Why in the world did Henry Kissinger go to Red China? If it be said that his principal function was to prepare the way for President Ford’s visit later this year, then the same question can be asked about that trip. Certainly they cannot be trying to work out any economic deal. Red China has no money to buy from us and no goods to barter with us.
The frosty reception that Dr. Kissinger received in China indicates that our Secretary of State must have subjected himself to badgering on the top two items on the agenda of the Mao Tse-tung regime — the demand that the United States hurry up and cut our diplomatic ties with our faithful ally, Taiwan, and the request that Red China receive U.S. credits. Mao probably feels he is the victim of discrimination since the Soviet Union and most other Communist countries have been able to climb aboard the U.S. gravy train for long-term, low-interest loans from the American taxpayers.
If Dr. Kissinger expects President Ford to be reelected next year, he must recognize that the American people won’t stand for either concession. So it doesn’t make sense to travel thousands of miles to Peking to discuss them.
The third topic of discussion between Dr. Kissinger and the Red China officials was detente with the Soviet Union. Mao summoned Kissinger to his walled home in Peking and gave him a one hour and forty minute lecture, berating detente as a modern day version of the appeasement of Nazi Germany. The Mao line was echoed by other Red Chinese officials during the five days of formal talks, ban quets, and sightseeing.
Surely Dr. Kissinger could not have enjoyed this tongue-lashing, and probably he didn’t expect it. One can only hope that, since he consistently seems to be so much more deferential to Communist dic tators than he is to U.S. officials, Congressmen, or newsmen, he might have learned a few of the facts of life and detente from the Red Chinese which he failed to listen to when told by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
The best explanation of .why Dr. Kissinger voluntarily made his tiresome trip to Red China is that it is a politician’s sleight-of hand trick with a two-fold objective. First, the showmanship of the trip diverted attention from embarrassing questions that might have cropped up about the secret obligations he wrote into the Sinai settlement and about the wiretapping of his staff during the Nixon Administration.
The other objective is more devious. During the past year, Dr. Kissinger has been attempting to shore up his declining credibility by meeting with prestige groups in various cities across the United States. The crux of his salestalks is to picture himself as the architect of a world balance of power in which he adds 800 million Chinese to American economic power and hopes that he can balance this off against the new Soviet nuclear and naval superiority.
The fatal fallacy is that this won’t work. The Soviets are putting so much money and effort into their nuclear weapons program that they will soon have enough missiles to destroy both the United States and Red China at the same time.