Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order

“A world order of states affirming individual dignity and participatory governance, and cooperating internationally in accordance with agreed-upon rules, can be our hope and should be our inspiration. But progress toward it will need to be sustained through a series of intermediary stages.

To play a responsible role in the evolution of a 21st-century world order, the U.S. must be prepared to answer a number of questions for itself: What do we seek to prevent, no matter how it happens, and if necessary alone? What do we seek to achieve, even if not supported by any multilateral effort? What do we seek to achieve, or prevent, only if supported by an alliance? What should we not engage in, even if urged on by a multilateral group or an alliance? What is the nature of the values that we seek to advance? And how much does the application of these values depend on circumstance?

For the U.S., this will require thinking on two seemingly contradictory levels. The celebration of universal principles needs to be paired with recognition of the reality of other regions’ histories, cultures and views of their security. Even as the lessons of challenging decades are examined, the affirmation of America’s exceptional nature must be sustained. History offers no respite to countries that set aside their sense of identity in favor of a seemingly less arduous course. But nor does it assure success for the most elevated convictions in the absence of a comprehensive geopolitical strategy.

. Adapted from his book “World Order,” to be published Sept. 9 2014  by the Penguin Press.—Dr. Kissinger served as national security adviser and secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford.

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One thought on “Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order

  1. Man I love the fluffy BS in HK’s words. Especially “states affirming individual dignity and participatory governance”. Such vague and banally implied benevolence. How long has Mr. Kissenger aka “The Once and Future 9/11 Executive Director”, been working toward a NWO?

    Speaking of Executive Director’s and people working for decades in high places , our dear Dr. Zelikow and the aptly named Robert Blackwill authored in 1992 as members of the faculty of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government issued a paper entitled “Building the New World Order”.

    For those interested

    Building the New World Order

    Article #: 20273
    Section: CURRENT ISSUES – ELECTION ’92 File Size: 3,308 words
    Issue Date: 7 / 1992
    Author: Robert D. Blackwill And Philip Zelikow

    Robert D. Blackwill and Philip Zelikow are members of the faculty of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

    When Americans, in an election year, ask themselves whether they are better off today, one factor they consider is the place of their country in the world. Is America safer in 1992 than in 1988–or especially than it was in 1980, when Jimmy Carter was the Democratic president? Have our nation’s ideals and interests faded or flourished since that painful time 12 years ago?

    America’s international position has not only improved in the last four years. It has been transformed. Since the United States accepted its global responsibilities in the Second World War, more than a half-century ago, our country has never enjoyed such security from foreign enemies. We defeated dictatorships in Germany and Japan in the 1940s but then faced another totalitarian empire, led brutally from Moscow. The Soviet Union massed vast armies in the heart of a Europe that it divided with barbed wire and concrete barriers. The Soviets perfected and deployed nuclear weapons to reach across the oceans and lay waste to America. For generations, we lived under the pervasive shadow of this nuclear nightmare.

    That nightmare for the American people is over. In the last four years, with President Bush leading the free world, the Soviet empire and the USSR itself have collapsed, as Ronald Reagan predicted, into the dustbin of history. Communism has been completely discredited. The Soviet military threat to Western Europe has disappeared. Germany has been peacefully united. Eastern Europe has been liberated. Nuclear arsenals are being reduced as fast as technology will allow, with thousands of nuclear weapons leaving the two nations’ inventories. American ideals of freedom and free enterprise are the dominant moral and intellectual forces on the globe. There is a word that precisely describes conditions such as these. That word is victory.

    As with any geopolitical triumph, important tasks remain undone. The challenge of erecting and maintaining a structure of peace never ends. Yet from the perspective of history, there has never been another time when the United States has achieved so many of the enduring objectives of its foreign policy in such a short period.

    Like Harry Truman before him, President Bush inherited favorable conditions for the exertion of American influence, including from his immediate predecessor. As in the 1940s, however, success required a vision for the new world to come, careful judgments on tactics and strategy, and a sure grasp of the U.S. diplomatic and security tools to be used in constructing a new world order.

    Indeed, on the issue of vision, it is remarkable to compare the objectives President Bush laid out for his foreign policy as a candidate in 1988 with the achievements of his administration. Speaking to the Mid-America Committee in Chicago in August 1988, Bush looked forward to the promise of democratic revolutions throughout the international system, change in the communist world, and an end to regional conflicts in our hemisphere, in southern Africa, in Southeast Asia, and in the Middle East.

