THE CONDUCT AND MISCONDUCT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS by Charles Yost

THE CONDUCT AND MISCONDUCT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Recipes for rethinking American foreign policymaking by a 35-year veteran of the Foreign Service (including a recent stint at the UN) who maintains a florid rhetoric -- ""for the first time in history man has unlimited power for good or evil. . . .If we could cleanse and elevate our minds"" -- along with a chatty concreteness. The world has changed: nuclear explosions, population explosions, cultural explosions, educational explosions. But the world remains the same: the aphorisms of de Tocqueville, Toynbee, Santayana, Burke and the eternal validity of the cold war. What makes diplomacy so difficult? Nationalism, pressure groups, military alliances, and the impact of leaders like Hitler (a mad bureaucrat), Mao (founder of a church), FDR (""usually right about great issues""), Truman (took advice), Dulles (singleminded), Kennedy (""instinctive democrat""), Stevenson (heroic naivete), LBJ (a tragic figure), and Nixon (pragmatic). As for the American foreign affairs network: the State Department needs less crisis management and more ""crisis neglect,"" with a staff reduced and cleansed of patronage jobs. This shiny new State Department will reverse the loss of U.S. influence and play a suitably grand role in future policy formations. What the foreign affairs bureaucracy needs is effective ""mobilization, integration, evaluation and application of intelligence,"" support for its foreign policy by Congress and the public, and combat against Parkinson's Law. First question -- is any of this possible? Second question -- would it make a profound policy difference in the long run?

Pub Date: Dec. 5th, 1972
Publisher: Random House