Henry KissingerHenry Kissinger, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and a former U.S. Secretary of State, believes that the West should espouse a constructive approach to relations with Russia in the context of the situation in Ukraine and the problems of world order.
He said it in an interview published on Saturday by The Independent, a British daily.
The newspaper says Kissinger’s views “are informed by a breadth and depth of historical knowledge that rivals that of most major players in today's foreign-policy arena.”
In this context, it singles out Kissinger’s approach to Russia, saying: “From the 17th century to the mid-20th century, Russia proved crucial in maintaining the balance of world power - thwarting the expansionist dreams of Charles XII of Sweden, Napoleon, and Hitler.”
“This is key to Kissinger's verdict on how we should respond” to Russia’s actions in Ukraine, The Independent says.
Kissinger voices his disagreement with the political line taken by the incumbent Russian leaders as regards Ukraine, "but why didn't somebody, somewhere along the road, propose a solution that would have addressed both sides' concerns within the context of an independent Ukraine?”
He insists that the West could display more flexibility for the sake of achieving peace settlement. Also, he warns against the demonization of Russia.
When Europe said Ukraine has to choose between Europe and Russia in a commercial negotiation, [maybe] saying the opposite, saying let's do it together, might have made great progress, Kissinger said.
"It's easy to demonise Putin," he continued. "Of course he's not easy, but one has seen that type of Russian leader before - and he's not a Hitler.”
“One shouldn't discuss it in terms of one Russian leader, Kissinger said. “The question is how does one visualise the long-term relationship of Russia to the West at a moment when Asia is transforming itself and Islam is in permanent upheaval?"
Kissinger spoke to The Independent in the context of publication of his new book, World Order.
His new work raises a broad spectrum of issues from the rise of the Westphalian system of international relations after the ends of the Thirty Years War in 1648 to the pressing geopolitical problems of nowadays. A section of the book is devoted to the ‘Russian enigma’.