Former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said he would advise the 2016 presidential candidates to stop using the phrase “on my first day in office.”
Center for Strategic International Studies President/CEO John Hamre told Kissinger he is having a hard time discerning a strategy from the government or the 2016 presidential candidates on the way to deal with ISIS.
“The nature of our political contest is which public opinion poll is taken every week. The emphasis is on immediate impact and the problem we are discussing is a very long-range problem,” Kissinger said at the CSIS Global Security Forum.
“So what I would probably say to a candidate when they asked me is to say everybody should drop the phrase ‘on my first day in office’ I will do the following thing. If we can achieve that, we will have made a contribution.”
Kissinger also made a prediction about the Iran nuclear deal.
“If this deal is interpreted in the region as an end to the nonproliferation efforts of the United States and of the world, and if then every other state in the region attempts to demand the same capabilities that Iran has achieved through the agreement, then we will see a breakdown of the nonproliferation system,” he said.
“Then we will face a situation in which – because of the short distances, because of the limited technological capability to cover the whole range of deterrents – a premium will be put on preemptive actions between these countries, and this should be a fundamental concern for the us in the next decade or so.”
Kissinger, who served under presidents Gerald Ford and Richard Nixon, warned that some Sunni countries might seek to increase their military capabilities in the aftermath of the agreement.
Kissinger foresees India playing a larger role in the Middle East.
“It’s very probable that India will play a more active role because its own internal survival is very much dependent and affected by what happens to the radicalization in the region. And China will begin to play a strategic role and all of this will have to be thought through as the new world emerges,” Kissinger said.
“We are too focused on a world that was created by a few European countries 150 years ago in its structure and we have now to understand what the new forces are, what our necessities are and what our limitations are – that doesn’t meant that I am sitting here knowing how to do it but we have to ask the right questions before we can give the answers and we still remain the key element in devising this.”
The former secretary of state also provided his thoughts on Russia’s involvement in the Middle East.
“If there were to be a discussion with Russia about the Middle East, it would have to include a discussion of Ukraine,” Kissinger said. “One cannot imagine two totally separate policies.”