th Party Congress scheduled to begin here on Nov. 8 — only two days after the American election. He will take the helm of a more confident China than the United States has ever known. He will be assuming supreme power in China at a time when relations between the two countries are adrift, sullied by suspicions over a clash of interests in Asia and by frequent attacks on China in the American presidential campaign.
via China’s Xi Jinping Would Be Force for U.S. to Contend With – NYTimes.com.