Edward Luce’s toxic political romance with Henry Kissinger.

Political Reporter comments.

What regular readers of Mr. Luce can forget his interview with ‘The Great Man’?

Headline: Henry Kissinger: ‘We are in a very, very grave period’

Sub-headline: The grand consigliere of American diplomacy talks about Putin, the new world order — and the meaning of Trump


The New Cold War has been a fact for almost ten years, or even longer in its nascent stages: enthusiastically advocated by this newspaper and its hirelings!

In the political present ‘The Great Man’ now becomes the voice of reason instead of ‘the grand consigliere’.

Just select a paragraph, of Mr. Luce’s essay, for the current cast of heroes and villains:

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, said that whoever led in artificial intelligence would dominate the world. Kissinger, who, with Eric Schmidt, former chief executive of Google, is co-author of a new book, The Age of AI, says we have not yet begun to grasp the impact it is having on future warfare and geopolitical stability. The FT recently reported that China had tested a hypersonic missile, which could enable it to evade US missile defence systems. The Pentagon this week estimated that China planned to quadruple its nuclear arsenal by 2030. Nicolas Chaillan, the former head of AI at the Pentagon, told the FT he had resigned because he could not stand to watch China overtaking the US. “It is already over,” he said.

Note this Luce sentence – a retrospective apologetic for The Great Man’s’ murderous past.

Yet Kissinger’s analysis should be separated from moral evaluations of his cold war record.

The reader needs to steel herself for the final pronouncement, from Mr. Luce, on ‘The Great Man’:

At 98, he is among the few living figures to have played a leading role grappling with the last century’s existential threats. Each side eventually acquired an intimate knowledge about their nuclear capacities and doctrines that may be impossible to match on AI, he argues. There are no spy planes that could take pictures of China’s AI. There is no clear way of deterring attacks, or of knowing where they come from.

“With nuclear weapons it was possible to conceive of principles of deterrence in which there was some symmetry between the damage on each side,” he said. “If an unrestrained [US-China] arms race goes from nuclear to AI, the dangers of dramatic escalation would be very great.”

Political Reporter

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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