Lessons From History Series: A Conversation With Henry Kissinger

Friday, September 30, 2022

Chairman, Kissinger Associates, Inc.; Former U.S. Secretary of State; Author, Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy; CFR Member


President, Council on Foreign Relations; Author, The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens (forthcoming January 2023)@RichardHaass

Lessons From History Series and Lessons From History

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger discusses leadership in the twentieth century and lessons for contemporary foreign policy.

The Lessons From History Series uses historical analysis as a critical tool for understanding modern foreign policy challenges by hearing from practitioners who played an important role in a consequential historical event or from experts and historians. This series is made possible through the generous support of David M. Rubenstein.

HAASS: Well, good morning to everyone. Welcome to today’s Council on Foreign Relations meeting. This is part of our Lessons from History Series, made possible by a generous grant from David Rubenstein. And today we are excited, thrilled to have Henry Kissinger with us. For those who don’t recognize me, I’m Richard Haass, president of the Council. And I will be having a conversation with Dr. Kissinger before we open it up to questions from you all.

Henry Kissinger, as I believe, expect, and hope everyone knows, is the former national security advisor and secretary of state, and has been a forever scholar and acute observer of American foreign policy and international relations. What I would add is that his career and his life have long been associated with this institution, nearly—I would guess, close to three-quarters of a century now. I don’t think I’m exaggerating by too much. One of the first works he produced that had a tremendous impact on the not just elite debate, but public debate was nuclear weapons and foreign policy. It grew out of a study group here at the Council in the ’50s. I’d also say, speaking more personally, I first encountered Dr. Kissinger’s historic work, his academic work, as a graduate student half a century ago—we’re dating ourselves here, Henry—and had a tremendous influence on me then and ever since.

Dr. Kissinger has produced a new book entitled Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy, in which he offers up profiles and assessments of six major post–World War II figures—Konrad Adenauer, Charles de Gaulle, Richard Nixon, Anwar Sadat, Lee Kuan Yew, and Margaret Thatcher. So what I will do is ask Dr. Kissinger some things about his most recent book, and then I will also take advantage of this opportunity—given all that’s going on in the world literally today but more broadly—and ask him a few questions about just that, about some of the most pressing issues.

Dr. Kissinger, thank you for being with us. Good morning. Shana Tovah. It’s the beginning of the Jewish new year. And thank you for joining us and the Council on Foreign Relations, and hundreds of our members, here this morning.

KISSINGER: It’s always a joy for me to return to the Council. It’s like coming home. That’s where I wrote my first book on contemporary politics. And I’m delighted to be here.

HAASS: Well, thank you, sir. So when I read your most recent book, you talk about some of the common features of these six individuals—again, Adenauer, de Gaulle, Nixon, Sadat, Lee Kuan Yew, and Margaret Thatcher. And you talk about such things as they were all direct tellers of hard truths. They had a powerful, penetrating sense of reality. They had vision. They could be bold. They understood the importance of solitude, but they were also willing to be divisive if need be. I was interested in all of this, but particularly the in particular the importance of solitude. Why did you—why did you single that out as an important characteristic or trait of these—of these individuals, of these leaders?

KISSINGER: One of the principal tasks of a leader, maybe the fundamental one, is to take a society from where it is to where it has never been. Because the status quo is always overtaken by the enduring alteration of conceptions and forces, especially when it’s up on a world basis. So these qualities—so a leader has to be—has to have a firm understanding, a penetrating understanding, of the world in which he’s located, the factors that influence it. But he also has to have the vision of where the evolution ought to be going in terms of the spirit of the society and of the assessment of the conditions in which it finds itself. And the elites and the leader, he or she, need boldness to know the moment in which the evolution becomes implemented in some fashion. So I—that’s why I consider a sense of reality a vision of the future and courage to implement that vision as principal qualities.

HAASS: So let me—let me mention three qualities that you didn’t explicitly mention, but maybe they’re subsumed in what you did. One is a real feel for and understanding of history. You’re a historian. People like Ernest May and others wrote books about the uses of history. How essential do you think it is that a leader is grounded in history?

KISSINGER: When Churchill was asked by a student what he should study in order to promote his later ability to be involved in foreign policy, Churchill replied, study history, study history, study history. History is the only experiment we have. It’s retroactive. It’s not self-evident, because it has this evolutionary aspect of it. But to be a great foreign policy leader, or a great leader of a country, one has to have that. And all the people that I described had it in some sense, and in a considerable sense.

