Hillary Clinton - Blueprint for a New World Order

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Hillary Clinton - Blueprint for a New World Order

Hillary Clinton reviews Henry Kissinger’s ‘World Order’
Hillary Rodham Clinton September 4

Hillary Rodham Clinton was the 67th secretary of state.

When Americans look around the world today, we see one crisis after  
another. Russian aggression in Ukraine, extremism and chaos in Iraq and  
Syria, a deadly epidemic in West Africa, escalating territorial tensions  
in the East and South China seas, a global economy that still isn’t  
producing enough growth or shared prosperity — the liberal international  
order that the United States has worked for generations to build and  
defend seems to be under pressure from every quarter. It’s no wonder so  
many Americans express uncertainty and even fear about our role and our  
future in the world.

In his new book, “World Order,” Henry Kissinger explains the historic  
scope of this challenge. His analysis, despite some differences over  
specific policies, largely fits with the broad strategy behind the Obama  
administration’s effort over the past six years to build a global  
architecture of security and cooperation for the 21st century.

During the Cold War, America’s bipartisan commitment to protecting and  
expanding a community of nations devoted to freedom, market economies and  
cooperation eventually proved successful for us and the world. Kissinger’s  
summary of that vision sounds pertinent today: “an inexorably expanding  
cooperative order of states observing common rules and norms, embracing  
liberal economic systems, forswearing territorial conquest, respecting  
national sovereignty, and adopting participatory and democratic systems of  

This system, advanced by U.S. military and diplomatic power and our  
alliances with like-minded nations, helped us defeat fascism and communism  
and brought enormous benefits to Americans and billions of others.  
Nonetheless, many people around the world today — especially millions of  
young people — don’t know these success stories, so it becomes our  
responsibility to show as well as tell what American leadership looks like.

This is especially important at a time when many are wondering, as  
Kissinger puts it, “Are we facing a period in which forces beyond the  
restraints of any order determine the future?”

For me, this is a familiar question. When I walked into the State  
Department in January 2009, everyone knew that it was a time of dizzying  
changes, but no one could agree on what they all meant. Would the economic  
crisis bring new forms of cooperation or a return to protectionism and  
discord? Would new technologies do more to help citizens hold leaders  
accountable or to help dictators keep tabs on dissidents? Would rising  
powers such as China, India and Brazil become global problem-solvers or  
global spoilers? Would the emerging influence of non-state actors be  
defined more by the threats from terrorist networks and criminal cartels,  
or by the contributions of courageous NGOs? Would growing global  
interdependence bring a new sense of solidarity or new sources of strife?

President Obama explained the overarching challenge we faced in his Nobel  
lecture in December 2009. After World War II, he said, “America led the  
world in constructing an architecture to keep the peace. . . . And yet, a  
decade into a new century, this old architecture is buckling under the  
weight of new threats.”

I was proud to help the president begin reimagining and reinforcing the  
global order to meet the demands of an increasingly interdependent age. In  
the president’s first term, we laid the foundation, from repaired  
alliances to updated international institutions to decisive action on  
challenges such as Iran’s nuclear program and the threat from Osama bin  

The crises of the second term underscore that this is a generational  
project that will demand a commitment from the United States and its  
partners for years to come. Kissinger writes that foreign policy is not “a  
story with a beginning and an end,” but “a process of managing and  
tempering ever-recurring challenges.” This calls to mind John F. Kennedy’s  
observation that peace and progress are “based not on a sudden revolution  
in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions . . . a  
process — a way of solving problems.”

America, at its best, is a problem-solving nation. And our continued  
commitment to renovating and defending the global order will determine  
whether we build a future of peace, progress and prosperity in which  
people everywhere have the opportunity to live up to their God-given  

Much of “World Order” is devoted to exploring this challenge. It is  
vintage Kissinger, with his singular combination of breadth and acuity  
along with his knack for connecting headlines to trend lines — very long  
trend lines in this case. He ranges from the Peace of Westphalia to the  
pace of microprocessing, from Sun Tzu to Talleyrand to Twitter. He traces  
the Indian view of order back to the Hindu epics; the Muslim view to the  
campaigns of Muhammad; the European view to the carnage of the Thirty  
Years’ War (which elicits a comparison to the Middle East today); the  
Russian view to “the hard school of the steppe, where an array of nomadic  
hordes contended for resources on an open terrain with few fixed borders.”  
This long view can help us understand issues from Vladimir Putin’s  
aggression to Iran’s negotiating strategy, even as it raises the difficult  
question of “how divergent historic experiences and values can be shaped  
into a common order.”

Given today’s challenges, Kissinger’s analyses of the Asia-Pacific and the  
Middle East are particularly valuable.

When it comes to Asia, he notes that all of the region’s rising powers,  
China included, have their own visions of regional and global order,  
shaped by their own histories and present situations. How we contend with  
these divergent visions — building a cooperative relationship with China  
while preserving our other relationships, interests and values in a stable  
and prosperous region — will go a long way toward determining whether we  
can meet the broader global challenge.