    So the president entered office determined to seek, not peaceful coexistence with communism, but a final end to the Cold War. He was the first Western leader to announce, in May 1989, a plan of action to produce “a Europe whole and free” and the first to declare that the free world’s strategy toward the Soviet Union could move “beyond containment.” The United States led the way in offering economic assistance to Polish democracy in April 1989, and the president traveled that summer to Warsaw and Budapest to speed democratic change and use economic assistance as a means for Western governments to break through the Iron Curtain.

    Bush was also the first world statesman to champion (in April, May, September, and October 1989) Germany’s right again to become one nation–all before the Berlin Wall came down. He then orchestrated the extraordinary diplomacy to make it happen in one incredible year. This historic achievement by the administration was accomplished on Western terms that strengthened the Atlantic alliance, and without triggering a crisis with an anxious Soviet Union. One leading German scholar, Karl Kaiser, wrote afterward that President Bush “was unusually well prepared for international politics. He knew what he wanted with regard to German unity and the ending of the Cold War. He provided the right mix of discreet and public leadership, and he used America’s resources wisely in responding to the dilemmas of his partners.” German Chancellor Kohl has stressed many times that Germany would not be united today without the leadership of the United States and of President George Bush.

    While affecting this diplomatic revolution in Europe, Bush never gave up on a critical legacy from Ronald Reagan: the commitment to revolutionary change in the Soviet Union itself. The president carefully pushed and encouraged Gorbachev to adopt the dramatic reforms that opened the way to internal revolution. Ignoring the advice of some U.S. pundits who had misplaced their strategic compasses, Bush’s shrewd sense of timing and decades of diplomatic experience led him not to undermine Gorbachev when the Soviet leader was acquiescing in the unification of Germany and following America’s lead in the Gulf War. It also led bush at the time of the August coup to back strongly and publicly Boris Yeltsin’s stand for democracy while other Western leaders and many U.S. politicians were still on the sidelines. The president then struck just the right balance of promotion and pressure at the delicate time in the fall of 1991 when Gorbachev peacefully handed over full power to Yeltsin and accepted the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The United States continues to be at the center of international efforts to shape the political and economic development of Russia, Ukraine, and the other states that have replaced the USSR.

    As the Cold War ended, Americans wondered, along with the peoples of other nations, what kind of new world would replace the old one. Just as Stalin and the forces of communism had challenged the American will in Berlin and in Korea, new tyrants confronted America’s readiness to defend the principles. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, making his bid to dominate supplies of the world’s oil and get the money he needed to fuel his nuclear ambitions.

    President Bush understood the stakes immediately. Without waiting for guidance from polls or experts or from a deeply divided Congress, he offered a clear goal accepted by the people of the United States and the world: unconditional Iraqi withdrawal done more than test the administration’s tenets. He had contested the president’s ability to devise a diplomatic and military design consistent with the Gulf crisis and with the new world.

    In opposing Saddam Hussein’s aggression, Bush knew what war was like–firsthand. He approached decisions about war and peace with the utmost gravity, but with powerful convictions based on American values. He had declared firm principles, and he would defend them. He discarded the old idea of America as world policeman and invented a new strategy appropriate for the post-Cold War world: collective engagement. He relied on coalitions, recognizing that America would inevitably be in the lead when it wanted. He built an extraordinary consensus in the United Nations to rally the international community. He crafted an unprecedented combination of military forces from more than two dozen countries. And he made sure that American taxpayers would pay only their fair share for the war and not a penny more. Analysts of foreign affairs had talked hopefully for decades about such an ideal demonstration of American leadership. President Bush, with his combination of strength, skillful diplomacy, and seasoned judgment, made it happen–not in textbooks, not in speeches, but on the field of battle.

    Saddam discovered to his dismay that our nation’s military is an entirely different organization than it was when Iran held a weakened America hostage in 1980. Col. Harry Summers, a veteran writer on military affairs, summed up that President Bush had shown himself to be the “finest commander in chief since FDR.” The president then masterminded a hard-nosed postwar settlement, backed in the United Nations, that laid Iraq and especially its nuclear facilities open to international inspection. At the same time, he avoided the quagmire of an indefinite U.S. military occupation of Iraq with the attendant inevitable loss of more American servicemen and women. Monday morning quarterbacking makes the crucial decisions of the Gulf War seem obvious and easy. They were not.

