For the first time in a full length book Henry Kissinger writes about the country he has known intimately for decades, and whose modern relations with the West he helped shape. Drawing on historical records as well as his conversations with Chinese leaders over the past forty years, Kissinger examines how China has approached diplomacy, strategy, and negotiation throughout its history, and reflects on the consequences for the 21st-century world.
The unique conditions under which China developed continue to shape its policies and attitudes toward the outside world. For millennia China rarely encountered other societies of comparable size and sophistication. It was the "Middle Kingdom," treating people on its periphery as vassal states. At the same time, Chinese statesmen - facing threats of invasion from without, and the contests of competing factions within - developed a canon of strategic thought that emphasized longterm structural advantage rather than absolute victory, and that prized the virtues of subtlety, patience, and indirection over feats of martial prowess. With the enduring institutions of Chinese statecraft and civilization clearly in mind Kissinger examines key episodes in China's history from the earliest days through the 20th century. The book provides a sweeping historical perspective on Chinese foreign policy.