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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Kissinger continues to influence U.S. policy despite extensive ties to Beijing

Former Sec. of State Henry Kissinger is continuing to influence U.S. foreign policy, despite conflicts of interests involving his international business relations with China’s government.   

Former U.S. Sec. of State Henry Kissinger and Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo after the first meeting of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington, on July 28. Reuters/Yuri Gripas

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a speech on July 28 to the U.S.-China Business Council that Kissinger has been a close adviser and praised the former secretary of state for his contributions.

“And on a personal note, let me say that since taking this job, I've relied on the wise counsel of many of my predecessors, and Secretary Kissinger has been among the most generous and thoughtful with his guidance and advice,” Clinton said.

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Kissinger, who is founder of the international consulting firm Kissinger Associates Inc., has used his prior experience in opening U.S.-China relations to make millions of dollars by connecting American businesses with Chinese state-run companies, often without regard for national security implications, according to several published accounts including the book "The Failure Factory" by national security correspondent Bill Gertz.

Clinton described U.S. policy toward China as a non-leadership role that seeks to enlist the support of the U.S. private sector and China’s state-run and state-controlled businesses.

“Just as no nation today can solve the challenges we face alone, neither can government work in isolation,” she said. “The issues are just are too varied and complex for that. So, engaging the expertise, the experience and the energy of those outside government — including the private sector, and all of you here tonight — is vital to our future progress,” she said.

Clinton said she wanted “entrepreneurs and the innovators in both of our countries to know that we're behind their dreams and their efforts.”

Critics said she fails to understand that China’s so-called private sector is closely linked to the communist-ruled military forces, which continues to view the United States through a Cold War lens as its main enemy.

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