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Monday, June 13, 2011

Kissinger: Obama is "Basically Very Close ... To The Objectives That I Affirm."

What's eating Henry Kissinger? Of late -- perhaps Kissinger is finally fully conscious, at 88 years old, of his own mortality -- the former National Security Advisor has been more warm and fuzzy (as opposed to dark, Teutonic and evil), going so far as to take the issue of human rights seriously in public conversations (something that he did not care much for in his earlier incarnations). It is just about getting to be legacy time for old Kiss -- how will the world remember him? Kissinger is realistic enough to not believe in the fairy tale real estate that is Heaven or Hell -- but how people remember him in the future, that is a slice of ideological geography that has got to matter to even the coldest of realpolitikkers. Legacy, in the end, was the ultimate aphrodisiac of them all.

Kissinger was on Fareed Zakaria's GPS on Sunday talking about his new book, On China, an almost patriotic tome that aims to bring the United States and China to some common ground for diplomatic understanding long after, one presumes, he is long gone.

Kissinger said that in his estimation Obama's approach to dealing with China is "fundamentally correct." Of the President personally, Kissinger said that Obama has "a good mind." Further: "And so he looks at the world and sees what's actually happening. So when he speaks, he often sounds as if he were in the world of ideas alone. When he acts, he is very conscious of reality. I think he's basically very close, if I put his actions together, to the objectives that I affirm."

President Obama, Kissinger concluded, may view his remarks as "a private compliment, but he will not want to advertise it." 

Say what you will about Kissinger: that comment was an act of pure realism.

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