Xi Jinping in His Own Words
What China’s Leader Wants—and How to Stop Him From Getting It
Ten years after President Kennedy stood at the Berlin Wall and proclaimed, "Ich bin ein Berliner," his sometime rival Richard Nixon is about to make his own Grand Tour of the Old World. The very notion of a Grand Tour calls up the Jamesian theme of an innocent abroad. One might ask whether President Nixon will discover, as did the Jamesian hero, often to his sorrow, that innocence and goodwill are not enough for such an undertaking; the ability to deal with subtleties and complexities is the necessary virtue in order to apprehend the European experience. But then, President Nixon is not going alone, and, unlike his avowed model, Woodrow Wilson, he is unlikely to abandon his Colonel House after his disembarkation. On the contrary, he will most likely leave it to his European-born adviser, Henry Kissinger, to guide him through the labyrinth of European diplomacy.
Moreover, ten years after President Kennedy's visit, President Nixon will be confronted by a new set of perceptions that the Europeans (and by Europeans, I mean West Europeans) hold of America, and vice versa. The Europeans see America as Raymond Vernon has described her, as a "rogue elephant in the forest" whose economic might is such that she can lash out, despite the recent downturn in her monetary fortunes.1 But she is also a beast wounded in pride, after an Asian war which seemed to the European mind a reckless adventure.
Alastair Buchan, now at Oxford, has written that "the United States has come, for the time being, to be regarded in Europe . . . less as the mainspring of civilization and more as the generator of crude power." Since perceptions are the forces which guide statesmen, our own self-image as a somewhat put-upon, rather benevolent creature, who did not seek an empire and who has emerged chastened and wiser after a debilitating war, may not coincide with what General de Gaulle-expressing what many Europeans often felt-characterized as a people animated by a will to power cloaked in idealism.
But what of Europe? Surely our perceptions of Europe are no less changed over the past decade. In 1963, France was riding the high tide of Gaullism. That was the year when General de Gaulle, having extricated France from the hopeless mire of the Algerian War, asserted the renewed vigor of the nation-state by vetoing British entry into the Common Market. Though France did not, in fact, speak for Europe, President de Gaulle acted as if she did. And when his infrequent, carefully managed press conferences, his coups de théatre captured the attention of the world, who was to say that there was any other figure on the European stage who could project a clear vision of what France's-and, by his extension, Europe's-role was to be? The specter of Yalta haunted de Gaulle, and along with his desire to restore France to the first rank was his further view of a "Europe of the Fatherlands" that would challenge the hegemonies of both Russia and America. It was a Europe of the nation-state, to extend if not from the Atlantic to the Urals, then at least to the Carpathians.
West Germany at this time was generally perceived as a crippled giant, still bearing the moral wounds self-inflicted from World War II. Though her economic recovery was prodigious, her political power was limited. It was the last year that West Germany was led by an aging Rhinelander, Konrad Adenauer, the good European who had turned increasingly to de Gaulle for re-insurance against both real and imagined softness by the Americans toward the Soviets. German policy seemed rooted in the cold war. While Paris spoke boldly of détente, entente and coöperation with the East, Bonn quietly expanded trade with Moscow and the satellite capitals at the same time. While de Gaulle used the American nuclear guarantee to defend Europe in order to pursue his own more independent policy-to undo, as it were, the bonds of Yalta-Adenauer held tenaciously to the notion that such a guarantee might be abandoned; thus, he could never perceive the freedom of action that such a commitment allowed him; his was a noble provincialism, but a provincialism nonetheless.
It was also the last year that England was governed by perhaps her most successful postwar Prime Minister. Harold Macmillan was indeed a pivotal figure, since it was he who took it upon himself to restore the strained "special relationship" between Britain and America after the Suez debacle in 1956, then tried to counteract the Common Market in the last years of the decade by setting up a European Free Trade Association, the so-called Outer Seven that would challenge the Six, which were labeled inward-looking.
