The Telegraph, May 24 2022, Professor Robert Tombs
Henry Kissinger, fast approaching his hundredth year, is still eminently capable of making a lucid argument and commanding global headlines. At the World Economic Forum this week, he urged Ukraine to temper its heroism with wisdom, and called for negotiations within the “next two months or so”. Ukraine would be “a significant participant”, but it must not pursue “a war against Russia itself”. Russia had been for 400 years “an essential part” of “the European balance” and Ukraine should be content to be “a neutral kind of state”.
This is a classic example of the realist approach to international relations of which Kissinger has been a leading exponent since he wrote his PhD in 1954 on the post-Napoleonic restoration of Europe. Realism sees states as rational and long-term actors, operating through high-level diplomacy aimed at mitigating conflict. Although often dismissed as “realpolitik” devoid of morality or “appeasement” devoid of courage, it contains its own ethics.
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