Politico has published the late statesman’s answers to a series of questions he was asked in mid-October
In what appears to be the last interview that former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger gave before his death last week, the statesman lamented the lack of dialogue between the US and Russia in remarks published by Politico on Saturday.
Kissinger, whose controversial legacy came into the spotlight after passing at the age of 100, was a speaker at a virtual discussion hosted by the nonprofit World.Minds in mid-October. Founder Rolf Dobelli said the former US official answered questions from a group of people, including historian Niall Ferguson and ex-Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. The talk primarily focused on the Middle East conflict.
One of the questions was whether the US and its allies should “squeeze Russia and or China out of the Middle East” today.
“The ability to squeeze these powers out of the Middle East or to encourage them to play a positive role depends fundamentally on China-American relationships. And those are not improving,” Kissinger replied.
He urged Washington to “reconcile with China,” warning that an attitude was being developed in America preventing that.
“Right now, the greatest difficulty with respect to Russia is that we have not heard what their thinking is because there is no dialogue with Russia at all,” he added.
Speaking about the ongoing crisis in Gaza, he argued that a two-state solution was no longer viable for Israelis and Palestinians. He suggested that Jordan should take control of the West Bank and claimed that it was up to leading Arab nations, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to rein in radicals and de-escalate the situation.
“I fear that the events of the past weeks will force them into a more radical stance, and that would lead to a situation in which the United States will have to balance the equation,” Kissinger noted.
He agreed that there was a leadership crisis in the world today, as people with power “have failed to master the overriding concepts, the fundamentals, and the day-to-day tactics.” Reliance on violent conflicts to resolve differences is a threat to civilization, he warned.
Kissinger died last Wednesday at his home in Connecticut. Russian President Vladimir Putin called him an “outstanding diplomat” and a “wise and far-sighted statesman” in his statement of condolence.
Critics blame Kissinger for promoting US foreign policies that resulted in thousands of civilian deaths in places like Cambodia and Laos.