In 1958 Macmillan had urged the political directorate of America, Britain and France, proposed by de Gaulle, upon a sympathetic but finally recalcitrant Eisenhower. By 1963, Macmillan had changed course. The "special relationship" no longer loomed as such a crucial link in England's perception of herself as a world power. She had sued for admission into the Europe she had spurned in 1957 when the Treaty of Rome was signed. Rejected as an American "Trojan horse" by de Gaulle, England would have to bide her time until she could make a proper Canossa before the Elysée, casting off the remnants of the special relationship as her penance.
Ten years ago America still enjoyed a surplus in her balance of trade. Her role in Vietnam was growing but there was as yet no obvious moral or financial crisis. Nevertheless, for those who looked carefully there were dangerous portents: in 1959 the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury had been sent to Europe to ask help in shoring up the U.S. balance of payments. Under Kennedy, Treasury Secretary Dillon sounded the tocsin more loudly, for by now we were running a continuing deficit in our overall balance of payments. And in Vietnam the American involvement had increased to approximately 16,000 advisers-both military and civilian-and the Saigon government of Ngo Dinh Diem was overthrown, with Diem murdered in the aftermath.
Ten years later perceptions on both sides of the Atlantic have been affected by irreducible facts. The Europe of the Six has been replaced by the Europe of the Nine. Britain, Ireland and Denmark have been admitted into the Community. France, while trying to maintain the trappings of neo-Gaullism, no longer speaks with her old authority, and her power of veto is less firmly exercised. The expulsion from the Defense Ministry in 1973 of that most loyal Gaullist, Michel Debré, signals the very real possibility of new forms of coöperation between Great Britain and France. And on the other side of the channel, the "special relationship" with the United States has been quietly buried.
France today, while enjoying an industrial boom and a tranquil relationship between labor and capital, still trembles from the grave social dislocations which lie just below the surface of an affluent society.
West Germany, seizing the political initiative after de Gaulle's departure, has successfully completed a series of negotiations with Moscow, Warsaw, Prague and Pankow which has, in fact, resulted in a peace treaty for Germany in lieu of an official comprehensive document as such. The conclusion of the Ostpolitik, capped by Soviet party chief Brezhnev's visit in May 1973 to Bonn, has effectively removed the German cancer that always threatened to destroy the contours of postwar Europe.
Finally, the economic prowess of the European Community is considerable. If the Community evolves beyond a customs union-an evolution which seems more likely since the Paris summit meeting of October 1972-"the United States would confront an integrated European economic area with a gross national product of, say, $700 billion, and a population of 270 million. . . . Its $60 billion or so of foreign exchange reserves and its annual revenues in the public sector of $250 billion would represent more than a match for the U.S. economy."2
Thus, the potential of the Community is formidable by any standard. According to François Duchêne of London's International Institute for Strategic Studies, "its annual product, second only to that of the United States, exceeds that of the Soviet Union and still far exceeds that of Japan and China combined. Its rate of growth, though not Japanese, remains respectable. In military terms, its general purpose forces, if they were ever organized as a single entity, would be considerable even by American or Soviet standards."3
As the President departs, then, on his Grand Tour, many Europeans ask themselves if Washington correctly perceives the new polity that has emerged in the post-cold war era-what I would call the concert of Europe.
What, in fact, is the Nixon-Kissinger worldview, and how does it color their attitudes toward their closest allies? In the headier days of the Administration, as yet undamaged by the traumatic effects of Watergate and justifiably proud of its new démarche toward China and the new trade links with the Soviet Union, President Nixon put forth on at least two occasions his concept of a five-power world which would include America, Russia, China, Japan and Western Europe. Moreover, when criticized over this concept on the grounds that only Russia and America are truly global powers and that Western Europe is at best an embryonic power since its political will is still fragmented, President Nixon answered his critics in a forthright manner. "Those who scoff at 'balance-of-power diplomacy' on the world scene," he declared on the eve of his campaign for reëlection, "should recognize that the only alternative to a balance of power is an imbalance of power-and history shows us that nothing so drastically escalates the danger of war as such an imbalance. It is precisely the fact that the elements of balance now exist that gives us a rare opportunity to create a system of stability that can maintain the peace not just for a decade, but for a generation-and we hope beyond."4
There are many who argue that such a world is not in fact a fact. But this, too, enters the realm of perceptions. If the President acts as though such a pentagonal world is in the making, then such a world becomes paradoxically a perceived global structure with which other nations must cope. The shared perceptions are the key, as was the case between 1878 and 1890 when Bismarck proclaimed that a balance of power existed on the European continent. Such was not, of course, the fact. Russia was broken, Austria-Hungary a shell, Italy without true weight on the political scale, and France still suffering from her humiliation of 1870. Nevertheless, because the balance seemed a desirable situation to the ruling powers, and because Bismarck was himself a master juggler in the arena of power politics, it was not apparent until after Bismarck's fall that the balance of power on the Continent was a fiction. Indeed, it was not until the Tangier crisis of 1905 that other nations clearly perceived that it was German power that dominated the scene.
