Obama Can Lead a Peaceful World: Kissinger

Former secretary of state admires president's early moves
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2009 12:18 PM CDT
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger exits Manhattan State Supreme court in New York Thursday, May 21, 2009. Kissinger testified earlier in the trial of Anthony Marshall, son of deceased socialite...   (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)
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(Newser) – Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger has warm words for President Obama, whom he describes as "like a chess player who has opened his game with an unusual opening" in an interview with Der Spiegel. "I have no quarrel with the opening move," he adds. "I believe that Obama has a unique chance to conduct a peaceful American foreign policy," the German-born diplomat says, because he sees no conflict with a major nation—China, Russia, or India—that would require a military solution, giving him an unprecedented diplomatic opportunity.

Kissinger says he admired Obama's Cairo speech but cautions against too much dependence on rhetoric. "If Obama believes that every crisis can be managed by a philosophical speech then he will run into Wilsonian problems." Unlike the neocons of the Bush days, Obama can embrace a "realistic idealism" that holds firm values without losing sight of geopolitical realities. For Kissinger, "to try to deal with the fate of nations without looking at the circumstances with which they have to deal is escapism."