Pattern of US foreign policy negotiations. Codeville, Black, Kissinger

An interesting exchange, if you’re a foreign policy nerd, between Conrad Black and Angelo Codevilla is posted in the National Review and The Claremont Institute’s websites regarding Henry Kissinger, caught my eye. Beside the discussion of Kissinger, the last paragraph of Codevillas response to Blacks criticism was what stood out and I completely agree with.

By now the pattern is familiar: Facing an adversary, U.S officials assume that it is amenable to compromise and thus open negotiations with preemptive concessions of U.S. interests. Discovering that the adversary persists in its purpose and in fact is hardening its demands, our officials, falling back on Kissinger’s “creative ambiguity,” craft “agreements” based on the pretense that the adversary accepts the U.S. understanding thereof, and that our officials do not accept the adversary’s understanding. On that basis, they pretend that they have done something good. When the opposite results, they hide behind their status. Until we come to grips with Kissinger’s legacy, no one should expect results different from the ones that have befallen and continue to befall us.

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