Obviously 1973 is not 1873, and the President has recognized this in his State of the World message earlier this year. Since the five powers-even if you accept their reality-do not agree, as did the nineteenth-century powers, that such a global balance is even a desideratum, the President has qualified his earlier assertions. He denies that he seeks "a classical balance of power," but continues to maintain that "a certain balance of power is inherent in any international system and has its place in the one we envision."
In any event, policy, as the Nixon administration has acted it out, has been essentially Bismarckian in its non-ideological mode and its sudden reversals, surprising both friend and foe with its maximum use of flexibility and shock. However much the Europeans may either question or share the Nixonian concept of a pentagonal world in the making, it would be hard to deny that both Europe and Washington agree that the nation-state is the most important force to be reckoned with. And in promoting this notion, the Nixon administration has been no laggard.
"Part of the reason for our difficulties is our reluctance to think in terms of power and equilibrium," Kissinger once wrote. In their pursuit of a just equilibrium the President and his principal foreign policy adviser have proceeded with a series of bilateral negotiations. After the dramatic restoration of relations with China, which shocked the Japanese into reëvaluating their own relations with that country and with Russia, after the summit meetings between Brezhnev and Nixon, after the SALT agreements and the talks providing for an expansion of trade between the two great ideological adversaries, the Nixon-Kissinger team turned its attention to Europe.
Just as new policies were demanded toward our adversaries, after the collapse at the end of the Kennedy era of the "grand design" to link Europe and America as dual pillars in the Atlantic Community (or what was less felicitously described as the "dumbbell" theory), and after the period of benign neglect that President Johnson accorded Europe, a revitalization of the Atlantic Alliance was in order. Yet Nixon's approach to the Community has been hortatory rather than dynamic.
This has been most manifest in the speech delivered by Henry Kissinger in April 1973 in which he outlined a new Atlantic Charter. The rhetoric was inflated but hardly persuasive. While calling for "The Atlantic Nations" to "join in a fresh act of creation, equal to that undertaken by the postwar generation of leaders of Europe and America," it appeared that yet another American grand design was in the making-but this time with a difference. The new Atlantis was to include Japan.
Even more disquieting was the underlying message that the Europeans-and, most particularly, the French-discerned. In essence, this was the linking of economics and defense. Kissinger carefully pointed out that the United States expected that greater economic unity would lead to greater political unity and thus to a greater European willingness to "ease our burdens" in defense, but that "many of these expectations are not being fulfilled." While apparently ruling out "unilateral withdrawals of U.S. forces from Europe," Kissinger went on to say that "we owe to our peoples a rational defense posture, at the safest minimum size and costs, with burdens equitably shared." For, "if we agree on common objectives, it will become a technical question whether a particular measure is pursued in a particular forum or whether to proceed bilaterally or multilaterally."
But what if there is no agreement on common objectives? Throughout the speech the message becomes clearer: America may well try to pressure Europe before the trade negotiations this fall are fully underway into a general agreement on principles which may run counter to some of the principles which Europe will be defending in these negotiations. Washington however, will probably fail in this effort. As the London Economist put it soon after the Atlantic Charter speech, "one of these principles is the right of the Common Market to conduct the policy that suits it towards its associates."
