I know there a lot of folks here who are no fans of kissinger. I’m not really one myself.
However, I thought he did a good job here of explaining the problem posed by the treaty of versailles.
Anyone with half a brain can figure out why Versailles failed. Big deal.
What this interview does is reveal some of Kissinger’s major failings. One, he doesn’t seem to realize that free states do not attack each other, so when he sets out to create peace through a balance of power, he’s basically ensuring a future war, much like how the pre-WW1 system of alliances ensured that particular war. Two, when he says that there have to be certain conditions in place in order to conduct foreign policy, it never enters his head to influence those conditions, because again, he doesn’t realize that free states don’t attack each other. So to use his Iran example, he doesn’t seem to care whether or not the mullahs are overthrown, he just cares whether or not there’s a negotiating partner.
Good grief and good riddance.
This is true only because Kissinger puts the proposition in relative terms. Yes, China is more important in historic terms than Iran because China is bigger and economically more robust and has a bigger if not a brighter future. But, in contriving in American foreign policy one cannot the content with relative judgments if the harm caused crosses an absolute line.
In other words, Iran is now possessed of two of the most important assets in power-play politics and will soon be possessed of the third. Iran is already strategically located a place where it can control the Straits of Hormuz and a vast percentage of the world's flow of oil. Iran is possessed of perhaps the second-largest reserves of oil in the world and with the proper exploitation can become a major player. Third, Iran is very likely soon to have the bomb and with that bomb it can exploit its control over the Straits of Hormuz without much fear of retaliation; it can intimidate its neighbors like Saudi Arabia and vicariously control the world's largest producer of oil; possessed of the bomb, Iran can intimidate its Muslim neighbors into active opposition to America and the West.
These three factors make Iran an absolute problem even if it is, in historic terms, relatively less important that China. Obama's Cairo speech as an opening ploy, knight to King 4, is defensible. As a goal for policy it will be disastrous. There is nothing in Obama's personal history to justify Henry Kissinger's generous wait and see attitude.