♠ Posted by Emmanuel at 8/29/2012 02:39:00 PMSay what you will about Henry Kissinger and the practice of realpolitik, but it is interesting to note the degeneration in US foreign policy attitudes over four decades. From Kissinger-era live and let live, Missus Clinton has largely returned to the "America knows best" attitude familiar to American exceptionalists. What is of course interesting is that the present secretary of state is even more assured in her smug self-superiority at a time when the US is in clear and obvious political-economic decline. At any rate, here's what Kissinger told South Korean leaders during the Park Chung-Hee era when certain American lawmakers were raising a big stink about human rights in that country. From the account of Kim Chung-Yum
[Kissinger] also added that a country had to adopt a political system that served its environment, as the history, culture, and politics of every country was different...Secretary Kissinger remarked in a press conference that: "We cannot change all the governments and political systems in the world based on our American values." [p. 535-6]Speaking of Asia and cultural imperialism, contrast those statements with those delivered by Missus Clinton prior to the APEC summit late last year. Essentially, its the familiar theme of "you coloured peoples of Asia would be better off following us enlightened white people in the US and Europe." Yes, precisely--the White Man's Burden of civilizing the unwashed masses in Asia (and elsewhere):
We have a model for what we and our partners in the region are working to achieve. It is what the United States and our partners in Europe achieved together in the past 50 years. The 20th century saw the creation of a comprehensive transatlantic network of institutions and relationships. Its goals were to strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and defend our collective security. And it has paid remarkable dividends, in Europe itself, in our thriving two-way trade and our investment, and in places like Libya and Afghanistan. It has also proven to be absolutely critical in dealing with countries like Iran. The transatlantic system is and always will be a central pillar of America’s engagement with the world.OK, so let me get this straight: First, Afghanistan is a great place. And second, she mentions that the transatlantic system (composed mainly of white nations with colonial imperialist histories) will remain a central pillar of American engagement in the context of supposedly currying favour with Asian nations. Aside from having a tin ear for politics--the ugly American in excelsis--Hillary speaks loudly and carries a teeny-weeny stick, while Henry believed more in having it the other way around.
With Park Chung Hee's daughter being the front-runner to be South Korea's next leader, I guess that nation which is far more progressive than the US at the current time isn't exactly down with Hillary's whitebread "freedom 'n' growth" schtick. As ever, the best way to get the white people to quit telling the rest of the world how great they are is to do them one better--which is not exactly difficult nowadays given the wretched state of their downwardly mobile nation.