For example, there is heavy reliance on politics in Europe during the end of the 19th century. At that time the concept of countries just about started to exist. Countries then went on into power conflicts and power balances and still do so today. Countries are based on a certain sense of culture, and each culture is quite different and therefore also leads to quite different systems.
The urge of US representatives to introduce “democracy” such as Regan was emphasising is just amazing. In the West, we do accept democracy as some kind of ultimate state of political development and are so convinced of its success that we want it to be introduced everywhere else. At lowest level, this is just ignorant. Democracy is not a general answer to all kinds of cultural, economic and political issues. It is foolish to accept it as the definitive solution.
Anyway, the part of the book where HK elaborates in quite some detail on encounters with high officials of China such as Mao, Xiaoping or Zemin are extraordinary and absolutely worth the money. On top of that, the sources he draws on are extensive and I enjoyed following him up on them.
Some funny bits: Mao had Krushev put on swimming wings once during a meeting at a pool. It was also their last meeting. The task of building international relations looked like poker back then and in retrospect more like a kindergarten. Finally, Chinas domestic politics are essentially intransparent for most of us.
Overall, China, indeed, is emerging with quite a big momentum out of the 20th century and will definitely influence our lives significantly more in the 21st century than it already does today. Strong economy, kind of stable government, varied strong emotions. But it has significant inequality problems, and increased military activity. Not sure how to judge that.