Henry Kissinger on U.S.--China Relations. Henry Kissinger recounts his dramatic diplomatic mission to Beijing 40 years ago during Nixon's presidency. With stakes so high, both sides "decided to spend most of the time on trying to explore each other's perception of the international order... Nixon's visit to China had opened the door to dealing with these challenges; they are with us still." Now, as the U.S. and Chine attempt to define their current relationship, the "question ultimately comes down to what the U.S. and China can realistically ask of each other... The U.S. cannot be true to itself without affirming its commitment to basic principles of human dignity and popular participation in government... But experience has shown that to seek to impose them by confrontation is likely to be self-defeating". Forty years since his mission to China, Kissinger advises that "both countries pursue their domestic imperatives" but also evolve together by seeking "to identify and develop complementary interests."
Malise Ruthven on the Exceptional Case of Syria. "The turmoil in Syria," argues Malise Ruthven, "...is much more menacing than the generally peaceful revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, from which the Syrian protesters drew their initial inspiration." In Egypt, generals reportedly unseated President Hosni Mubarak after tank commanders refused his orders to fire on civilians. But the Syrian government's response has been "both violent and vacillating." And unlike Libya, Ruthven sets forth, "military action in defense of Syria’s beleaguered population would barely attract a shred of international support." One feature of the revolts is that "the Facebook rebellion seems curiously faceless... There seem to be no controlling organizations or identifiable leaders, and the opposition’s ideological focus is unclear, beyond slogans calling for an end to corruption and repression." The enduring problem for the revolt in Syria is that "while the Facebook generation knows what it doesn’t like, it is far from clear that there are structures in place, or being planned, that could provide the basis for an alternative political system if the regime collapses."