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Dr. MJ Chung donates fund to honor Dr. Kissinger

Dr. MJ Chung, Honorary Chairman of Asan Institute for Policy Studies, has made a donation to honor the work of Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, a renowned scholar in international relations. The total fund of one million US dollars is provided: half of which is given to the Center for Strategy and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. and the other half to the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

As an influential realist scholar in international relations, Dr. Kissinger served as National Security Adviser to President Nixon and as Secretary of State during the Ford administration.

Dr. Kissinger offered the insight that even though many foreign policy decisions are choices between evils, leaders should be wary of the perils of a morally vacuous realism.

Dr. Kissinger’s most important achievement was the stable management of the Cold War and accelerating its end through the improvement of US-China relations. Dr. Kissinger was the chief architect of Détente that started in the late 1960s. He helped it continue into the 1970s, and strived to avoid the worst possible outcome due to misjudgment despite the nuclear arms race between the United States and Soviet Union.

In the first half of the twentieth century, we experienced two devastating World Wars, but from 1945 to the present, we have enjoyed an unprecedentedly long peace in world history.  Since 1945 to the present, even though the world witnessed the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the ‘War on Terror’ in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the 1961 Cuban Missile Crisis, under Détente the United States and Soviet Union were able to achieve arms control agreements such as Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). As confirmed in the Reagan-Gorbachev joint summit statement in 1985 that stated “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought,” the world as a whole has been in a stable period in which co-existence over extreme confrontations is sought. This is in large part due to the US contribution towards the establishment of liberal international order, and it can be said that Dr. Kissinger’s role in the process has been substantial.

Dr. Kissinger, who was a graduate student at Harvard University, visited Korea in 1950 during the Korean War, and analyzed the process of its outbreak. He submitted a memo titled “U.S. Strategy” to William Elliot, political adviser to the President, and Paul Nitze, Director of Policy Planning for the State Department. His report served as the basis for future countermeasures to communist provocations.

Dr. Kissinger diagnosed that the clash of opinions among countries was escalating into confrontations because nearly every country considered itself to be “rising.” This offers a great insight into today’s U.S.-China strategic competition.

In 2010, when Dr. Kissinger visited South Korea at the invitation of the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, Dr. Chung met with Dr. Kissinger to discuss various issues extensively. The contents of this discussion are in Dr. Chung’s book, titled Communications with World Leaders. In his meeting with Dr. Chung, Dr. Kissinger stated that, “The relationship between Korea and the United States has a long history, and the American people are well aware that more than 50,000 U.S. soldiers died in Korea during the Korean War. The United States has also stationed American troops in Korea for a long time. No country can defend every corner of the world at the same time. However, South Korea can trust the U.S. security commitment.” In July 2015, Dr. Kissinger invited Dr. Chung to his New York home for a dinner, which was attended by the Chairman of News Corporation Rupert Murdoch, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and former Wall Street Journal editor Karen House.

Born in 1923, Dr. Kissinger is now 98 years old, already a centenarian by Korean tradition. We expect his passion as a scholar to continue unabated. Recently, Dr. Kissinger has become concerned about the future of AI, which can make bigger mistakes than humans due to the fact that it is driven by outcomes and depends less on history or philosophy. He warned that if we do not plan ahead to manage AI, the history of human civilization could be at risk.

Even if different evaluations can be drawn on Dr. Kissinger’s efforts for international order and peace, the future generations should emulate and follow Dr. Kissinger’s passion and insight for maintaining world order.

*Attachment:Dr. Kissinger’s Contribution and Achievement for International Order and Peace