From a European point of view, a "fair" trade system is not one that lets the United States run a perpetual capital deficit. Thus, the essential issue behind American blandishments and European reluctance is the American tendency to link economics and security. (And this goes down as badly with the Japanese as it does with the Europeans.) As the French foreign minister Michel Jobert has described it: " 'We protect you, so you pay us' is unacceptable, since the Alliance is for mutual protection."5
Finally, in proposing his Atlantic Charter, the President's foreign policy adviser asserted: "The United States has global interests and responsibilities. Our European allies have regional interests." If this still remains true regarding security matters, it is palpably untrue as far as economic matters are concerned.6
The real questions cannot be concealed by lofty pronouncements. And the solutions to the problems of alliance will be valid only insofar as our perceptions of Europe are accurate, and only if they are put within a reasonable time frame. Nothing is more dubious than following an antique drum. With 45 percent of world gold reserves now held by the European central banks, plus another 6.5 percent held by individual Europeans, the shift in wealth puts Europe in a position of being a peer rather than a dependent of the United States. Washington has, after all, declared that the dollar will remain unconvertible into gold; at the same time it has hoped that special drawing rights (SDRs) would provide sufficient liquidity to finance world trade now that other nations are no longer prepared to go on accumulating dollar balances. Refusing to adopt the French proposal to revalue gold, the United States has been forced to undergo two devaluations-in December 1971 and in February 1973, with a third now probably underway.
This situation developed over a long period of time in response to a peculiar political climate. In the immediate postwar years the United States had a vision of a world run on what David P. Calleo has called "Hullian" liberal policies based on the notion that "free trade was to be accompanied by free convertibility of money and freedom for investments and capital movements."7 But Washington did not believe it could tackle the immediate postwar problems-the recovery of Europe-by means of such policies. Where this rather Wilsonian scheme went awry was the length of time needed before Europe felt able to adopt liberal policies. The result of this postponement was, as Calleo puts it, "a policy combining American aid with European protectionism," since Europe needed "not only massive inflows of American aid but restrictive measures on trade and money."
The European politico-economic bloc became an American desideratum; under a Monnet-ist vision, economic integration would precede political integration. And only then might one return to the earlier Wilsonian ideal-Atlantic integration and partnership, but not a separate Europe pulling away from U.S. hegemony after its recovery. In the 1960s the Kennedy Round to cut tariffs seemed on the way to restoring the earlier vision, one which might come to include Japan. But such a vision did not produce a design that worked. Although the United States could and did maintain its military hegemony over Europe, the economic growth of the Common Market increased rapidly even as the United States was becoming more and more financially vulnerable because of its involvement in Indochina.
France, in particular, sought to discourage what she considered U.S. hegemonic ambitions in both the military and economic spheres. The movement toward a European union-no matter how halting-has represented a step away from an Atlantic economic association, and precisely because the Europeans fear that such an association would be dominated by the United States and the dollar standard.
Since the 1960s the foreign-exchange costs for the U.S. forces in Europe have spiraled, thus providing more pressure to reduce the U.S. balance-of-payments deficit. As a result, we have pressured the Europeans to offset this drain by purchases of American arms, by contributions to the direct budget, and by low-interest loans to the United States. This assistance has reduced the costs so drastically that financial considerations in any drawing down of our military establishment in Europe tend to skew the real issue. The devolution of the U.S. military is a political rather than an economic question. We need not demand a substantial trade surplus from the West Europeans, though this would make a contribution in bringing about equilibrium in our balance of payments.
The question of whether or not the United States engages in a drawing down of U.S. troop levels is a matter of great import precisely because it affects both European and American perceptions of their respective roles in the Atlantic Alliance. However it is done, force reductions appear more and more likely: only the extent of their level is yet to be determined. Such withdrawals may be accomplished through negotiations with the Soviets within the framework of mutual and balanced force reductions. (After the Nixon-Brezhnev summit in June, however, the reductions may turn out to be mutual though not necessarily balanced-since the word "balanced" was conspicuously absent from the final communiqué, as it had been after Brezhnev's trip to Bonn a few weeks earlier.) Despite Administration pressure to hold the line, reductions may also be made unilaterally under growing pressure from the Congress. Such a drawing down, even at its most extreme-such as halving our forces from the approximately 300,000 now based in Europe, as proposed by Senator Mansfield-need not mean adopting a nuclear trip-wire arrangement whereby our troops are merely hostages.
