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Opinion
Niall Ferguson

Dust Off That Dirty Word Detente and Engage With China

Joe Biden's grand strategy is setting the US and Beijing on a collision course. It's bad foreign policy and terrible domestic politics. 

Kissinger can teach him something.

Kissinger can teach him something.

Photographer: Kai Moerk/AFP via Getty Images

Is detente still a dirty word? I hope not. We may soon need it.

Back in the 1970s, that little French duosyllable was almost synonymous with “Kissinger.” Despite turning 99 last month, the former secretary of state has not lost his ability to infuriate people on both the right and the left — witness the reaction to his suggestion at the World Economic Forum that “the dividing line [between Russia and Ukraine] should return to the status quo ante” because “pursuing the war beyond that point could turn it into a war not about the freedom of Ukraine … but into a war against Russia itself.”