Former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisory Henry Kissinger said John Huntsman would make a “good candidate” for president, but declined to endorse him.
He said he doesn’t plan to get behind any candidate, but would make himself available to any contestant who is seeking foreign policy advice.
“When I endorse a candidate, he loses,” Kissinger joked. He recalled endorsing Nelson Rockefeller three times in primaries against Richard Nixon, and losing.
Nonetheless, Kissinger described former Utah Gov. Huntsman as “poised” and “very intelligent,” and said he made a “very good ambassador” to China. The two men participated in forum on China held yesterday.
When Huntsman was 11-years old, he visited the White House with his father and carried Kissinger’s briefcase, Kissinger said, although he himself couldn’t recall the event.
Kissinger made his remarks during a meeting with bloggers to discuss his new book, On China.
The former Nixon advisor, who played a key role in opening U.S. relations with China, explained that the countries have entirely different ways of looking at the world and thinking strategically. The U.S., he said, tends to try to focus on solving problems as they arise, while China takes a broader approach.
I asked Kissinger whether he thought that economic development in China would lead to more political liberalization as it had in other countries, and he described a mixed bag.
As economic development takes place in any society, he explained, people move from the country to the city and lose their roots, which creates a need for new political organization.
In the West, this has led to more democratization, but he said it’s a bit more complicated in China.
As China becomes more economically developed, he said, new groups will begin to participate in the government, which will lead to more transparency and a more open society.
Yet at the same time, he predicted it likely won’t lead to actual democracy or true freedom of the press, but some sort of a blend between communism and Western society.