    Overcoming New Challenges

    President Bush has fulfilled the promises he made to the American people as a candidate in 1988. Now it is time for Republicans to look ahead. In the next four years, the United States should go on building the structures of the new world. U.S. objectives should be to: consolidate and extend the victory of democracy; retain the strength and stamina to manage new threats (like the danger of further proliferation of nuclear weapons); and expand opportunities for increased U.S. success in the global marketplace.

    American influence around the world is greater now than at any time since the 1950s. The Bush administration should keep using this hard-won leverage to shape events in ways that will protect, in a cost-effective way, American interests.

    · In Western Europe: The United States has found the right balance between redefining relationships with old organizations, like NATO and the European Community, and developing newer institutions, especially the pan-European Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Current administration plans would see half of American troops return home from the Continent–a sensible number until the future of Eastern Europe and particularly the former Soviet Union becomes clearer. In particular, the next administration should support further EC integration and work in concert with our allies to manage the inevitable instability in Europe that the 1990s will bring.

    · In Russia and the former Soviet Union: The administration should keep pressing Congress to approve the Freedom Support Act, which would help Russia and other new governments manage the transition to democracy. The United States spent trillions to deal with Soviet totalitarianism and its military threat. In addition to the large load that must be carried by the other industrial democracies, several billion U.S. dollars spent now to avert a renewed danger is a wise investment. The promise of constructive assistance has, for example, recently helped Bush win agreement from the Ukrainian president on detailed plans for the withdrawal of all nuclear weapons from the territory of this new and fully independent nation. The next four years present two formidable tasks: (a) ensuring that the vast Soviet nuclear arsenal is centralized in Russia and sharply reduced; and (b) nurturing new governments committed to pluralist societies and market economies.

    · In the Middle East: Bush and Secretary Baker brought about the first face-to-face talks ever held between Israel and all its Arab neighbors, achieving the No. 1 diplomatic goal pursued by Israel’s leaders since the founding of the Jewish state. The administration is maintaining the correct steadiness in dealing with the various parties, achieving the appropriate equilibrium between engagement and interference, and it is acting always with Israel’s security in mind. In fact, Bush has already brought to heel the most dangerous threat Israel has ever faced: Iraq’s nuclear and conventional striking power. Meanwhile, the United States has succeeded in amassing a new coalition to isolate Libya, repudiate international terrorism, and bring indicted terrorists to justice. In the years ahead, the United States must sustain its commitment to the Arab-Israeli peace process (which has better prospects than ever before), enforce international supervision of Iraq, and keep a watchful eye on Iranian actions in the Persian Gulf and central Asia.

    · In Mexico: The president’s personal diplomacy has encouraged dramatic improvements of the political and economic conditions in our southern neighbor, a nation that only a few years ago was widely expected to be one of the great danger points for America in the 1990s. Bush astutely handled debt issues, has rightly emphasized negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and has sponsored an Enterprise for the Americas initiative that has improved the climate of U.S. relations with Latin countries throughout the Western Hemisphere. We are on the right track. These ties are better than they have been in decades, and our friends to the south have become the fastest-growing market for American exports.

    · In Central America: The president ended a bloody tyranny and the abuse of American citizens in Panama by decisively intervening in December 1989 to restore to power the democratically elected leaders of Panama and jail the dictator who had helped smuggle drugs into our cities. The administration defused the rancorous debate in Congress over Central America. Receptive to the potential role of international organizations, Bush and Baker managed a solid diplomatic strategy that brought peace and real steps toward democracy in both Nicaragua and El Salvador.

    · In Cuba: Now that Soviet subsidies are gone and Castro’s dictatorial regime is forced to deal with the consequences of its disastrous policies, the United States should not relax the pressure on Cuba. Improving bilateral relations under current conditions in Cuba will not help the reformers or weaken Castro’s grip. The country is too small and the structures of repression too strong. The Cuban government must first fall or open itself to real democratic reform.

    · In east Asia: Not least because of our huge economic interests, America and the administration are correct to stay intensely engaged in the region both politically and militarily. Japan is undergoing an economic retrenchment that may allow improved understandings on trade. In China, Bush is right in working constructively for change in a country so large and diverse that the government cannot block the flow of ideas. In North Korea, firm pressure should be sustained to resolve questions about Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program.

