Obama, Romney should listen to Kissinger on China, says Walter Pincus

      When former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger talks about China, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama ought to listen, and "so should the rest of us," a veteran US journalist said on Tuesday. Walter Pincus, who has been reporting intelligence, defense and foreign policy for the Washington Post for decades, made the suggestion in an article on the elite newspaper.

He was referring to a "tutorial" given by Kissinger last Wednesday during a panel at the Woodrow Wilson Center, with "his unique 40-year-experience with Chinese leaders" on "how to handle the sensitive relations between Beijing and Washington." In his article, Pincus wrote: "Kissinger's presentation went far beyond his criticism of Obama's and Romney's attacks on China's economic practices." "He gave a perceptive short history of Chinese leadership since the Communist revolution, an evolution that few Americans appreciate," Pincus wrote.

"Each generation of Chinese leader ... reflected the mission and the conditions of his period," Kissinger was quoted by him as saying. The article said that the 89-year-old former secretary of state, in his remarks at the Wilson Center, called a conflict between China and the United States "a disaster for both countries" where "it would be impossible to describe what a victory would look like." "That is why Kissinger said he believes there should be consultations about not just grievances, but about objectives on things upon which they can agree," Pincus wrote in the article.

The article said that Kissinger, in his remarks, also warned about an American attitude "that we know the answers to all the questions and that it is our mission to make the world exactly over in the American image." China "managed to stagger through 3,800 years ... without assistance from the United States ," said the article, quoting Kissinger. "As a country we have to learn that when you conduct foreign policy, you have to deal with interests as well as values, and you have to reconcile the concerns of other countries with your own concerns ... That is a national challenge for the United States, no matter which party is in office," Kissinger was quoted as saying by the article. "Obama and Romney should take that to heart," Pincus said at the end of his article.

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