Review: Diplomacy (H. Kissinger)


Now that it seems that Russia has decided to play world domination again, this book is a step by step manual on how to become a realpolitik expert.
Kissinger’s view of history, not just diplomacy, is very straight forward: stability in international politics is generated by the balance of power, not by goodwill or well meaning international institutions. No one nation is able to impose its will on the world without having to create alliances, and alliances are normally defined by necessity, not by choice.

It is on that premise that Kissinger writes a short history of the last six hundred years. It is clear from the beginning that his admiration goes to those who proved to be skillful at managing, or manipulating, complex alliances (Richelieu, Bismarck, Nixon with the Chinese) without much concern for their moral standards. Or more precisely, those leaders were in fact more moral than the rest because they created stability in a world which is essentially lawless. Kissinger is Hobbesian: strong republics which behave in a predictable manner are preferable to other forms of government however just or democratic they may be.

It is no surprise then that he was particularly suited to lead the foreign policy of the US in the era of containment.


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