HAASS: What about also the—these were people with vision. But when we used to teach, actually at a university you’re familiar with, at Harvard—when I taught at the Kennedy School, we used to tell students that policy design, vision, was maybe 10 or 20 percent, but 80 to 90 percent of effectiveness was the ability to implement and execute. Do you buy that? Or do you think those percentages are wrong?

KISSINGER: Oh, I haven’t tried to put in terms of percentages, but I would certainly—I would agree with the importance of each of them, because—and it’s important that these qualities become innate, so that one does not have to study it at every moment in time, but that if there is—that this sense of history obviously is built into one’s perception of international events. And particularly in order to recognize the nature of what is going on.

HAASS: These are all great figures of the twentieth century. To what extent do you think that they were essentially, formed may be too strong of a word, but very much affected fundamentally to their core by the two world wars? That these were the two great events of the century, the two awful events of the century, that these were essentially—in many ways you can’t—to what—I guess the question would be: To what extent is it only possible to understand these six individuals if one understands the two world wars?

KISSINGER: Well, they were all, in fact, individuals that were formed between the two world wars. And it’s essential to understand what a fundamental cleavage the First World War was in the evolution of European history. And the challenge we have now is the experiences between the First and the Second World War enabled these leaders to form a basic pattern, and also convinced them that these qualities were needed to help their societies through a crisis.

My concern is that in the present period the acquisition of these qualities is made more difficult—almost impossible, but certainly more difficult—by the multiplicity of events that have—that are changing and by the sense of insecurity that has developed in some societies, like the German one, that have gone through so many upheavals in a very brief period of time. But more or less all of these countries that I dealt with, except Singapore, which didn’t even consist as an idea then—had an impact of events on them.

HAASS: I was surprised by some things in the book. And I think I mentioned this to you a few months ago, by in particular your generous portrait of Charles de Gaulle. Not that I’m—not to be critical, but just I was—I was just surprised. I didn’t know that was your assessment. But I was also somewhat surprised by what wasn’t in the book. You chose these six individuals. Could you say something about your criteria and why you didn’t choose Zhou Enlai or Deng Xiaoping or Yitzhak Rabin, or Nelson Mandela? I’m just curious whether anyone ended up on the cutting room floor.

KISSINGER: I didn’t include Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping, two individuals with whom I worked very closely, but I had written a whole book on—I guess five years earlier—in which I had dealt with these individuals. And I also wanted in this book to write about leadership qualities that were applicable to the current—to the current period. And I didn’t want to open a debate about China in this context, because I’m engaged in that more or less regularly. But so my views on Deng and Zhou Enlai can be read in that previous book.

But I introduced Lee Kuan Yew into the book because that’s one of the most extraordinary acts of leadership. Here is an island that Lee Kuan Yew described as, I forget what the dimension was, at low tide about the size of Chicago geographically. Composed of three different nationalities—Chinese, Malay, and Indian. Its economy was based on a British naval base, which was in the process in this post–war period of being withdrawn. And a state was created not by leader—by people who envisioned a national state, but rather because Singapore, which was legally part of Malaysia, was excluded from the country and thrown out of the country. So that Lee Kuan Yew, as the founder of the country, had to interrupt an announcement of independence because he started to cry, which was a highly unusual, never again perceived, conduct.

But he had the vision to take these three different societies and ethnic groups and managed to relate them to a sense of excellence. And he has the imagination to make English the legal language of the country, because it obliged all of them to deal in a manner that did not emphasize their ethnic qualities. And with this situation, he took Singapore from a per capita income of about $700 to the current close to 70,000 (dollars) a day per capita income and make it a significant modern economy. And he combined that with a political—with an understanding of foreign policy heartily based on his Chinese origin and his British education, that make him an almost unique figure in understanding the trend of events and fulfilling the qualities we mentioned earlier.

And when Lee Kuan Yew came to Washington, senators were eager to meet him. A meeting with the president was ritualistic. And when he went to China, he was received by their leaders. So he played a significant role in two evolutions that were taking place, of the global economy and of the question of war and peace and the relationship of Asia to America. In that sense, he was—there’s no other figure that is comparable to him.

