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Does America Need a Foreign Policy?: Toward a New Diplomacy for the 21st Century by [Kissinger, Henry]
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Does America Need a Foreign Policy?: Toward a New Diplomacy for the 21st Century Kindle Edition

2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Amazon.co.uk Reviews

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger asks a question in the title of his book Does America Need a Foreign Policy?--but there's really no doubt about the answer. That's not to say it shouldn't be asked: "The last presidential election was the third in a row in which foreign policy was not seriously discussed by the candidates," writes Kissinger. "In the face of perhaps the most profound and widespread upheavals the world has ever seen, [the United States] has failed to develop concepts relevant to the emerging realities." Kissinger tours the world in this book, describing how the United States should relate to various regions and countries. This is not a gripping book, but it is sober, accessible, brief, and comprehensive--and an excellent introduction to international relations and diplomacy.

Kissinger has opinions on just about every topic he raises, from globalisation (for it) to international courts (against them, for the most part). He supports a vigorous missile-defence system: "The United States cannot condemn its population to permanent vulnerability." He opines on peace in the Middle East: "Israel should abandon its opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state except as part of a final status agreement." His claims are often eye-opening: "There are few nations in the world with which the United States has less reason to quarrel or more compatible interests than Iran." He is especially critical of domestic politics interfering with America's international relations: "Whatever the merit of the individual legislative actions, their cumulative effect drives American foreign policy toward unilateral and seemingly bullying conduct." The media has been a special problem in this regard, as it zips around the world in search of exciting but ephemeral stories, which are "generally presented as a morality play between good and evil having a specific outcome and rarely in terms of the long-range challenges of history." Does America need a foreign policy? Of course it does, and Henry Kissinger has done readers a service by outlining what a good one might be. --John J Miller

Amazon Review

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger asks a question in the title of his book Does America Need a Foreign Policy?--but there's really no doubt about the answer. That's not to say it shouldn't be asked: "The last presidential election was the third in a row in which foreign policy was not seriously discussed by the candidates," writes Kissinger. "In the face of perhaps the most profound and widespread upheavals the world has ever seen, [the United States] has failed to develop concepts relevant to the emerging realities." Kissinger tours the world in this book, describing how the United States should relate to various regions and countries. This is not a gripping book, but it is sober, accessible, brief, and comprehensive--and an excellent introduction to international relations and diplomacy.

Kissinger has opinions on just about every topic he raises, from globalisation (for it) to international courts (against them, for the most part). He supports a vigorous missile-defence system: "The United States cannot condemn its population to permanent vulnerability." He opines on peace in the Middle East: "Israel should abandon its opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state except as part of a final status agreement." His claims are often eye-opening: "There are few nations in the world with which the United States has less reason to quarrel or more compatible interests than Iran." He is especially critical of domestic politics interfering with America's international relations: "Whatever the merit of the individual legislative actions, their cumulative effect drives American foreign policy toward unilateral and seemingly bullying conduct." The media has been a special problem in this regard, as it zips around the world in search of exciting but ephemeral stories, which are "generally presented as a morality play between good and evil having a specific outcome and rarely in terms of the long-range challenges of history." Does America need a foreign policy? Of course it does, and Henry Kissinger has done readers a service by outlining what a good one might be. --John J Miller


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2238 KB
  • Print Length: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1st Touchstone Ed edition (18 Oct. 2001)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JN9YPZK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,118,630 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Sept. 2001
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Kissinger describes a United States that is militarily and economically ascendant, uninterested in foreign policy, directed by domestic concerns . . . yet drawn into global peace-keeping and humanitarian activities. What should the U.S. be doing? Well, the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 certainly changed that perspective.
The book is a virtual country-by-country look at the historical foreign policy issues, current situation, and potential future economic and security concerns of the United States. Most people will find the historical references helpful. Many more will disagree on the prescriptions for tomorrow.
The book's overall theme is how to combine idealism and realism in a consistent way that foreign countries can rely on. The tests he suggests are:
(1) Should be universally applicable
(2) Should be sustainable by American public opinion
(3) Resonates with the international community
(4) Has some relationship to the historical context.
Reasonable people can differ on how to apply these points, so I'm not sure how helpful they will be.
Where most can agree with in the book is that the United States cannot act without listening to and responding to the concerns of other nations in its international relations. Act like the U.S. is king of the hill, and everyone else will gang up to topple the U.S. from that spot. It's also counter to U.S. principles, more importantly.
Dr. Kissinger is skeptical about tracking down those who have violated human rights and trying them. In that and many other ways, he seems more comfortable with pragmatism than with idealism. If we believe in democracy, peace, fairness, and prosperity, why shouldn't we lobby for, encourage and invest behind those aims?
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Format: Hardcover
Kissinger's writing style is attractive and makes for easy reading. He also talks about a fascinating subject area and one in which he is in a position to speak with great authority. However, his analysis is unashamedly pro-American and, while a critical and global perspective is required to truly appreciate the plurality of tasks facing the international community, he steams ahead with an approach, which for me, epitomises the arrogance and lack of understanding that has gotten American fingers burnt so many times before.
His appraisal of the European responses to issues such as American sanctions on Iraq etc, and the Missile Defence project, barely contains his opinion that we in Europe shouldn't question US policy and that we should be grateful to the US for "taking all the military risks". Does he think we in Europe are foolish enough to think that the US is gallantly taking these measures to safeguard its European allies? Surely,no-one (bar Dr. Kissinger himself) thinks that, because it simply isn't the case.
On issues such as the Missile Defence Shield, the US is running its own agenda and to its own liking. Any attempts to persuade Europeans that America is risking something to protect Europe is insulting.
On other issues, Kissinger displays other facets of his lack of understanding on complex issues. His description of the Iranian regime, for example, with his references to the current regimes' hostility to America, it's troublesome meddling in the Middle-East peace process and its support for groups such as Islamic Jihad, betray Kissinger's naivety and his narrow American perspective.
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