Henry A. Kissinger (Continuación)

The American special representative for North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, returned from Pyongyang last week after unusually benign conversations. The North Korean government affirmed "the need to resume six-power talks" on the nuclear disarmament of the Korean Peninsula. It added, however, the proviso that the United States and Korea "needed to cooperate to narrow the remaining differences" before it would rejoin the established six-power diplomatic framework, from which it walked out a year ago while abandoning all the undertakings it had made during those talks. In other words, Pyongyang seeks separate negotiations with the United States while keeping the other parties out of the diplomatic process, at least for a while.…  Seguir leyendo »

Amid the widespread relief that American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee have avoided the brutal fate meted out to them by a North Korean court, it may seem captious to consider the long-term implications of President Bill Clinton's trip.

The impulse to save two young women from 12 years of hard labor in a North Korean gulag is powerful. Yet now that this goal has been achieved, we need to balance the emotions of the moment against the precedent for the future.

It is inherent in hostage situations that potentially heartbreaking human conditions are used to overwhelm policy judgments. Therein lies the bargaining strength of the hostage-taker.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Obama administration entered office determined to give negotiations with North Korea every opportunity. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hinted that she was seriously considering a visit to Pyongyang. Stephen Bosworth, a distinguished scholar and moderate diplomat, was appointed principal negotiator.

These overtures were vituperatively rejected. Pyongyang refuses to return to the negotiating table and has revoked all its previous concessions. It has restarted the nuclear reprocessing plant it had mothballed and has conducted nuclear weapons and missile tests. It has said the Korean Armistice Agreement of 1953 no longer applies.

The explanation for this may lie in a domestic struggle for succession to the clearly ailing "Dear Leader," Kim Jong Il.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Obama administration faces dilemmas familiar to several of its predecessors. America cannot withdraw from Afghanistan now, but neither can it sustain the strategy that brought us to this point.

The stakes are high. Victory for the Taliban in Afghanistan would give a tremendous shot in the arm to jihadism globally -- threatening Pakistan with jihadist takeover and possibly intensifying terrorism in India, which has the world's third-largest Muslim population. Russia, China and Indonesia, which have all been targets of jihadist Islam, could also be at risk.

Heretofore, America has pursued traditional anti-insurgency tactics: to create a central government, help it extend its authority over the entire country and, in the process, bring about a modern bureaucratic and democratic society.…  Seguir leyendo »

As the new U.S. administration prepares to take office amidst grave financial and international crises, it may seem counterintuitive to argue that the very unsettled nature of the international system generates a unique opportunity for creative diplomacy.

That opportunity involves a seeming contradiction. On one level, the financial collapse represents a major blow to the standing of the United States. While American political judgments have often proved controversial, the American prescription for a world financial order has generally been unchallenged. Now disillusionment with the United States’ management of it is widespread.

At the same time, the magnitude of the debacle makes it impossible for the rest of the world to shelter any longer behind American predominance or American failings.…  Seguir leyendo »

President-elect Barack Obama has appointed an extraordinary team for national security policy. On its face, it violates certain maxims of conventional wisdom: that appointing to the Cabinet individuals with an autonomous constituency, and who therefore are difficult to fire, circumscribes presidential control; that appointing as national security adviser, secretary of state and secretary of defense individuals with established policy views may absorb the president's energies in settling disputes among strong-willed advisers.

It took courage for the president-elect to choose this constellation and no little inner assurance -- both qualities essential for dealing with the challenge of distilling order out of a fragmenting international system.…  Seguir leyendo »

In 1914, an essentially local issue was seen by so many nations in terms of established fears and frustrations that it became global in scope and led to the First World War. There is no danger of general war today. But there is the risk that a conflict arising out of ancestral passions in the Caucasus will be treated as a metaphor for a larger conflict, threatening the imperative of building a new international order in a world of globalization, nuclear proliferation and ethnic conflicts.

The presence of Russian troops on the territory of a state newly independent from the old Soviet empire was bound to send tremors through the other countries that established themselves after the collapse of the Soviet Union.…  Seguir leyendo »

Foreign policy analysts and others share their assessments of the first presidential debate. Here are contributions from: Henry A. Kissinger, Michael O'Hanlon, Michael Rubin, Nancy Soderberg, Stephen P. Cohen and Michael J. Green.

Henry A. Kissinger, former secretary of state and national security adviser.

Iranian nuclear military capability is unacceptable for the following reasons: It would stimulate a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, the most dangerous region in the world. It would strengthen Iran's capability to encourage and support jihadism. It would undermine the credibility of the international community, which has demanded that Iran not develop nuclear weapons.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Bush's meeting with Dmitry Medvedev in Hokkaido yesterday provides an opportunity to review American relations with the new Russian leadership. Conventional wisdom treated Medvedev's inauguration as president of the Russian Federation as a continuation of President Vladimir Putin's two terms of Kremlin dominance and assertive foreign policy. But after recently visiting Moscow, where I met with leading political personalities as well as those in business and intellectual circles, I am convinced that this judgment is premature.

For one thing, the emerging power structure seems more complex than conventional wisdom holds. It was always doubtful why, if his primary objective was to retain power, Putin would choose the complicated and uncertain route of becoming prime minister; his popularity would have allowed him to amend the constitution and extend his presidency.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ha llegado la hora de empezar a prepararse para una conferencia internacional que defina las consecuencias políticas de la guerra en Irak. Ocurra lo que ocurra, es necesaria una fase diplomática. Irak deberá reincorporarse a la comunidad internacional de algún modo. Sus tensiones internas seguirán incitando la intervención exterior, y no será posible oponer una resistencia eficaz en ausencia de algunos principios consensuados. Los intereses enfrentados de varios países deben refrenarse mediante una combinación de equilibrio de poder y una legitimidad pactada para aplicar una sanción internacional.

El llamamiento a una conferencia internacional sería un paso importante a la hora de abordar una notable anomalía de la política internacional contemporánea.…  Seguir leyendo »

Puede que dos negociaciones mantenidas a miles de kilómetros de distancia por un grupo de participantes que en gran medida se solapan determinen las perspectivas del orden mundial. En Pekín, Estados Unidos, China, Rusia, Japón y las dos Coreas están negociando el programa nuclear de Corea del Norte; en Viena, el denominado E-3 (Alemania, Francia y Reino Unido) se reúne de cuando en cuando con una delegación de Irán para tratar del programa nuclear de este país.

La diplomacia coreana podría estar a punto de lograr un avance, pero las conversaciones con Irán están en punto muerto.

Los dos programas nucleares no son idénticos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Iran’s nuclear programme and considerable resources enable it to strive for strategic dominance in its region. With the impetus of a radical Shi’ite ideology and the symbolism of defiance of the United Nations security council’s resolution, Iran challenges the established order in the Middle East and perhaps wherever Islamic populations face dominant, non-Islamic majorities.

The five permanent members of the security council plus Germany — known as the “Six” — have submitted a package of incentives to Tehran to end enrichment of uranium as a key step towards putting an end to the weapons programme. They have threatened sanctions if their proposal is rejected.…  Seguir leyendo »