Kissinger Advocates for U.S.-Russia Dialogue To 'Merge Our Futures'

February 8, 2016

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger traveled to Moscow, last week, where he meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 3 and Putin's Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov on Feb. 4. Kissinger also delivered the Primakov Lecture, in honor of the late Soviet/Russian diplomat, foreign minister, and prime minister Yevgeny Primakov, at the Gorchakov Foundation, the full text of which was published by the National Interest and by the Gorchakov Fund.

Kissinger discussed the Track II group made up of retired senior officials from both the U.S. and Russia which he and Primakov had co-chaired from 2007 to 2009, the purpose of which was "to ease the adversarial aspects of the U.S.-Russian relationship and to consider opportunities for cooperative approaches." He paid particular homage to Primakov as "an indispensable partner" in the Track II effort. "His sharp analytical mind combined with a wide grasp of global trends acquired in years close to and ultimately at the center of power, and his great devotion to his country refined our thinking and helped in the quest for a common vision," Kissinger said. "We did not always agree, but we always respected each other. He is missed by all of us and by me personally as a colleague and a friend."

Kissinger then spent several paragraphs going through his view of the evolution of U.S.-Russian relations since the end of the Cold War, showing the divergence in relations leading to the confrontation that exists today over Ukraine and Syria. He said, however, that what has driven the relationship are two different historical visions that were fundamentally at odds with each other. "For the United States, the end of the Cold War seemed like a vindication of its traditional faith in inevitable democratic revolution," he said. "It visualized the expansion of an international system governed by essentially legal rules. But Russia's historical experience is more complicated. To a country across which foreign armies have marched for centuries from both East and West, security will always need to have a geopolitical, as well as a legal, foundation. When its security border moves from the Elbe 1,000 miles east towards Moscow, Russia's perception of world order will contain an inevitable strategic component."

Dealing with today's threats arising from the disintegration of state power and ungoverned spaces, Kissinger said, requires "sustained cooperation" among the U.S., Russia and other major powers. "Therefore the elements of competition, in dealing with the traditional conflicts in the interstate system, must be constrained so that the competition remains within bounds and creates conditions which prevent a recurrence." He applies this to both Ukraine and Syria. Ukraine needs to be a bridge between Moscow and Europe, without being an outpost of either side, he said, while compatible U.S.-Russian efforts in Syria could create a pattern of peaceful solutions to conflicts in the Middle East more generally.

But more broadly, Kissinger said that Russia should be seen as an indispensable partner, not as a threat to the U.S. in the emerging new global order. "I am here to argue for the possibility of a dialogue that seeks to merge our futures rather than elaborate our conflicts. This requires respect by both sides of the vital values and interest of the other," he concludes. "It will only come with a willingness in both Washington and Moscow, in the White House and the Kremlin, to move beyond the grievances and sense of victimization to confront the larger challenges that face both of our countries in the years ahead."

Lyndon LaRouche, when briefed on Kissinger's speech, said, "What do you think? They're fighting the Nazis."