Mr. Kissinger added, however, that the use of force against Iran cannot be ruled out. Diplomacy not backed by the potential use of force is impotent.
Mr. Kissinger suggested that a useful lesson can be taken from 19th century Britain -- act unilaterally when you must, but create a framework in which other powers are reassured by an "understanding of predictable" actions and an underlying agreement on objectives.
A very interesting point was made about the continued successes of something called the Westphalian system (I'm not entirely sure what that means... it seems to be how country borders were determined based on religious and cultural boundaries in Europe). This leads directly to an interesting point:
The nation-state is weakening in Europe, he observed, and has met with mixed success in other parts of the world. "Only in Russia, the United States and Asia can it be found in its classic form."
This is related to another post on this forum.
This part was quite interesting, regarding how the Americans basically cannot deal with indefinite time periods:
But, Mr. Kissinger noted, it is important to recall that the American Republic was not originally designed to sustain an ability to pursue a complex foreign policy. The Framers tended to assume that, once independent, the U.S. could operate reasonably well in relative isolation. These attitudes persist. As a result, Mr. Kissinger posits, Americans have little patience "for a long time of foreign tension."
Because of this, "presidents tend to present difficult cases, particularly those involving military engagements, to the American people in terms of a finite timeline. As a result, they often end up implying, or promising, achievements that may not be possible in the short term -- and that are by no means guaranteed over the long term."
What annoys the shit out of me in this case is that America continues to act this way. Rather than changing things, they simply stay the course no matter where it leads them.