Washington Diplomacy: Profiles of People of World Influence

By John Shaw | Go to book overview

Former Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger

He has been lauded as a peacemaker and praised as a global statesman. He has also been castigated as a war criminal and derided as a cynical manipulator.

But loved or hated, admired or scorned, Henry Kissinger has been a singular force in American diplomacy for the last half century.

As both a thinker and a practitioner, Kissinger, 78, has been intimately involved in many of the crucial American foreign policy decisions of the post-World War II era.

With a personal history in diplomacy that includes intimate contact with virtually all of the major world leaders of the last 50 years, Kissinger has insights on international affairs that were formulated in academia but refined by hard experiences in real-world politics.

In an interview, Kissinger said that the United States needs to craft a new foreign policy that clearly distinguishes among what the country must do, what it would like to do, and what policies are beyond its capacity to advance.

Kissinger said the United States must chart a “global strategy that stretches into the indefinite future” that is based on the complex realities of the current global scene.

“A president or secretary of state can not apply a universal recipe. They have to deal with each region on its own and link these to a broader framework,” he said.

Kissinger said one of America’s preeminent challenges is to understand the four international systems that now exist side-by-side: First, the United States, Western Europe and Latin America are in the vanguard of the 21st-century economic and political system. Then there is Asia, in which China, India, Japan, Russia, Korea and other nations are seeking influence in ways that are reminiscent of 19th-century balance of power struggles. Third, there is the Middle East, a region whose religious and ideological conflicts are analogous to the sectarian forces that ravaged 17th-

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