Asawin Suebsaeng, Andrew Desiderio, Sam Stein, Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, excerpts:
Henry Kissinger suggested to President Donald Trump that the United States should work with Russia to contain a rising China.
The former secretary of state—who famously engineered the tactic of establishing diplomatic relations with China in order to isolate the Soviet Union—pitched almost the inverse of that idea to Trump during a series of private meetings during the presidential transition, five people familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast. The potential strategy would use closer relations with Russia, along with other countries in the region, to box in China’s growing power and influence.
Kissinger also pitched the idea to Jared Kushner, the top White House adviser whose portfolio includes foreign-policy matters, one of the sources briefed on the discussions said.
“China is the greater long term strategic challenge,” said John Rood, the Under secretary of Defense for Policy, at the Aspen Security Forum. “But in many ways, Russia is the larger near term threat because of the overwhelming lethality of its nuclear arsenal and also because of some the behavior that the Russian government has exhibited.”
Russia is at times a flamboyant foe of the European Union and the United States, seeking to sow disruption and division within and among Western allies. It also has been highly disruptive of U.S. politics making it an illogical partner for an ambitious attempt to help preserve the current international system.
“At the moment, with Russia having tried to attack our democratic institutions as well as still acting like a rogue state in Ukraine and Syria, the chances of a U.S.-Russia alliance to take on China are slim to none,” said Kazianis.
“But know this: time and circumstance can change minds and win hearts. I would not be shocked if in seven to 10 years this does indeed take place.”
The former secretary of state pushed one president to use China to isolate the Soviet Union. These days, he’s counseling almost the reverse—and officials are listening.
Source: Henry Kissinger Pushed Trump to Work With Russia to Box In China