My 1,500th post--On China by Henry Kissinger

This is possibly the best book I have read which to a certain degree depends on my current interest in how different cultures solves their state formation. Kissinger goes through the relation of the West and China since 1793 when the British was turned down by the Qing emperor.

The Chinese are apparently back to Confucianism in the "socialism with Chinese characteristics" that Deng Xiaoping built on the embers of what Mao left him with. Chinese characteristics is apparently anything that will make China great.

My problem of a return to Confucianism is that this philosophy placed China at a great disadvantage and that is was individual initative, the market and economical know-how from the West that made China what it is today. Deng was pushing for science and technology but he was very clear about not permitting any creativity in the political arena. He retired 3 years after Tiananmen after a Tour of the southern part of the country where he reiterated his thesis which still seems to be law in China.

Mao was against Confucianism as a class oppressive philosophy. Mao apparently thought Communism was liberative. It is clear from the book that there is no common ground between the West and China on values. Kissinger ends the book with a chapter where he asks, just like Niall Ferguson, if history will repeat itself with China as Germany and the US as Britain around 1900.

He ends the book on a positive note though and hopes that we will be able to build the world together rather than having it being shook by China's rise as predicted by Zhou Enlai when he and Kissinger sent out their 1971 communiqué after the opening up of China by Richard Nixon. Kissinger has a citation by Nixon where he claims the Chinese with a decent government would lead the world. I don't think they have that though and it does not seem like they will get one either. They simply do not have the proper values. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are not respected in China.

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