Podcast With Niall Ferguson At The American Interest: ‘Chronicling Kissinger’

Podcast here.

As previously posted:

On Niall Ferguson’s new Biography- ‘Kissinger: Volume I: The Idealist.1923-1968:’

FT review. 

The Economist

Ferguson discusses the first volume in D.C.

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A previous Kissinger quote found here.

“The purpose of bureaucracy is to devise a standard operating procedure which can cope effectively with most problems.  A bureaucracy is efficient if the matters which it handles routinely are, in fact, the most frequent and if its procedures are relevant to their solution.  If those criteria are met, the energies of the top leadership are freed to deal creatively with the unexpected occurrence or with the need for innovation.  Bureaucracy becomes an obstacle when what it defines as routine does not address the most significant range of issues or when its prescribed mode of action proves irrelevant to the problem.”

and:

“Moreover, the reputation, indeed the political survival, of most leaders depends on their ability to realize their goals, however these may have been arrived at.  Whether these goals are desireable is relatively less crucial.”

Kissinger, Henry. American Foreign Policy:  Three Essays.  New York: W.W. Norton & Company Inc.  1969.

Henry Kissinger & George Schulz Via The WSJ: ‘The Iran Deal And Its Consequences’

 

2 Comments

“Moreover, the reputation, indeed the political survival, of most leaders depends on their ability to realize their goals, however these may have been arrived at. Whether these goals are desireable is relatively less crucial.”

So sad but so true. Kissinger was the classic advocate of realpolitik, a pragmatist not a moralist.

    Malcolm,

    Thanks for commenting. Well said. Ferguson definitely has Kissinger as something of a reformed idealist (heavily Kantian), coming to terms with the world as it is, into that zone of realpolitik, calculation, and multi-polar thinking he’s known for.

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