- Series: Touchstone Book
- Paperback: 912 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (April 4, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780671510992
- ISBN-13: 978-0671510992
- ASIN: 0671510991
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 195 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,701 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Diplomacy (Touchstone Book) Reprint Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Kissinger discusses the art of diplomacy and the American approach to foreign affairs.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Michiko Kakutani The New York Times An elegantly written study of Western diplomacy....Shrewd, often vexing, and consistently absorbing.
Simon Schama The New Yorker Kissinger's absorbing book tackles head-on some of the toughest questions of our time....Its pages sparkle with insight.
George P. Shultz This is a great book....Brilliant in its analysis and masterly in its sweep.
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. This rich and absorbing work is both a brilliant study of the international crises that have shaped the modern world and a provocative meditation on the American style in foreign affairs.
Walter Laqueur Chairman, International Research Council, Center for Strategic and International Studies The most important work on diplomacy for thirty years.
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He explains the complex workings of the international order in fundamental terms. For example, discussing the problems at Versailles, "European style diplomacy presumes that national interests have a tendency to clash, and views diplomacy as the means for reconciling them. Wilson, on the other hand, considered international discord the result of 'clouded thinking,' not as an expression of a genuine clash of interests." Knowing this fundamental difference in world views it is much easier to understand the difficulties at Versailles. This book is filled with this critical kind of information. It is also filled with the Kissinger style of thinking. First the overview, then an analysis of the detailed problem keeping the overview always in mind.
I suggest reading On China after reading Diplomacy. I read them the opposite way and I think I would have enjoyed On China even more if I had read this book first.
I found the early chapter on Woodrow Wilson's approach to American exceptionalism, which included our native idealism, collaborative successes, and mutual security and multilateral action in international affairs to be very insightful and Kissinger returns to these concepts again and again in his analysis of statescraft. Likewise in this early chapter he contrasts Wilson to Theodore Roosevelt's philosophy of action only with clear national interests in mind, a world of realpolitik. He also explains balance of power approaches and adequately demonstrated the barriers, benefits, consequences, and downside of each of these approaches. After reading this 800 page book, I am ready to sit down and start reading again. It is really that good.
There are numerous highlights but I will share a few with you.
His chapter on Richelieu and Louis XIV demonstrated how Richelieu created the first modern state to emerge from the Middle Ages. Richelieu acted to consolidate power for the French king which ran counter to the mind set of the Middle Ages. Unfortunatley, as Kissinger demonstrates, Louis XIV squanders this power with needless wars, for which his relative Louis XVI paid the ultimate price.
One section of the book, regarding the Concert of Europe after the fall of Napoleon, reveals statescraft at the heights. Metternich and Talleyrand helped create a peace that lasted over 100 years based on realistic balance of power and alliances based on common values.
The development of the German state under the power of Bismark compared to the downfall of France under Napoleon III was very interesting. Unfortunately the power of the new German state was misused in World War I.
The sections on World War I demonstrated the pattern by which military decisions and preparedness outweigh and preceed correcting diplomacy. In this section Kissinger and Tuchman offer a common view of the origins of World War I.
Kissinger and Tuchman however diverge when it comes to Vietnam. Tuckman's short crisp summary of the tragedy of Vietnam in her book The March of Folley is a very good summary, but Kissinger's chapters on Vietnam in Diplomacy certainly put meat on the bones of fact.
Finally Kissinger's analysis of his years working with Richard Nixon were real eye-openers. Richard Nixon undoubtedly had considerable gifts in the area of foreign policy which makes the tragedy of Watergate even more sad.
I just do not think anyone with half a brain would be dissatisfied with this excellent book.