Recently, in Closed Minds and Culturally Blind Missionary Zeal, I mentioned Henry Kissinger’s book On China and quoted from the Preface, “American exceptionalism is missionary. It holds that the United States has an obligation to spread its values to every part of the world. China’s exceptionalism is cultural. China does not proselytize (preach); it does not claim that its contemporary institutions are relevant (superior) outside China.”
What Kissinger meant was that China does not believe it has a right to force its cultural beliefs and political system and values on the world while America does believe it has that right.
What do you think? Do you feel the US has the right to preach to other cultures and pressure them to be like America?
I’m still reading “On China”, and it will be some time before I finish because I’m reading several magazines and another book at the same time while writing two Blogs and getting ready to launch my next book, which will see “My Splendid Concubine” and “Our Hart” combined as The Concubine Saga.
However, this post is about Henry Kissinger appearing on NPR’s Talk of the Nation with Neal Conan and Ted Koppel on June 8, 2011. The focus was on China although the program strayed from that topic a few times.
The program ran about a half hour so I am going to share a condensed version.
After an introduction, Neal Conan asked, “In the long run, do you think the Chinese Communist Party can survive the political pressures created by the country’s economic successes?”
Kissinger said he believed China’s political system would have to adapt, which several of China’s leaders have already mentioned as a necessity.
When Conan challenged this answer, Kissinger replied, “But there a new administration coming in and right now, it is in a very defensive mode.”
Continued on July 10, 2011 in Kissinger on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” – Part 2
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.
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I think American proselytize of democracy really came into its own under the neo-con and in particular the Straussian neo-cons, who rightly or wrongly believe that America is safer in a world populated by “free” countries (I use quotation marks here because the neo-con definition of free is rather narrow in the way they use it)
I would think it might have been a legitimate case to argue if history hasn’t shown that bring democracy just been a cloak for more selfish and destructive motives (with death and suffering to follow). But again one of Leo Strauss’ most important influence on the neo-cons was the idea of the ‘noble lie’ (google it, it’s some pretty interesting stuff and offers interesting insight on what happen in the lead up to Iraq)
This book mentions Leo Strauss and says that many of President G. W. Bush’s White House staff were neo-cons that were taught in college in Chicago from a former Nazi supporter. The book is heavily documented as if it were a university research paper.