“I couldn’t forgive him or like him, but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified. It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made…”
— Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby
Though a controversial figure, Mr. Kissinger’s observations are intriguing and relevant in an age that has witnessed America squander trillions idealistically attempting to democratize two minor states, without considering the possibility that this effort could erode regional stability, or that it might not serve our national interests.
It is as if we Americans had in our wealth (or the wealth of some of us, at least) become a Gatsby nation led by unaccountable elites who create trouble and sow chaos, then retreat to the security of a well-paid gig — think tank, lobbying firm, academic leadership — leaving the mess for the military and diplomatic corps to clean up. Nations around the world endure our careless majesty in the same way ordinary Americans look upon the lives of these rich and powerful people: with envy, bafflement and a little bit of contempt.
Given the mistakes of recent past, it is welcoming to see Sec. Kerry’s inroads in Iran and Cuba as efforts that, while ambitious, nonetheless directly serve our interests, a diplomacy Kissinger would have favored. Critically, these efforts could lead to successes that restore the faith of Americans in their political class, while assuring the rest of world that we are returning to a time when we think before we act.
Given the turbulence that has arisen in the wake of two administration’s worth of misadventures in the Middle East, it might be beneficial to read former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s early work on power balances, a critical review of a recent bio of the man, and a fawning yet illuminating essay on President Obama’s tack to more realistic foreign policy positions:
A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812-1822 [Henry A. Kissinger] on Amazon.com. *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The Napoleonic Wars were followed by an almost unprecedented century of political stability.
Henry Kissinger, with President Richard Nixon and advisor Richard V. Allen, in 1968. / Courtesy of Yale University Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist Niall Ferguson Penguin Press, $39.95 (cloth) Roger Ebert once defined a blockbuster movie sequel as a “filmed deal.” The literary equivalent is the official biography.
The U.S. president talks through his hardest decisions about America’s role in the world.
If not for fighting for our values, our ways, and the rights and liberties our nation cherishes, then what exactly is the purpose of serving in the United States military? America must not allow cultural awareness to become moral relativism. Where reform is needed, it must be made. And If we don’t have the stomach for it, then we ought not to send our forces to regions that need change.
A century ago, military officer and reformist president Mustafa Atatürk outlawed social traditions that inhibited Turkey’s modernization. In choosing Western values over Eastern traditions he did not destroy Turkish culture, but saved it. Similarly, over a thousand years ago, Westerners (Northern Europeans) adopted a religion rooted in Middle Eastern traditions; it had a progressive, civilizing influence over existing norms.
To the point, if we must force something on Afghans — because that’s what a military does: force things to happen — for God’s sake let it be a sanction against the ugly tradition of child sex slavery (see article below).
Lawmakers are calling on the Pentagon to fully reinstate a decorated United States Army sergeant whose career status is under review after he hit an American-backed Afghan militia officer for raping a boy. The Special Forces member, Sgt.