Nonetheless, a military devolution could and should force Europe to reëvaluate her own defense posture. She may choose a new, looser form of a European defense community of a non-nuclear character but without the integration proposed in the early 1950s. She may combine some form of defense community with a European nuclear committee which could have Britain and France as the nucleus of the program but include representation by non-nuclear countries. Aid by the United States in order to facilitate the transfer of nuclear technology to allies which are already nuclear powers would be seen as an effort to strengthen, not to weaken, the alliance. The Gaullist question-would the United States sacrifice New York for Paris?-could be answered by the Europeans themselves without any abandonment of the further nuclear protection that America affords. It would be, in effect, a form of re-insurance.
Moreover, the American Sixth Fleet would remain, with its nuclear naval element. But the conventional defense at the center of Europe could and should be primarily a European responsibility. It is only common prudence, as Lord Gladwyn has recently written in Foreign Affairs, for the West European democracies-if they wish to ensure their freedom in the long run-to build up and streamline their defenses and to establish, within the Atlantic Alliance, some kind of unified command.
If the United States goes forward in reevaluating its relations with the European Community, particularly along the lines suggested, there are those who might claim that this would result in the Finlandization of Europe. Such seers often predict a form of neutralization or even disarmament before what they perceive as a preponderance of Russian military and political leverage. Without American hegemony over the Continent, Finlandization appears as a new specter. Russia is seen as being able to fragment the growing cohesion of the Community. Eugene Rostow, Under Secretary of State under President Johnson, already has painted a dour picture of a "Europe outflanked in the Mediterranean, and perhaps in the northern seas as well." Russia's goal remains the same as it has always been: "West European neutrality and disarmament and American withdrawal both from the Continent and from the Mediterranean."8
But there is no evidence adduced by Rostow that the Europeans-wealthy, with sizable conventional forces and a still-credible nuclear deterrent, and with few if any illusions about Soviet benevolence-should falter before the Russian menace. The dangers would more likely come only if European union were to be frustrated by disorderly behavior on the part of the United States. This means, in effect, that a devolution of U.S. forces should be carefully managed, so that any suspicion of a retreat to American neo-isolationism can be allayed. An acceptance of the reality that Europe is no longer a collection of client-states implies a new perception of what the Community is likely to become in the years ahead.
In trying to chart the outlines of the new Europe, some American political analysts see a renovated Atlanticism which would include Japan in a trilateral arrangement with the United States as the centerpiece. They do not dwell on the fearful notion of Finlandization, but rather try to press ahead in a creative endeavor to re-focus U.S. policy in the post-Vietnam era. Since the United States has a vested interest-both on the economic and security levels-in helping to maintain a stable Europe and Japan, this new internationalism tends to see ever-closer ties among the three non-Communist power centers as the most promising structure of international order.
One of the most articulate political theorists of this school, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has aptly taken the first Nixon administration to task for its shock-treatment methods of dealing with both Europe and Japan. "As a result," he points out, "Japan feels isolated and betrayed; resentment of American policies is on the rise in Canada; American relations with Europe have been by and large in a state of drift." To repair the damage, Brzezinski would propose more institutionalized political consultations among the three power centers: "It simply is not enough, and psychologically wrong, to strengthen Atlantic ties and then invite Japan to come in-an approach which the Administration seems to be favoring."9 Those who advocate a tripartite community of advanced industrial nations admit that such a movement is a long way away. To articulate the concept, however, is, in their view, a desirable goal around which U.S. foreign policy can build.