HAASS: Two other questions about the book before I turn to some contemporary issues. One is about the one American of your six leaders, Richard Nixon. Unless I’m—of the six people you profiled, his circumstances when he left office were obviously different. Sadat was assassinated, the others ran into, you know, elections. Lee Kuan Yew had a different tenure. How do we understand Richard Nixon as a leader, given what he accomplished but also his deep flaws? What is your sense? Like, how should history judge Richard Nixon in his totality?

KISSINGER: The night before he, Nixon, resigned, he asked me to spend the evening with him. And he had brought himself to this position as president from origins that were difficult, and through crises that were also unusual. And so the question, one issue that would, of course, torment anybody at this moment, is how history would understand him. And I said to him, history will treat you better than your contemporaries did, because they would not have self-evidently understood his deeper motivations. Richard, and your viewers may know, I was appointed to this position with a very different background.

I had never met Richard Nixon. I never had a conversation with him. I had been a major advisor and close personal friend of Nelson Rockefeller. And the fact that Nixon made that choice, for which I had no means of applying, much less conceiving it, showed a degree of—a great degree of courage. And when I asked Nelson Rockefeller for advice on whether to take it, which was a very foolish question because when one receives such an offer one has an obligation to—from the president of the United States—one has an obligation to attempt to undertake it. Nelson Rockefeller said, Nixon is taking a much greater chance on you than you on him. And that was totally true.

But the reason I included President Nixon is because he defined the issue in a way most compatible with my view of the situation. He felt, as I did, that America had alternated between periods of excessive optimism and periods of withdrawal. But then, inheriting a war in Vietnam with five hundred thousand Americans already in place and therefore not in a position to be just turned off like a television program, that America needed a withdrawal from Vietnam in a manner that preserved its willingness to conduct international policy. And that he also—we also needed an expansion of the then-protections of the world to include China.

So at one and the same time we had to deal with an American disaster, but make it a withdrawal that did not sacrifice millions of people who, in reliance on American promises, had established a non-communist rule of government, and opened the American perspective by opening to China and then using that opening to turn confrontations with the Soviet Union into at least the beginning of a dialogue of a comparable world structure. Those were views he strongly held and carried out in a number of courageous decisions.

He did not supplement it with an equally perceptive view of how to operate within the American system. And so he had in him an element of insecurity that sometimes made him react to challenges in an excessive way. So I believe that in the field of foreign policy, with which I was exclusively involved, but also as a national figure he will be perceived by history with greater respect for his intentions, and the recognition of his significant achievements in relations with our adversaries, but also in peace processes in the Middle East.

HAASS: Henry, we live in an age in which we’ve got social media, where all sorts of individuals or communities now select their own sets of facts or truths, where conspiracy theories proliferate. I think we can just posit the idea that this makes leadership, effective leadership, more difficult. If you were to write a new volume on leadership, do you see anybody out there right now in this context who you say, this is a great leader? Or is it simply—has it become almost too difficult to be a great leader anymore, given the technologies and given the politics we’re seeing around the world?

KISSINGER: There are two aspects to this question. One, when you look at the careers of the leaders I described, some of them were not recognized as leaders in their time. When Sadat became president of Egypt, I sometimes thought he was a character out of Aida, who was making grandiloquent statements but with no relation to implementing them, which he then later did in exile in an extraordinary way. Of course, de Gaulle as a—the lowest-ranking brigadier general in the French army, appointed himself as the leader of the Free French, and made it stick because his convictions coincided with the historical necessity.

So when he returned to Paris, where the people—in 1944—where the people didn’t even know what he looked like, since they had only experienced him through BBC. He established himself over all the contending forces as the person who should lead France to the next period. He came as close to implementing his vision through a turbulent history, in such a way that one can say current French policy is basically shaped by Gaullist convictions.

HAASS: I think you may have frozen there in virtual. Are you—no, I see you now there, good. Let me turn to the current situation, if I may, beyond the book. Let’s start, just one question on China. I want to get to our members pretty quickly, sir. U.S. relations with China, the Sino-American relationship as we used to call it, has deteriorated across two or, to some extent, even three presidencies. Certainly, over the last one and the current one. Indeed, there is not a whole lot of difference, it would seem at times, between the foreign policies of the previous administration in this country and the current one. One of the constants during that time is that China is led by Xi Jinping.

So my question is, do you see a basis for a somewhat improved relationship between the United States and China? And what would—what needs to be done to change this momentum? If you could—if you could suggest, whether it’s a policy question or a process question, what do you think could actually change this momentum for the better, given that it’s hard to see how the interests of either country are served by this steady deterioration?

