Henry Kissinger Blogging
I missed President Bush’s farewell address last evening, as I was otherwise detained at the British ambassador’s residence listening to Dr. Henry Kissinger deliver the Atlantic Council’s annual Makins lecture. It was, I suspect, a good trade.
I’ve been blogging up a storm about the speech this morning at New Atlanticist.
In “Kissinger: Iran Diplomacy More Than Just Talk,” I bring the sad news that, while sitting down and chatting with our adversaries is a good idea, it’s a bit more difficult than it sounds.
In response to a question from Boston Globe foreign policy reporter Farah Stockman, who asked him for creative solutions to our nuclear standoff with Iran along the lines of the Nixon administration’s opening to China, Kissinger quipped that they didn’t simply hop on an airplane one day and begin talks. Instead, it was “a three year project” that was “developed slowly and carefully.” The real breakthrough “did not come at the negotiating table” as a result of his considerable charm and diplomatic brilliance but rather in seeing the strategic opportunity three years earlier presented by the massing of 42 Soviet divisions on the Manchurian border.
In “Kissinger’s Formula: Goal + Capability + Staying Power,” I observe,
If brevity is the soul of wit, perhaps simplicity is the soul of strategy. A theme that Kissinger returned to over and again during his talk is simultaneously obvious and overlooked. For every policy issue, the great statesman told us, we must consider three aspects: Our goal, our capabilities toward acheiving that goal, and our staying power.
This is, of course, International Relations 101. Yet, if we look at how foreign policy is actually practiced, we will generally see that at least one of these facets is ignored.
Finally (for now, at least), in “Henry Kissinger: Optimist!” we get a surprisingly rosy view of the future to compensate for decidedly dark view of the present,
If we play our cards right, we are about to “enter an extraordinarily creative period.”
For the first time in living memory, we have an international great power consensus on the major goals, albeit with differences in how to go about achieving them. With respect to the global financial crisis, “no major country believes they benefit from the crisis or deliberately undermining the international system.” Further, the crisis is in at least one way a blessing: with resources shrinking, “no country believes it can solve its own problems” without international cooperation. This will force states to align their priorities with others, ultimately leading to necessary restructuring of the global system.
More to follow later in the day.
AP Photo by Charles Dharapak.