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State of the Globe, Part 2:
On U.S. Diplomacy

What has the world said about foreign policy over the course of 2002?

December 31, 2002

What has the world said about foreign policy over the course of 2002?

From bruising fights over trade policy to potentially explosive military engagements, even the diplomats were less able to keep their gloves on in 2002. Not only are there open divisions over the war on terrorism. Broader disagreements have also sprung up among long-term U.S. allies. The second installment of our “State of the Globe” series takes a closer look at the state of U.S. diplomacy.

Is this Saddam talking?

“If they, ignorant of their rival, dare to provoke a nuclear war, the army and people [of North Korea] led by Kim Jong Il, the invincible commander, will rise up to mete out determined and merciless punishment to the U.S. imperialist aggressors with the might of single-hearted unity more powerful than an A-bomb.”

(Kim Il Chol, North Korean Defense Minister)

What is particularly surprising about the world today?

“We live in a curious world. At the same time that Europe feels no longer dependent on the United States for security, the United States is feeling much more insecure.”

(Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S. National Security Advisor under U.S. President Jimmy Carter)

What's the biggest challenge for foreign policy?

“The paradox of the modern world is this: We’ve never been more interdependent in our needs — and we’ve never been more individualist in our outlook.”

(British Prime Minister Tony Blair)

In what way is the world currently moving backward?

“It would be a mistake to define power in the 21st century primarily as military power.”

(Wolfgang Ischinger, German Ambassador to the United States)

What words of advice should the United States keep in mind?

“If America relinquishes respect and affection in favor of fear and coercion, the world will be a colder and more frightening place.”

(Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy, on U.S. foreign policy in his inaugural address in January 1961)

Did President Bush ever agree with John F. Kennedy's view?

“If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us. If we're a humble nation but strong, they'll welcome us.”

(George W. Bush as a U.S. presidential candidate, in 2000)

How do people view Mr. Bush's preemption doctrine?

“Preemption implies hitting the other guy before he hits you. Prevention means hitting him even before he gets the glove on.”

(R.C. Longworth, Chicago Tribune columnist)

In what way is the Bush Administration's policy on civil liberties backfiring?

“Saddam Hussein is a murderous despot, but the present U.S. administration’s assaults on fundamental freedoms call into question its right to be called freedom lovers.”

(Salman Rushdie, author, on U.S. foreign policy toward Iraq)

How does current U.S. foreign policy differ from its beginnings?

“America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”

(John Quincy Adams, former U.S. President, in 1821)

Do Europeans take a different approach?

“We have a slightly more nuanced idea of how to deal with terrorism.”

(Chris Patten, EU Commissioner for external affairs)

Do the French agree?

"I am totally against unilateralism in the modern world."

(French President Jacques Chirac, on U.S. foreign policy)

And the Germans?

"Alliance partners aren't satellites."

(German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, on U.S. foreign policy)

Is Russia a close ally of the United States?

"Russia doesn't need any preferences in international affairs."

(Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Russia's foreign policy)

What else separates the United States and Europe?

“In the United States, it is popular — and politically beneficial — to beat up on the United Nations. In Europe, in contrast, it is the United States — not the UN — which serves as a useful club to win elections.”

(Washington analyst, on U.S.-EU relations)

How could relations between the West and Muslim countries be improved?

“If the West wants to modernize Islam, it should invest in women — because they educate the children.”

(Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Somali-born Dutch political scientist)

What risk does the United Sates run in its efforts for developing other nations?

“Half-hearted nation-building always ends up badly — and would surely weaken us.”

(Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times columnist, on U.S. Iraq policy)

Have U.S. politicians ever admitted to foreign policy failures?

"Latin America often remains an afterthought of U.S. foreign policy."

(U.S. President George W. Bush)

A final word of advice?

“Preponderance is not the same as omnipotence — and that’s why we Americans need allies.”

(Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S. National Security Advisor under U.S. President Jimmy Carter, on U.S. foreign policy)