KISSINGER: China always presented a special challenge, in turn, because of its magnitude. We have never had to deal with a country of comparable or potentially economic and even, to some extent, military strength. But also because of its philosophy of leadership, which is almost the opposite of the American. America, emerging out of its imperial environment, with oceans on both sides, had established foreign policy only relatively recently on a global basis. And then in a sense that there were a series of specific problems that had a precise solution, after which the tensions caused by these problems would disappear and create normalcy of mutual understanding of the issues or interests. And China perceives of its history of a continuous process over thousands of years.

And so they look at the issues less in terms of their appearance than as an expression of a process. So an American negotiator would usually have a number of specifics that relates to individual problems. The Chinese are always interpreting as a—as a process. So as China became a formidable country, militarily and economically, it presented that innate difficulty. Then there was the ideological difference, in which American leaders have the conviction that our values are relevant to the entire world, and therefore judge countries in a significant way by the degree to which they approximate our notions of proper conduct. The Chinese look at foreign policy as the operation of historic entities. They use communism not as in a missionary sense, but in a sense of organizing their society, and therefore have been strongly rejecting of the missionary aspect of American policy.

At the beginning of the process when relations were opened, China was impelled into it in part by its fear of the Soviet Union. And so Nixon and Mao could agree on arrangements for the international order, as they understood it, and about the relationship of America to China in terms of the national interest of both sides, and adjusting their actions to these understandings. Which were not spelled out in great detail but arose from a parallel vision of conception. As China has become more powerful and moved into a position of near equivalence to the United States, a whole new set of issues arose.

And the key challenge philosophically—or, a key challenge exists in relations with adversaries. Is it the best course to confront them at every moment in time, with an attempt at every point to achieve a superior position in every respect? Or is it better to understand that each of us will have to be part of a global system and that within that it is useful and important that each has a stake in the activities of the other, which the aggressive side risks by a less cooperative means of negotiations? And we are now in a phase, and it started and continued through four administrations, on the principle that each side recognized that the other represented a potential threat, and therefore felt necessary to have a requisite level of armament. But it also thought to develop efforts of cooperative measures that gave—that worked against the temptation of using one’s superior power as the chief element of the—of the relationship.

It worked tolerably well. It worked actually quite well through four administrations. In the last two administrations, the element of confrontation has become the principal element. And so what needs to be done, I can say as an outsider not having to do it, is to see whether one can establish a level of dialogue with China in which one can focus on the principal dangers in the world. And one of the overwhelming danger in the world is that a war between high-tech countries, like China and the United States, is likely to produce a devastation in the world whose impact would be deeper even than World War I, which nevertheless cracked Europe as a principal leader of the world.

So they should at least be able to agree, one, that that is a danger that they are uniquely able to contribute to overcoming. And that once they have agreed that this—that their policies would be conducted on that public basis, they could set up, from an outsider’s point of view, mechanisms by which they can talk to each other in the early phases of crises to see how they could be limited or avoided all together, and now to deal in common with some issues, of which climate control is the most outstanding example. But I would think the evolution of technology should be ranked very high on the list.

HAASS: Henry, let me follow that up and just—I don’t mean to put words in your mouth—but implicit on what you just said is that there’s, at least in principle from your point of view, the possibility remains the United States and China working out an acceptable modus vivendi. Would you say the same thing about the United States and Russia, so long as Mr. Putin is in power and this war is going on? Or do you think, to use an expression you used in some of your writing, that Putin’s Russia is a revolutionary power and seeks not to operate within a world order that we would find acceptable, but rather seeks to overthrow it? Is there, in some ways, a fundamental difference between how you see Russia under Putin and China under Xi?

KISSINGER: Well, Russia has had a different history from China, of course. I would prefer not to tie it to a personality. And I think it is not a correct analysis to make it a challenge of a personality. The basic challenge arose when the wall in Berlin collapsed and the whole region between the center of Europe and the Russian border became open to restructuring. And that from the Russian border, the United States then attempted to integrate this whole region, without exception, into an American-led strategic system, so that the safety belt that Russia had had for its history, in which the aggressors were usually defeated at the gates of Moscow, partly because they had been exhausted by having to traverse the territory—(inaudible). Therefore, I thought it was not a wise American policy to attempt to include Ukraine into NATO.

