Thursday, August 21, 2014

Some interesting things Henry Kissinger said...

Henry Kissinger, as Secretary of State, was an important actor on the American political stage during the Nixon and Ford presidential administrations.  He practiced what was known as Realpolitik.  Pioneering detente with the USSR was perhaps his most noteworthy policy, although he also negotiated the end of our involvement in Vietnam and paved the way for Nixon's historic trip to China.  Here are some of his quotes:

The superpowers often behave like two heavily armed blind men feeling their way around a room, each believing himself in mortal peril from the other, whom he assumes to have perfect vision. Each side should know that frequently uncertainty, compromise, and incoherence are the essence of policymaking. Yet each tends to ascribe to the other a consistency, foresight, and coherence that its own experience belies. Of course, over time, even two armed blind men can do enormous damage to each other, not to speak of the room.

A country that demands moral perfection in its foreign policy will achieve neither perfection nor security.

Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings "The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer." … But since the Freedom of Information Act, I'm afraid to say things like that.

The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.

We fought a military war; our opponents fought a political one. We sought physical attrition; our opponents aimed for our psychological exhaustion. In the process we lost sight of one of the cardinal maxims of guerrilla war: the guerrilla wins if he does not lose. The conventional army loses if it does not win. The North Vietnamese used their armed forces the way a bull-fighter uses his cape — to keep us lunging in areas of marginal political importance.

Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There is too much fraternizing with the enemy.

Behind the slogans lay an intellectual vacuum.

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.

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