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A nation must think before it acts.
When Henry Kissinger traveled to China in 1971, he did more than end nearly a quarter-century of estrangement between Washington and Beijing. He also managed the diplomatic coup of splitting America’s foremost enemies — China and the Soviet Union — and thereby vaulting the U.S. from a position of strategic overstretch to one of strategic advantage.
Now that America is facing renewed hostility with Moscow and Beijing, the Donald Trump administration has reportedly been thinking about trying to repeat the performance, this time by conciliating Russia in hopes of turning it against an increasingly formidable China. It’s a neat idea for a superpower under strain, but it probably won’t work until things get both much better and much worse.