“GIANTS, BUT NOT HEGEMONS” BY ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI IN THE NEW YORK TIMES:
Mr. Zbigniew Brzezinski had served as the National Security Adviser in the administration of James Earl Carter, Jr., 39th President of the United States(1977-1981). He had published an essay in The New York Times on February 13, 2013 to share his views about the future of the US – China relations. I have reproduced the essay and my readers may notice that Mr. Brzezinski makes no mention about the 14th Dalai Lama, the Leader of Tibetan people and does not express any particular concern about the present situation inside Tibet. Hegemonism represents a policy or the practice of a nation in aggressively expanding its influence over other countries. Historically, the People’s Republic of China has displayed its hegemonistic doctrine by its military occupation of the autonomous State of Tibet after the Communist take over of power in China. To contain the military threat posed by China’s dominance over other countries of the region, the United States had pursued a policy of providing military assistance to Tibetans who are willing to resist the military occupation of their Land. India has also recognized the threat posed by China’s hegemonism and has joined the US efforts to resist the Chinese influence in Tibet. People’s Republic of China resorted to a massive, military retaliation and had attacked India across the Himalayan frontier during October/November 1962. The War of Aggression launched by Communist China resulted in the formulation of a military alliance/pact between the United States, India, and Tibet to defend their national security interests in the region. This alliance has created a military organization called Establishment Number. 22 during 1962 under the Kennedy administration and in 1966, this military organization was given the additional name of Special Frontier Force. Following President Kennedy’s initiative, all other succeeding US Presidents have continued their support to this military organization and the United States continued its participation in its military mission. However, during 1971-72, under Nixon’s presidency, the US took advantage of the political split between the Soviet Union and China and began a policy of normalizing the US – China relations. Dr. Henry Kissinger as the National Security Adviser and later as the US Secretary of State, had pursued a policy of keeping the 14th Dalai Lama at a distance while secretly participating in the military activities of Special Frontier Force. Dr. Kissinger had insisted that no US visa would be issued to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the temporal, and spiritual leader of the autonomous State of Tibet. Mr. Brzezinski as the National Security Adviser continued Dr. Kissinger’s policy of blocking the 14th Dalai Lama from visiting the United States while the US maintained the military alliance/pact with India and Tibet. Thanks to Cyrus Vance, the US Secretary of State, and President Jimmy Carter, the US had issued its first visa to the 14th Dalai Lama during 1979 and since that time His Holiness the Dalai Lama has visited the United States on numerous occasions. I would not think that the United States would ignore the problem of military oppression inside Tibet. The people of Tibet recognize that they have to struggle against a superior, military power if they have to regain their natural Freedom. When the oppressor is unjust, it would be futile to try reasoning to get justice from a tyrant like Communist China. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, it may be said: “I want world sympathy in this Battle of Right against Might.” Communist China’s military occupation of Tibet can be reversed if Tibetans can overwhelm their opponent with a demand for right and just course of action. I would like to draw a comparison to the Battle of David vs Goliath described in The Old Testament Book of 1 SAMUEL, Chapter 17 to state my hope that Tibetans will prevail in this Battle of Right against Might and evict the military occupier from their Land.
THE BATTLE OF DAVID vs GOLIATH:
The Old Testament Book of 1 SAMUEL, Chapter 17 gives a vivid account of this armed confrontation between Israel and the Philistine army. While Philistines encroached into Israel’s territory in Judah, they had taken a firm position at a place called Socoh. The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the Valley of Elah between them. Goliath was a gigantic warrior of the Philistine army. He was over eleven feet in height and for forty days he continued to openly challenge the Israeli camp to come forward and engage him in a personal combat to decide the result of the battle. David, a very young man with no military experience, who had come there to deliver some provisions to his brothers, had heard this challenge mockingly posed by Goliath. David went to face Goliath, armed with only a sling, and five smooth stones. David without any sense of fear shot a stone towards Goliath hitting him on the forehead. Goliath fell and David pulled the sword carried by Goliath to cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their Champion was dead, they fled away conceding their defeat. David’s triumph over Goliath shows that the outcome of a fight is not controlled by the opposing sides’ military strength.
Rudra N Rebbapragada
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-4162, USA
R. Rudra Narasimham, B.Sc., M.B.B.S.,
Personal Numbers:MS-8466/MR-03277K. Rank:Lieutenant/Captain/Major.
Branch:Army Medical Corps/Short Service Regular Commission(1969-1972); Direct Permanent Commission(1973-1984).
Unit:Establishment No.22(1971-1974)/South Column,Operation Eagle(1971-1972).
Organization: Special Frontier Force.
“Giants, but Not Hegemons”
By ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI,
His most recent book is “Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power.”
Published: February 13, 2013, NY times
WASHINGTON — Today, many fear that the emerging American-Chinese duopoly must inevitably lead to conflict.
