Kirkus Reviews QR Code
OBSERVATIONS by Henry Kissinger

OBSERVATIONS

Selected Speeches And Essays 1982-1984

By Henry Kissinger

Pub Date: June 1st, 1985
ISBN: 0316496642
Publisher: Little, Brown

A collection of diplomatic opinions from this latter-day Metternich, culled from lectures, essays, and interviews during the period 1982-1984. Kissinger's selections encompass a litany of flashpoints in the geopolitical firmament. Nuclear policy, Central America, Sino-American relations, Soviet-American problems, difficulties within the Atlantic Alliance, the Mideast quagmire, African affairs, and Arms Control talks--all come in for analysis. But problems within NATO and the Atlantic Alliance monopolize Kissinger's attention here (eight of the 14 selections focus on this growing concern). The Alliance, he contends, is gradually breaking down through a combination of short sightedness on the part of leaders of both sides and irrevocable currents of change sweeping the world. Indeed, he opines that there is practically no issue in the current agenda on which the US and its supposed European allies agree anymore. The consequences for the future, he implies, are frightening. Kissinger insists that 1) the leaders of our Allies stop grandstanding--that is, criticizing our policies on minor issues, such as Grenada, in order to make points with the Third World and the Soviets; and 2) the American public rally around a bipartisan foreign policy so that we stop shifting gears--and, thus, confusing our allies and our foes--every four or eight years. Despite a repetitiveness that unavoidably renders some of these readings monotonous, Kissinger's opinions are fresh and insightful. A minor quibble is that the book is ordered chronologically rather than by subject. But until the next issue of Foreign Affairs arrives, this collection will substitute quite well.