In my book “Hard Choices,” I describe the strategy President Obama and I  
developed for the Asia-Pacific, centered on strengthening our traditional  
alliances; elevating and harmonizing the alphabet soup of regional  
organizations, such as ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations)  
and APEC (the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation organization); and  
engaging China more broadly — both bilaterally, through new venues such as  
the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, and multilaterally, in settings where  
regional pressure would encourage more constructive behavior and shared  
decision-making on matters from freedom of navigation to climate change to  
trade to human rights. Our “pivot to Asia,” as it came to be known, is all  
about establishing a rules-based order in the region that can manage the  
peaceful rise of new powers and promote universal norms and values.

This kind of methodical, multilateral diplomacy is often slow and  
frustrating, rarely making headlines at home, but it can pay real  
dividends that affect the lives of millions of people. And without an  
effective regional order, the challenges multiply. Just look at the Middle  
East. “Nowhere,” Kissinger observes, “is the challenge of international  
order more complex — in terms of both organizing regional order and  
ensuring the compatibility of that order with peace and stability in the  
rest of the world.”

Kissinger is a friend, and I relied on his counsel when I served as  
secretary of state. He checked in with me regularly, sharing astute  
observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his  
travels. Though we have often seen the world and some of our challenges  
quite differently, and advocated different responses now and in the past,  
what comes through clearly in this new book is a conviction that we, and  
President Obama, share: a belief in the indispensability of continued  
American leadership in service of a just and liberal order.

There really is no viable alternative. No other nation can bring together  
the necessary coalitions and provide the necessary capabilities to meet  
today’s complex global threats. But this leadership is not a birthright;  
it is a responsibility that must be assumed with determination and  
humility by each generation.

Fortunately, the United States is uniquely positioned to lead in the 21st  
century. It is not just because of the enduring strength of our military  
or the resilience of our economy, although both are absolutely essential.  
It goes deeper than that. The things that make us who we are as a nation —  
our diverse and open society, our devotion to human rights and democratic  
values — give us a singular advantage in building a future in which the  
forces of freedom and cooperation prevail over those of division,  
dictatorship and destruction.

This isn’t just idealism. For an international order to take hold and  
last, Kissinger argues, it must relate “power to legitimacy.” To that end,  
Kissinger, the famous realist, sounds surprisingly idealistic. Even when  
there are tensions between our values and other objectives, America, he  
reminds us, succeeds by standing up for our values, not shirking them, and  
leads by engaging peoples and societies, the sources of legitimacy, not  
governments alone. If our might helps secure the balance of power that  
underpins the international order, our values and principles help make it  
acceptable and attractive to others.

So our levers of leadership are not just about keeping our military strong  
and our diplomacy agile; they are about standing up for human rights,  
about advancing the rights and role of women and girls, about creating the  
space for a flourishing civil society and the conditions for broad-based  

This strategic rationale guided my emphasis as secretary of state on using  
all the tools of foreign policy, even those sometimes dismissed as “soft.”  
I called it “smart power,” and I still believe it offers a blueprint for  
sustained American leadership in the decades ahead. We have to play to our  
strengths. And in an age when legitimacy is defined from the bottom up  
rather than the top down, America is better positioned than our more  
autocratic competitors.

Kissinger recognizes this as well. He understands how much the world has  
changed since his time in office, especially the diffusion of power and  
the growing influence of forces beyond national governments. International  
problems and solutions are increasingly centered, in ways both good and  
bad, on nongovernmental organizations, businesses and individual citizens.  
As a result, foreign policy is now as much about people as it is about  
states. Kissinger rightly notes that these shifts require a broader and  
deeper order than sufficed in the past. “Any system of world order, to be  
sustainable, must be accepted as just — not only by leaders, but also by  
citizens,” he writes.

That is true abroad, and it is also true at home. Our country is at its  
best, and our leadership in the world is strongest, when we are united  
behind a common purpose and shared mission, and advancing shared  
prosperity and social justice at home. Sustaining America’s leadership in  
the world depends on renewing the American dream for all our people.

In the past, we’ve flirted with isolationism and retreat, but always  
heeded the call to leadership when it was needed most. It’s time for  
another of our great debates about what America means to the world and  
what the world means to America. We need to have an honest conversation  
together — all of us — about the costs and imperatives of global  
leadership, and what it really takes to keep our country safe and strong.

We have a lot to talk about. Sometimes we’ll disagree. But that’s what  
democracy is all about. A real national dialogue is the only way we’re  
going to rebuild a political consensus to take on the perils and the  
promise of the 21st century. Henry Kissinger’s book makes a compelling  
case for why we have to do it and how we can succeed.
Wasn't "New world order" a Bush Dr. catch phrase?