None of this excuses the conduct of Putin in the way he attempted to solve it. And to attempt to reincorporate Ukraine into a Russian sphere by military force, and a surprise attack, were incompatible with the international system, and incompatible with order. So the issue is that a peace can be made with Putin. I don’t know that, because we would have to explore it. And it would—but it’s not necessarily easier by his successors, who could appeal to the nationalist element even more.

So one should seek an opportunity for an arrangement that guarantees Ukrainian freedom and keeps in mind the fact that, henceforth, Ukraine will be part of the European system. So the issue of Ukraine membership in NATO has been settled, in that sense, by its—whether it’s formalized or becomes tacit. And Russia has, in a way, already lost the war because the capacity it had in the entire post–World War II period—and you might even argue in some respects since the Napoleonic period but let’s confine ourselves to the post–World War II period—its capacity to send Europe its conventional attack has now been demonstrably overcome. And the negotiation with Russia should concern the creation of what relationship Europe and a Russia more aware of its limits are going to carry out.

And another question is whether Russia becomes the easternmost structure of the Western world vis-à-vis Asia, or whether it becomes an outpost of Asia towards the Western world. And that fundamental question requires dialogue and wisdom and the cooperation of the presentation of the, in a way already established, victor and their strategic issue. Then, of course, there’s the question of the borders of Ukraine or a cease-fire that I thought about months ago. And I thought the status quo ante was the best way for a cease-fire that the war might end, like so many wars have ended, by just metering out of that question and having a negotiating process going on.

But I think right now if one wants to avoid the danger of an escalation into nuclear weapons, which we could overcome militarily by which would change the nature of international relations because it would open a field of technology that has no limits, that has never been experimented with and that it’s too dangerous to link to the decisions that would have to be made under the impact of its power. So I think the Russian challenge depends on us to the extent of whether we can design a dialogue that maintains some military strength and exhibiting a situation, but permits Russian leaders to develop a concept of—or to adhere eventually to a concept of coexistence. To make the overthrow of a leader the precondition makes it more difficult.

But our thinking ought to be alternative of personalities and focus on our goals and on the kind of world we want to have emerge. And I think we have done more systematic thinking about China than about Russia.

HAASS: Interesting. OK, Kayla, we’ve gone on a while. Let’s get a few questions in, if we can, from our members, for Dr. Kissinger.

OPERATOR: (Gives queuing instructions.)

Q: Great. Thank you so much for a really interesting conversation. Mike Poznansky of the U.S. Naval War College.

My question is, Dr. Kissinger, are there certain attributes that are more or less important for leaders depending on the context in which they are leading? So, for example, are some attributes more valuable in democracies for leaders versus leaders in authoritarian systems? If a country is developing versus developed? Or are the attributes of successful leaders basically the same, irrespective of the context? Thanks very much.

KISSINGER: The attributes change to come extent with the history of a society. But there is at a—a minimum condition for great achievement for a society is to believe in its purposes and its—and in its historical record. And if the educational system of a country becomes increasingly focused on the shortcomings of its history and less on the purposes of the society, then its capacity to act internationally will be diverted into its internal struggles. And if it's internal struggles that make it difficult to take the essential measures for strategic thought, then the international system and the country’s security become impaired in a new way.

HAASS: Let’s get another question, Kayla, if we can.

OPERATOR: We’ll take the next question from Meena Bose.

Q: Thank you. This is Meena Bose from Hofstra University. Thank you, Dr. Kissinger, for your instructive discussion today.

I’m curious as to your studies about leadership and world strategy in the twentieth century, what they indicate about prospects for the U.S. role in the world in the coming decades. Particularly, I’m concerned about how the United States can exercise global leadership effectively as domestic and economic policy appear to be much higher priorities for the American public, and therefore constrain policymakers? Thank you.

KISSINGER: Well, I basically agree with the sense of that question, which in interpret whether the objective conditions within a society can become so controversial that the application of those legends cannot long—cannot be translated or translated only with increasing difficulties into its need to deal with other societies. I think that is a key question for our period.

HAASS: Henry, to follow up on that, can you imagine there being order in the world if the United States is unable or unwilling to play the sort of role going forward that it’s played for the last seventy-five years?

KISSINGER: The question of whether it should play that role—

HAASS: No, whether order is possible, the United States can—

KISSINGER: It’s still—it’s still open. I mean, the American leadership in every administration since World War II has attempted to do that, but the conditions for it are weakening. And there’s also a second question, that the kind of leadership we executed when we had a monopoly of nuclear power and a huge predominance economically was of a different kind than the kind of leadership that is needed in the period of greater equivalence of military power and infinitely greater complexity of economic and social issues.

