One trick that great powers competing with other large opponents can resort to is to peel off their rival’s key allies; the gambit tends to isolate the competitor and offers a whole host of other strategic opportunities.
That is what Dr Henry Kissinger did almost precisely half a century ago when he secretly travelled to Beijing at the start of a process which brought China and the United States together at the expense of the Soviet Union. It was an audacious, historic gambit which turned China into an additional American power lever, hastened the demise of the Soviet Union and, ultimately, also changed the world.
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