Kissinger on Kissinger is a thoughtful and insightful account of some of the most successful American diplomatic achievements of the 20th century, carried out by its most accomplished practitioner of diplomacy. The book provides an important look into Kissinger’s legacy, although it is only one part of the polytropos that is Henry Kissinger.
The U.S. should take heed to understand how qualities of temperance, diplomatic tact, and moderation can yield far more productive relationships in Latin America, but if national U.S. consensus chooses to eschew the aforementioned qualities for more belligerent ones, such as a backing a coup, then the U.S. should understand how Latin American historic memory magnifies the consequences and execute a decisive strategy around this understanding.
NATO has enabled and supported U.S. foreign policy since the early days of the Cold War and continues to do so today. Given the 2018 National Defense Strategy’s emphasis on the return of great power competition, NATO’s importance to the United States will grow as competition intensifies. The United States should consider reinforcing NATO and reassuring its NATO allies of continued American commitment.
It is time that the United States and its allies plan for the long haul of supporting the Government of Afghanistan instead of remaining fixated on the immediate crisis at hand. For far too long the international community has tried and repeatedly failed to create a durable peace on a Western timeline. By dividing the insurgency into smaller manageable groups, pressuring amenable Afghan leaders, and aligning the win sets across all levels, the United States may eventually help the Government of Afghanistan bargain a tenable peace and achieve an honorable exit from its longest war.
U.S. policymakers should recalibrate their standards for successful engagement in world affairs: lest they succumb to a defensive, even fatalistic, mindset, they must develop a greater tolerance for setbacks; focus more on managing problems than on solving them; pursue incremental gains rather than sweeping victories; appreciate more fully the limits to U.S. power, especially military; and accept that world order is neither a fixed state nor an attainable end, but a fluid condition and an ongoing process. To do so, however, they will have to give themselves the opportunity to pause and think
After 70 years of domination by the Wilsonian and Hamiltonian schools of thought, the Jacksonian and Jeffersonian traditions are emerging once more. President Trump’s non-conformist policy suggestions have raised concerns regarding the stability of the liberal international order. The rupturing of the internationalist order is not merely rooted in domestic realities however; it is also a consequence of the shifting tectonic plates of geopolitics. This article maintains that the liberal international order, and the grand strategy accompanying it, will have to evolve in response to both the changing dynamics of the American polity and the geopolitical fault lines overseas. This transitional period, in the words of Robert Osgood, is one of “limited readjustment…without disengagement after which America could establish a more enduring rationale of global influence.”
The dramatic title of a 2015 magazine article in The Atlantic by Dominic Tierney, “Why has America Stopped Winning Wars?,” underscored a portrayal of the final military deaths in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq as both remarkable and poignant. A better question and the focus here is: Why do U.S. military outcomes after 1945 so often fail to achieve the policy objectives for which they are begun?
Our main argument is that a smart, practical foreign policy on North Korea must include cooperation with China, a controlled Russia, strong assurances to South Korea, the equities of Japan, robust domestic support in the United States and no direct military confrontation to achieve the political objective of a denuclearized Korean peninsula.
Overall, American Power is a policy framework that is easy to read and yet full of substance. It bridges the gap between intellectual and practical policy. And while there is nothing necessarily revolutionary about the framework, it hammers home the United States’ role in the world as a promoter of democracy and the liberal order. I am in agreement with Miller that democracy promotion and the liberal order will always be in the United States’ interests.
This book had a lot of promise. If O’Brien had taken a more serious look at Obama’s engagement with the world—explaining why he thought it was wrong instead of presupposing it was—it could have been great. Still, this book can serve as an interesting read for people on the Hill, historians, and foreign policy partisans. Its great contribution is the exposition of political differences in foreign policy, but it will not help solve many of the world’s problems.
As Congress marches toward major defense reforms in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, one area receiving increasing attention is the National Security Council (NSC). The narrative surrounding President Obama’s NSC has been shaped by biting criticisms of micromanagement in the operations of the Departments of Defense and State and indecision on major national security issues. As some have noted, the NSC has long been the preferred punching bag for foreign policy spectators over the last half century. However, the chorus of criticism has seemed to peak more recently, manifesting in proposed legislation.
...the contemporary strategic environment is undergoing a profound transition in its polarity. Obama has been placed under serious pressure to form a grand strategy that allows the U.S. to manipulate events with at will. However, a look to Kennan’s writings reveals a sense of déjà vu when reflecting on Obama’s policies.
There is a popular expression that says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. There are, of course, many different types of insanity. As one watches U.S. politicians and policymakers debate and form policy with respect to events taking place in the Iraq and Syria, one can’t help but contemplate that insanity in foreign policy is defined as adopting the same deluded and counterproductive policies around the world, decade after decade, expecting different results.