But I do not believe that wars for global domination are a serious prospect in what is now the Post-Hegemonic Age.
Admittedly, the historical record is dismal. Since the onset of global politics 200 years ago, four long wars (including the Cold War) were fought over the domination of Europe, each of which could have resulted in global hegemony by a sole superpower.
Yet several developments over recent years have changed the equation. Nuclear weapons make hegemonic wars too destructive, and thus victory meaningless. One-sided national economic triumphs cannot be achieved in the increasingly interwoven global economy without precipitating calamitous consequences for everyone. Further, the populations of the world have awakened politically and are not so easily subdued, even by the most powerful. Last but not least, neither the United States nor China is driven by hostile ideologies.
Moreover, despite our very different political systems, both our societies are, in different ways, open. That, too, offsets pressure from within each respective society toward animus and hostility. More than 100,000 Chinese are students at American universities, and thousands of young Americans study and work in China or participate in special study or travel programs. Unlike in the former Soviet Union, millions of Chinese regularly travel abroad. And millions of young Chinese are in daily touch with the world through the Internet.
All this contrasts greatly with the societal self-isolation of the 19th- and 20th-century contestants for global power, which intensified grievances, escalated hostility and made it easier to demonize the one another.
Nonetheless, we cannot entirely ignore the fact that the hopeful expectation in recent years of an amicable American-Chinese relationship has lately been tested by ever more antagonistic polemics, especially in the media of both sides. This has been fueled in part by speculation about America’s allegedly inevitable decline and about China’s relentless, rapid rise.
Pessimism about America’ future tends to underestimate its capacity for self-renewal. Exuberant optimists about China’s inevitable pre-eminence underestimate the gap that still separates China from America — whether in G.D.P. per capita terms or in respective technological capabilities.
Paradoxically, China’s truly admirable economic success is now intensifying the systemic need for complex social and political adjustments in how and to what extent a ruling bureaucracy that defines itself as communist can continue to direct a system of state capitalism with a rising middle class seeking more rights.
Simplistic agitation regarding the potential Chinese military threat to America ignores the benefits that the U.S. also derives from its very favorable geostrategic location on the open shores of two great oceans as well as from its trans-oceanic allies on all sides.
In contrast, China is geographically encircled by not always friendly states and has very few, if any, allies. On occasion, some of China’s neighbors are tempted by this circumstance to draw the U.S. into support of their specific claims or conflicts of interest against China. Fortunately, there are signs that a consensus is emerging that such threats should not be resolved unilaterally or militarily, but through negotiation.
Matters have been not helped by the American media’s characterization of the Obama administration’s relative rebalancing of focus toward Asia as a “pivot” (a word never used by the president) with military connotations. In fact, the new effort was only meant to be a constructive reaffirmation of the unchanged reality that the U.S. is both a Pacific and Atlantic power.
Taking all this into account, the real threat to a stable U.S.-China relationship does not arise from any hostile intentions on the part of either country, but from the disturbing possibility that a revitalized Asia may slide into the kind of nationalistic fervor that precipitated conflicts in 20th-century Europe over resources, territory or power.
There are plenty of potential flash points: North Korea vs. South Korea, China vs. Japan, China vs. India, or India vs. Pakistan. The danger is that if governments incite or allow nationalistic fervor as a kind of safety valve it can spin out of control.
In such a potentially explosive context, U.S. political and economic involvement in Asia can be a crucially needed stabilizing factor. Indeed, America’s current role in Asia should be analogous to Britain’s role in 19th-century Europe as an “off-shore” balancing influence with no entanglements in the region’s rivalries and no attempt to attain domination over the region.
To be effective, constructive and strategically sensitive U.S. engagement in Asia must not be based solely on existing alliances with Japan and South Korea. Engagement must also mean institutionalizing U.S.- Chinese cooperation.
Accordingly, America and China should deliberately not let their economic competition turn into political hostility. Mutual engagement bilaterally and multilaterally — and not reciprocal exclusion — is what is needed. For example, the U.S. ought not seek a “trans-Pacific partnership” without China, and China should not seek a Regional Comprehensive Economic Pact without the U.S.
History can avoid repeating the calamitous conflicts of the 20th century if America is present in Asia as stabilizer — not a would-be policeman — and if China becomes the preeminent, but not domineering, power in the region.
In January 2011, President Obama and now-departing Chinese President Hu Jintao met and issued a communique boldly detailing joint undertakings and proposing to build a historically unprecedented partnership between America and China. With Obama reelected and Xi Jinping preparing to take over China’s presidency in March, the two leaders should meet to revalidate and re-energize the U.S.-China relationship. Whether this relationship is vital and robust, or weak and full of suspicion, will affect the whole world.
Zbigniew Brzezinski was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter.
His most recent book is “Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global Power.”