So the adjustment of American thinking requires a new phase of creativity like the one we carried out in the aftermath of the Second World War. And the success of that policy to an important way, plus the emergence of reality in strength and impact of other countries—like China, but also like the emergence of India or Brazil—that this inclusion of societies that get influence in international affairs and of the means that they have at their disposal requires an educational system that produces leaders that can think in these qualities and has produced an interregnum in effective global leadership that’s not partisan, but partly cultural.

HAASS: Let’s get in one last question, Kayla.

OPERATOR: We’ll take our last question from Martin Indyk.

Q: Thank you. Henry, it’s a—it’s a wonderful book that you’ve written and I found it very enlightening, especially the chapters on de Gaulle and Lee Kuan Yew. So congratulations.

I wanted to go back to the book that Richard referred to in introducing you, the one that you wrote at the Council on Foreign Relations on nuclear weapons and foreign policy, where, if I were to crudely summarize it, you made the argument that the United States needed to have the ability to develop and deploy tactical nuclear weapons. Otherwise, it would face an impossible situation. Here today we have a situation where the leader of Russia is regularly threatening to use nuclear weapons, and the assumption is that he’s talking about using his tactical nuclear weapons. How should the United States think about the introduction of this threat? And what should we be doing to deal not just with the threat, but also with the possible use by Putin as he becomes more and more desperate of tactical nuclear weapons?

KISSINGER: Well, it will face us with a dilemma I wrote about sixty years ago at the Council of what reaction is appropriate once nuclear weapons are used. But at that time, we had a huge predominance of nuclear weapons, and the message(s) that were appropriate then have been now infinitely complicated because we want to avoid a Russian victory. And we must remember that, in any case but especially after nuclear weapons are used, we cannot permit nuclear weapons to become conventional weapons. But the appropriate reaction, therefore, I hope is being studied prayerfully because it isn’t just the immediate outcome that will result from that but the interpretation of the use of power and the legitimacy of power. So we cannot permit Russia, after it has used nuclear weapons, to achieve outcomes we were opposed to before they were used and—for the reason of preventing them from becoming conventional.

But the nature of our reaction, so I would respond as long as absolutely possible with conventional weapons or other means. And I would sharpen our terms. I would not offer Russia better terms after the war after they have initiated nuclear weapons. And therefore, it is very important that the nature of the terms—the general nature of the terms—are presented to the other side in some form to which they can react and which would occupy their thinking.

Russia is the weaker country in this context. And a certain—and simply to refuse dialogue, it’s dangerous. The complexity is very great for the administration because they do not want to demoralize Ukraine, and it’s appropriate to say that Ukraine should have a major voice in the outcome. But there are two issues in this war: One, the position of Ukraine; and the second, the long-term relationship between Russia—between the emerging Russia and Europe. And it is not in the interest of the world, or certainly not of the West, to have a Russia that’s been totally excluded from the Western system. And therefore, some dialogue, maybe on an unofficial level, maybe in an exploratory way, is very important in this prelude—hopefully not prelude, but in this nuclear environment simply to let it drift into a battlefield decision of trying to solve—of Russia trying to solve a strategic problem makes the risk of an ultimate solution too great.

This has nothing to do with whether one likes Putin or not. His last set of decisions have certainly been reckless and immoral. But we are dealing, when nuclear weapons become introduced, with a historic alteration in the world system. And a dialogue between Russia and the West is important in a manner that preserves the strategic objectives that I’ve already mentioned.

HAASS: I—sorry. Go ahead.

KISSINGER: I’ve probably run over time.

HAASS: I didn’t mean to cut you off. I was actually just going to say I thought you’d finished and I wanted to thank you. As always, you’ve given us a great deal to think about, both by what you had to say today in the last hour, also in your most recent book. And just want to thank you for continuing to do so much to contribute to this ongoing conversation we have about the world and this country’s relationship with it. So thank you for your time. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.

I want to thank the members of the Council for joining us today. The transcript of this meeting and the video will be up on rather shortly. I wish everyone a good weekend. My advice is you keep your umbrella close at hand given the weather report. Stay safe. Stay well.

And again, thank you, Dr. Kissinger, not just for today but for your relationship with this institution over the last sixty-plus years.


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