People predating 20th century
We see Republicans, who were bold interventionists so long as the Soviet Union existed, criticizing President Clinton’s diplomacy as opportunistic, unrealistic, inconsistent, or simply incompetent.
The Administration, in turn, accuses anyone who resists its foreign initiatives of that wickedest of heresies: isolationism.
Should we rank human rights in China above or below commercial interests–and should we define the word should in moral or practical terms? take the lead in trying to abolish nuclear weapons through treaties, sanctions, and controls, or is preserving our nuclear arsenal the best way to deter implacable adversaries who covet weapons of mass destruction?
Should we occupy the Balkans, police the Persian Gulf, and support Taiwan because of the moral and commercial stakes involved there, or are those gratuitous entanglements that spread our military too thin, manufacture enemies, and thus harm our security? Those are serious questions and I do not mean to discount them.
That is because the strength and flexibility of our foreign policy assets will determine America’s ability to employ various means in pursuit of multiple goals, adjust to unanticipated threats and challenges, and— not least — lead other nations to adjust to them, too.
Today, at the end of America’s second century in foreign affairs, it may appear that little agreement exists about the nature of the post-Cold War international system and what America’s role in it ought to be.
What is more, the outbreak of partisan ill-will, centered on the President himself, has aggravated the situation because the politicians, whether in attack or defense, have taken to invoking false historical analogies.
Alternatively, I could have chosen to look ahead and prophesy regarding the dire global trends that may shape world politics in the future.November 10, 1999 Several people, including our host Ron Naples, whose burden it was to introduce this lecture, have asked me what exactly I meant to discuss this evening inasmuch as my title was hopelessly vague. And it seemed to me that I could take any of three approaches.That, I confess, was by design, so as to leave me free to say pretty much whatever was on my mind, come November 10, about U. I might, for instance, choose to look backward, reviewing the evolution of American diplomacy and suggesting what lessons to draw from it.And that is why I rejected all three of the above approaches, and decided instead to speak of mundane things: not mundane in the sense of boring or trivial, but in its true sense of worldly, hear-and-now, real.Henry Kissinger’s precept holds that the most any statesman can aim for is to build the foundation for a generation of peace, anticipating the most likely challenges that world affairs may present over the next 20 or 25 years, and what America can do to meet them.