One of the highlights of our Book of the Year award ceremony in New York was the speech by Henry Kissinger, founder of the “realist” school of foreign policy. It was instructive to see how far his thinking diverges from that of most of those who today call themselves “realists.” Here is a brief excerpt from his talk:
Terrorism, what we call terrorism, refers to a method. What terrorism represents is an assault by radical Islam on the political structure of the Islamic world, but in a deeper sense on the secular structure and international structure of anything, any society, within reach of Islam, which means almost every part of the world. That is a fundamental challenge. Therefore, to talk about withdrawal from any battlefield is to describe defeat. There is no way to escape the conflict with Islam by leaving Afghanistan or leaving Iraq. Now that is not only delusion and it is not something that will have long term consequences, it is something that would have almost immediate consequences. That is the fundamental problem of our period. That this is a war against radical Islam that has to be won.