But however laudatory such ambitions may be, it is dangerous to underestimate the length of the shadow that falls between the idea and the reality. The Europe that is in the making may not be ready to think that far ahead. And the Japanese, despite recent statements to the contrary by Premier Tanaka, are unlikely to tie themselves too closely to Europe in any meaningful concerted policy. For example, Tokyo has made it clear to the oil-producing states that it would prefer to negotiate its own terms. That the Europeans and Japanese share a dependence on Middle Eastern oil-and presumably on the strategic areas of the Indian Ocean-seems true enough; but the Japanese do not appear eager to coördinate their security and economic policies with those of the Europeans, despite what some Americans see as the convergence of natural interests. And though the Japanese leaders may voice a desire for such a ménage à trois, they must also be wary of such an arrangement; so, too, must many Europeans. In both cases, the perceptions are similar: there is as yet no Europe as a unified political entity on the horizon.
While it is true, then, that the European design has not been fully realized, there is no reason for Americans to throw up their hands in despair as they view Europe's family squabbles. What is essential is to realize that the European commitment in October 1972 to political union by 1980 was made by a collection of nation-states, reluctant to surrender their sovereignty and aiming at best for a confederal rather than a Monnet-ist or fully integrated Community.
Meanwhile, America and Europe will probably go through a sea of troubles, with the need for new economic and security arrangements agreed upon by both power centers, but the shape of such a system still very far from complete. From an American viewpoint, the policy should be to encourage European unity and at the same time to avoid efforts both to organize "Atlantic solutions" and broader schemas of interlocking ties among the advanced industrial nations. Such efforts could easily backfire since, to many Europeans, they would appear as positions already assumed by Washington prior to any meaningful consultations with the Community.
The technical negotiations President Nixon appears to scorn as he is about to embark on his European tour may be the very things that are most needed in order to re-invigorate the Alliance. For this reason, what we should aim for are carefully orchestrated trade negotiations which do not require that Europe provide us with a greater trade surplus than we now entertain; a monetary system which precludes any hint of U.S. hegemony in Europe; and new security arrangements providing for a reasonable withdrawal of U.S. forces in NATO, accompanied by a U.S. policy of nuclear equality toward Britain and France. Such movements would help Europe to become more independent of America and an even more reliable ally. There would be no hint of the client-state stigma, a stigma already rendered obsolete in the monetary field.
The Europe that will emerge during the next decade, if these perceptions are correct, is likely to resemble a concert of nations, acting together against external pressures while often reacting against one another to the dismay of their more well-meaning neighbors. By understanding and fostering this notion of Europe-but without the trappings of a grand design-we are more likely to be successful in allaying that show of suspicion by Europeans toward supposed American hegemony which can only hurt those Americans, both in and out of government, who still hold to the fundamental premise that the main thrust of U.S. foreign policy should be the Atlantic Alliance.
Relations between America and Europe will become easier only when both sides realize that they are separate entities dealing with each other as equals. As the British political observer Anthony Hartley has written: "Nothing can be assumed about identity of interests in a world which has changed out of recognition over the last decade. . . . Paradoxically, the consciousness of the 'separateness' of Europe and the United States appears as the indispensable prelude to deeper mutual understanding."10
For many years, Washington has proclaimed its commitment to European unity. The Europe it may get is very likely to be an unmanageable creature, but its evolution seems inevitable. Allies, not a series of overgrown client-states, are the real underpinnings in the construct of a viable balance of power.
1 Raymond Vernon, "Rogue Elephant in the Forest: An Appraisal of Transatlantic Relations," Foreign Affairs, April 1973.
2 Vernon, ibid., p. 580.
3 François Duchêne, "The Strategic Consequences of the Enlarged European Community," Survival, January/February 1973, p. 2.
4 U.S. News and World Report, June 26, 1972.
5 The New York Times, June 6, 1973.
6 See William Diebold, Jr.'s article on the European role in future economic negotiations in Europa Archiv, August 10, 1973.
7 For a fuller treatment of U.S. postwar economic policies and their consequences, see Calleo's essay, "The Limits of Interdependence," in Retreat from Empire?, Baltimore and London: Johns Hopkins Press, 1973.
8 Eugene V. Rostow, Peace in the Balance, N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 1973, p. 326.
10 Anthony Hartley, "Transatlantic Frivolity," Encounter, April 1973, p. 58.