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Does America Need a Foreign Policy?: Towards a New Diplomacy for the 21st Century Paperback – 4 Nov 2002

2.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; New edition edition (4 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743230876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743230872
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,398,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Stan Crock "BusinessWeek" Erudite...He seems to take the globe in his hands, turn it slowly, and explain everything he sees on each continent.

Walter Russell Mead

"The Washington Post Book World"

An intellectual event: a tour of the foreign-policy horizon that is also a tour de force.

Richard Bernstein

"The New York Times"

President George W. Bush and his advisors would do well to read this book.



Stan Crock

"BusinessWeek"

Erudite...He seems to take the globe in his hands, turn it slowly, and explain everything he sees on each continent.



Joshua Muravchik

"The Washington Times"

A quarter century after leaving office, Henry Kissinger remains our most luminous foreign policy thinker..."[Does America Need a Foreign Policy?" is] tough and compelling.



Michael Elliott

"Time"

Kissinger is once again helping to shape American thinking on foreign relations. This is the sixth decade in which that statement can be said to be true. Kissinger's new book is terrific...full of good sense and studded with occasional insights that will have readers nodding their heads in silent agreement.



Richard Bernstein"The New York Times"President George W. Bush and his advisors would do well to read this book.

Stan Crock"BusinessWeek"Erudite...He seems to take the globe in his hands, turn it slowly, and explain everything he sees on each continent.

Joshua Muravchik"The Washington Times"A quarter century after leaving office, Henry Kissinger remains our most luminous foreign policy thinker..."[Does America Need a Foreign Policy?" is] tough and compelling.

Michael Elliott"Time"Kissinger is once again helping to shape American thinking on foreign relations. This is the sixth decade in which that statement can be said to be true. Kissinger's new book is terrific...full of good sense and studded with occasional insights that will have readers nodding their heads in silent agreement.

Walter Russell Mead "The Washington Post Book World" An intellectual event: a tour of the foreign-policy horizon that is also a tour de force.

Richard Bernstein "The New York Times" President George W. Bush and his advisors would do well to read this book.

Michael Elliott "Time" Kissinger is once again helping to shape American thinking on foreign relations. This is the sixth decade in which that statement can be said to be true. Kissinger's new book is terrific...full of good sense and studded with occasional insights that will have readers nodding their heads in silent agreement.

Joshua Muravchik "The Washington Times" A quarter century after leaving office, Henry Kissinger remains our most luminous foreign policy thinker..."[Does America Need a Foreign Policy?" is] tough and compelling. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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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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