Some good reading

We quoted Kissinger a little while ago:

As I listened to the speaker celebrate this technical progress, my experience as a historian and occasional practicing statesman gave me pause. What would be the impact on history of self-learning machines — machines that acquired knowledge by processes particular to themselves, and applied that knowledge to ends for which there may be no category of human understanding? Would these machines learn to communicate with one another? How would choices be made among emerging options? Was it possible that human history might go the way of the Incas, faced with a Spanish culture incomprehensible and even awe-inspiring to them?

Now he’s in a long piece at FT:

Kissinger embarks on a disquisition about Russia’s “almost mystical” tolerance for suffering. His key point is that the west wrongly assumed in the years before Putin annexed Crimea that Russia would adopt the west’s rules-based order. Nato misread Russia’s deep-seated craving for respect. “The mistake Nato has made is to think that there is a sort of historic evolution that will march across Eurasia and not to understand that somewhere on that march it will encounter something very different to a Westphalian entity. And for Russia this is a challenge to its identity.” Do you mean that we provoked Putin, I ask. “I do not think Putin is a character like Hitler,” Kissinger replies. “He comes out of Dostoyevsky.”

“I don’t want to talk too much about Trump because at some point I should do it in a more coherent way than this,” Kissinger replies. But you are being coherent, I protest. Please don’t stop. There is another pregnant silence. “I think Trump may be one of those figures in history who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretenses. It doesn’t necessarily mean that he knows this, or that he is considering any great alternative. It could just be an accident.”

Pretty sharp for a guy who is 95.

Tiny fun: why did Moses split the Red Sea?

2 Responses to “Some good reading”

  1. Bosun Says:

    THANKS for the post! Once again, I’m in your debt.

  2. feeblemind Says:

    It’s a great observation about Trump.

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