    ·In southern Africa: A U.S.-backed agreement pushed Cuban troops out of Angola and South African troops out of Namibia to enable its creation as an independent state. In South Africa itself, President Bush’s patient, determined policy of constructive engagement has paid off as Mandela and Klerk work together peacefully to dismantle apartheid.

    · In Southeast Asia: American diplomacy has played a critical part in fashioning a UN settlement to end more than 20 years of civil war in Cambodia.

    Vision For The Global Economy

    It is not enough, however, to have a vision for political change in the world. As it prepares for the twenty-first century, the United States also needs to promote a global economy that will best protect American jobs and prosperity. On this point, the difference between Republican and Democratic policies are pronounced. The Democratic Party, from Capitol Hill or on the campaign trail, has historically been ambivalent, at best, in support of free trade.

    The Bush administration and the Republican Party should continue to stress to the American people that the expansion of U.S. trade overseas is essential to future growth at home. Subsidies and protection sound tempting until one considers how other countries will react. If few are not clear about our own trading principle, we can hardly expect to push other nations to lower barriers to American products by using GATT mechanisms or unfair trading laws.

    Republican international policy should promote America’s ability to compete in a free marketplace. The United States can thrive in a competitive world. In fact, exports are now leading the economic recovery in the United States, while Europe and Japan remain mired in economic difficulty. During the past five years, the volume of U.S. manufacturing exports has nearly doubled. The United States used to contribute only one-seventh of the exports from industrialized countries; now the proportion is nearly one-fifth. We are running a surplus in current accounts with every major industrialized country (including those in Western Europe), except for Japan. Even with Japan, the deficit is narrowing as American manufacturing productivity equals or betters that achieved by the Japanese. U.S. firms dominate the frontiers of manufacturing in aerospace, biotechnology, computer software, and pharmaceuticals, and they have recovered their competitive edge in steel and semiconductors.

    There is an unobstructed battle of ideas concerning the conduct of international trade in the post-Cold War world. The Democratic approach, popular in other nations, too, pays lip service to free trade but, when pressured by special interests, gives in to managed trade, protectionism, and government subsidies to business. This is the wrong path. Consumers lose. Taxpayers lose. American business becomes less competitive. And, most of all, the world’s markets close to U.S. products, and American jobs are lost. No country, including the United States, has kept government interference entirely out of the marketplace. But, as America found in the Cold War, our ideals set the standard for our policies and for many other nations. Our goal should be to extend our trading precepts–to ensure that free trade prevails. The Bush administration’s NAFTA negotiations with Canada, and now with Mexico, illuminate a path toward greater economic freedom and toward more U.S. efforts to open the world for American business.

    Tough Choices

    Before voters cast their ballots for president, they judge the past in order to gain insights about the future. By voting for George Bush, they would choose his vision, Demonstrated through successful action and not simply campaign pronouncements. They would select him as the best person to build an new, stable world order consistent with American values and interests and to steer our country through what is still a hazardous global environment.

    Voters must choose more, however, than fine goals and fluent rhetoric. People know that the test of leadership is more than speech making. It is measured not from the podium and after the fact, but in the day-to-day management of American interests in the world and in unforeseen and sometimes dangerous crises.

    Voters need not wonder about George Bush in this respect. He has written the book on practicing foreign policy in a more complex and interdependent world. He has assembled one of the finest and most professional teams for national security that any president has ever put together: Jim Baker, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Brent Scowcroft, and Bob Gates. Voters know from experience and not from listening to campaign flourishes that they can rely on Bush to make hard choices about our country’s security. And they can depend on Bush to promote an open and competitive world economy that promises the best path to American prosperity.

    The turbulence left by the blessed fall of the old world system leaves America with difficult decisions to be made during the next few years. How do we hold on to the victories of democracy? How can we further improve American economic competitiveness? How do we deal with foreign outlaws? How can we use international institutions and our allies to promote U.S. values? In short, how do we keep from forfeiting the historic victory in the Cold War that we and our parents worked so hard to achieve?

    The choices made during the next four years by our president will mark a generation. If openings for further positive change are mishandled, fresh trials will replace those we endured for the last half-century. As the historian and philosopher Leszek Kolakowski recently put it: “Euphoria is always brief, whatever causes it . . . The only thing we know for certain: nothing is certain; nothing is impossible.” With their presidential candidate, Republicans should await eagerly and with purpose the international challenges that four more years will bring.

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