America and China must learn how to live together, and stop convincing themselves that the other is a strategic threat to them, or the world will face a clash between the two superpowers (less than 10 years away).

Former US Secretary of State and well-known strategist Henry Kissinger warned in an interview with The Economist, in which he offered ideas for what he called "avoiding a third world war."

Kissinger said that the Chinese have concluded that America will spare no effort to keep their country behind it, while the Americans insist that China plans to replace the United States as the world's leading power, which made Kissinger worried that this intense competition between the two countries to win the bet of technological and economic superiority will have serious consequences "and a plan is needed to prevent this from developing into a war that does not keep and does not shed."

Kissinger will turn 27 on May 100, and no one alive has more experience in international affairs than he does, first as a researcher in 19th-century diplomacy, later as U.S. national security adviser and secretary of state, and over the past 46 years as adviser and envoy to kings, presidents and heads of government around the world.

Kissinger warns at the outset that the balance of power and the technological basis of war are changing so quickly and in so many ways that countries lack any firm principle on which to maintain order, and if they fail to do so, the alternative may be to resort to force. "We are in a situation similar to what was before World War I, where neither side has a large margin of political concession, and where any imbalance can lead to serious consequences."

Although many see Kissinger as a promoter of war, he now says he has now concluded that the only way to prevent a devastating conflict is through "violent diplomacy, ideally backed by shared values."

Kissinger argues that the starting point to avoid war is to analyze growing anxiety about China, as many of its thinkers believe America is on a slope. Thus, according to historical development, they "will replace us". But he believes that the Chinese leadership resents Western policymakers' talk of a global rules-based order, when what they really mean is America's rules and order.

On the other hand, Kissinger also warns against misinterpreting China's ambitions, as there are those in Washington who are convinced that Beijing wants to dominate the world, but he believes that the fact that the Chinese want to be strong but do not yearn for world domination in the "Hitler" sense, is not in line with their thinking.

But the fear of war creates a ground for hope – according to this expert – who warns in the same context that the problem is that neither side has much space to make concessions, especially on the issue of Taiwan, as all the leaders who successively ruled China from the past decades confirmed their country's commitment to the annexation of Taiwan, and America's abandonment of this island would mean undermining its position in other locations.

Kissinger's way out of this impasse depends on his experience in the position: The beginning will be to lower the temperature of tension, and then build the trust that leads to both sides exercising restraint by creating a small group of advisers from both sides who can communicate with each other seamlessly but remain unspoken.

Kissinger's second piece of advice is to "set convincing goals for people, and look for clear means to achieve those goals, with Taiwan being the first of several where Beijing and Washington can find common ground that will promote global stability," warning that an all-or-nothing policy is a threat in itself to anything that would reduce tensions. Instead of escalation, America should recognize that China has interests, a good example of which is Ukraine, he said.

Kissinger with US President Joe Biden (Reuters)

Kissinger's third tip for aspiring leaders is to "link all of these goals to your local goals, whatever they may be." For America, that includes learning how to be more pragmatic and focusing on leadership qualities. Most of all, the renewal of the country's political culture.

Kissinger's model of pragmatic thinking is India. A former senior Indian official made clear that foreign policy should be based on non-permanent, issue-oriented alliances, rather than tying a country into large multilateral structures.

Kissinger believes that "it is possible that we can create a world order based on rules that Europe, China and India can join," which he believes could avoid a catastrophe.

The veteran American politician concludes that world leaders bear a heavy responsibility, and they need realism to confront the dangers that lie in the face of imminent dangers, and a vision that enables them to realize that the solution lies in balancing their country's forces and restraint to refrain from using their offensive power to the maximum, which is an unprecedented challenge and a "great opportunity."