GPS: Kissinger’s take on Trump, Russia, Globalization

Henry Kissinger–former Secretary of State under Nixon and Ford–met with Trump on Thursday, as he has done with every President-elect. Kissinger has also met with Putin more than 25 times, Fareed Zakaria points out in an insightful interview. “I’m not here as a spokesman of the President-elect.  I am here to answer questions of my impression,” Kissinger said after the interview kickoff.

Kissinger on Trump and Foreign Policy:

-Trump has ‘no Baggage’:  “This President-elect is the most unique that i’ve experienced in one respect. He has absolutely no baggage. he has no obligation to any group bc he has become president on the basis of his own strategy. and a program he put before the american public that his competitors did not present.”

-Give Trump a chance to back away from campaign rhetoric on trade and globalization:  Kissinger explains that there is an impact of globalization. Some people won and some lost. Those who lost are expressing themselves. “One should not insist on nailing [Trump] into positions that he had taken in the campaign,” he advised. He warns of protectionism rocking  the global community.

-Advised Trump not to make policies changes right away. “We’ve got too many decades of tearing incumbent administrations apart,” Kissinger said. He also points out the longevity of relationships amongst foreign partners versus the one-off transactions that occur in business negotiations as a shift-in-approach recommendation.

“Now the art now would be to develop a strategy that is sustainable, that meets the concerns  that have appeared during the campaign but that can be linked to some of the main themes of American foreign policy.”

-Echoing President Obama during Sunday’s press conference in Lima, Peru in conclusion of the APEC Summit, Kissinger added:  “…[F]or the entire post WWII period the freedom and peace of the world have been maintained by America primarily. And so this ultimate mission has to be preserved, though in a different manner and in a different context, and in perhaps a less assertive manner than has been the case in previous periods.”

Great interview and worth watching in its entirety. The next question, with the President-elect being so green on foreign policy, who will have his ear?