Tue, Jan 15, 2008 -- 10:00 AM
"The Life of Henry Kissinger"
Download (MP3) (Windows: right-click and choose "Save Target As." Mac: hold Ctrl, click link, and choose "Save As.")
Listen to a (RealMedia stream) at KQED Radio Archive, http://www.kqed.org/epArchive/R801151000
We explore the life of former Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Henry Kissinger, and his impact on U.S. foreign policy. Suri's work focuses on international relations in the 1960s and the Cold War."
Host: Rachael Myrow
Guest: Jeremi Suri, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and author of "Henry Kissinger and the American Century."
Air: 88.5 FM San Francisco or 89.3 FM Sacramento
KQED: Public Broadcasting for Northern California
Monday, January 14, 2008
Tue, Jan 15, 2008 -- 10:00 AM
Posted by William P. Tishler at 12:51 PM
Saturday, January 5, 2008
"New year, new hope. What changes do you want to see in 2008? We put that question to a cross-section of Madisonians to see what reflections and resolutions they would offer. Their answers were sometimes funny, sometimes profound. Here's what we learned." - Edited by Marc Eisen
Restore real open debate
We have become a society that is too self-assured to examine its own assumptions, too insecure to subject its beliefs to serious scrutiny. This is particularly true on university campuses.
I hope 2008 will mark a return to traditions of civil argumentation. Instead of easy answers to difficult questions, I want real open debate. What kind of university do we want for the next century? What kind of nation do we want? What will we do for the rest of the world?
We need intense discussions of these issues, where people voice radically different views and these views are subjected to critical examination. We should respect one another for making the effort to discuss and disagree. That is the democracy I want to see in 2008.
[Read more high hopes for the new year from other Madisonians at http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/article.php?article=18612 ]
Posted by Jeremi Suri at 4:54 PM
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
By Jeremi Suri, The Boston Globe
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
In July 1971, Henry Kissinger, acting as President Nixon's special representative, secretly traveled to Beijing. Kissinger's voyage provided the basis for a dramatic opening in relations between the United States and China - two nations estranged from one another for more than 20 years.
Convulsed by internal upheavals and surrounded by regional threats, Chinese leaders viewed relations with Washington as a possible anchor for stability.
Beset by a deepening military quagmire in Vietnam, deteriorating relations with traditional allies, and pervasive protests at home, the White House was desperate for a diplomatic overture that would show some political promise before the upcoming presidential election.
Today, the historical parallels are striking. President Bush confronts a civil war in Iraq with no end in sight, American standing abroad has plummeted and domestic opposition to present policies is growing.
America's long time adversary, Iran, similarly contends with a clash of generations and worldviews at home, as well as a cast of external challengers, including the International Atomic Energy Agency and the UN Security Council. Leaders in Washington and Tehran need one another. The White House should pursue a "China opening" with Iran.
Although Kissinger's insights from the Vietnam War have not helped in Iraq, his maneuvers with China do provide a model for navigating relations with Iran:
Open multiple channels of communication.
The most difficult impediment to new relations with old adversaries is history. China and the United States had no institutional or interpersonal basis for initiating a constructive bilateral relationship. Nixon and Kissinger took advantage of nearly every channel for communicating with Beijing. They enlisted diverse figures in Pakistan, Poland, Romania, West Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the Vatican to pass messages to the Chinese leadership. Getting discussions started required consistent, determined efforts in the White House.
Talk while fighting.
Opening a dialogue with an adversary does not preclude continued conflict. Kissinger and Nixon never believed that by engaging the Chinese leadership they had to forsake their strategic responsibilities in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea or South Vietnam. In fact, the United States reaffirmed its commitment to each of these governments as Kissinger traveled to Beijing in July 1971. The point of negotiations with the Chinese was to make these commitments more secure by insuring greater mutual understanding and respect.
Emphasize personal relationships.
Nixon and Kissinger understood that demonizing their adversaries diminished Washington's leverage. Despite their monstrous deeds, the Chinese leaders were smart and pragmatic. Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai recognized the same qualities in their American counterparts. The leaders of the two states worked to build respect despite their differences. Personal bonds allowed for a probing of possible compromises.
Avoid "total" solutions.
U.S. and Chinese leaders avoided discussion of overarching strategic solutions. They remained deadlocked on Taiwan, Vietnam and the Korean peninsula. Instead, they emphasized small steps - youth exchanges, the transfer of prisoners, avenues for trade. These symbolic agreements created a foundation for negotiations about security in later years.
Normalize the diplomatic process.
In the end, the opening to China illustrated the importance of process. Despite conflict, relations between Washington and Beijing improved because both sides felt a stake in maintaining dialogue. They committed to ongoing efforts at mutual agreement.
The present Iranian regime is as dangerous and violent as Communist China at its worst. To call for an opening to this regime does not deny this fact. Isolation and recrimination, however, do not make for effective policy. The history of improved relations between Washington and Beijing since 1971 provides reason to believe that discussions are possible between the United States and Iran.
At the least, an opening to Iran is worth a try. If it fails, the Bush administration will gain credibility for seeking to break out of the recurring cycle of violence in the Middle East. If it succeeds, it will mark a rare moment of foreign policy achievement for the Bush administration.
Jeremi Suri, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is author of "Henry Kissinger and the American Century." This article first appeared in The Boston Globe. [Tuesday, July 24, 2007 < http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/07/24/opinion/edsuri.php >]
Posted by Jeremi Suri at 10:49 AM