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Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger: Perceptions of International Politics

Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Henry Kissinger
    Book Description:

    Henry Kissinger conducted American foreign policy with a distinctive assurance and panache that gave dramatic force to his tenure as secretary of state. His was the shaping hand in decisions that led to detente with the Soviet Union, to opening relations with the People's Republic of China, and to "shuttle" diplomacy in the Middle East and the disengagement of Egypt and Israel during the 1973 war.

    Taking a fresh look at the statecraft of Henry Kissinger, Harvey Starr brings to bear a variety of analytical methods on data drawn from different stages in Kissinger's career to define and explain the beliefs and perceptions that formed the ground of his policy decisions. Using psychohistory and content analysis, Starr defines Kissinger's perceptions of his adversaries -- the Soviet Union and Red China -- and draws revealing comparisons between Kissinger and John Foster Dulles.Henry Kissinger: Perceptions of International Politicsis an illuminating view of an important era in American diplomacy.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6450-2
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Part I. Henry Kissinger:: Biographical and Psychological Study

    • 1 The Study of Henry Kissinger: Why and How
      (pp. 3-15)

      In his Harvard senior thesis, “The Meaning of History,” Henry Kissinger observed that, “Everybody is a product of an age, a nation, and environment. But beyond that, he constitutes what is essentially unapproachable by analysis, the form of the form, the creative essence of history, the moral personality.”¹ However, the personalities of foreignpolicy decision makers arenot“essentially unapproachable by analysis.” Although the decision maker is, indeed, difficult to study, there are ways one can approach understanding the individual and can “gain access” to his personality as revealed in his thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. This book is an application of...

    • 2 A Biographical and Psychohistorical Overview
      (pp. 16-43)

      Biographical studies are a traditional approach to understanding public officials as individuals and their policies. The typical biography draws a portrait of the individual through history, chronology, and descriptive detail. Usually, data sources are interviews, material written by the subject (especially private documents, such as letters, secret memos, etc.), secondary material about the subject and his times, chronologies of historical events, including journalistic accounts, and sometimes interviews with the subject himself.

      Several biographies and analyses of Kissinger include all of the above. They are very useful in setting out, step by step, thepublicrecord of policy while Kissinger was...

    • 3 Kissinger’s Operational Code
      (pp. 44-74)

      Over the years, political observers have referred to the “mysterious” Kissinger—characterizing him as inexplicable, unpredictable, and full of surprises.¹ During Kissinger’s tenure in Washington, others indicated concern about his personal style, personality, or “way of thinking” about international politics. These views are usually based upon a caricature of Kissinger’s complex personality and his equally complex belief system and conceptual framework. Kissinger was not really that mysterious. In addition to the access to Kissinger gained through review of his biography and a psychohistorical overview of those biographical facts, for an academic like Kissinger there is a large body of scholarly,...

  7. Part II. Images of the Soviet Union and China:: A Content-Analytic Study

    • 4 Introduction: Operational Code and Content Analysis
      (pp. 77-81)

      Part I bring together biographical, perceptual, intellectual, and policy-making analyses of Henry Kissinger—the youth, the adult, the academic, and the foreign-policy decision maker. Part II focuses specifically on the last of these stages. Henry Kissinger the foreign-policy decision maker is investigated in depth and in a more focused manner than was possible for the broad descriptions of policy positions that were presented in conjunction with his operational code.

      The original empirical research reported in Part II describes and analyzes the images of the Soviet Union and China that Kissinger held while he was a high-level decision maker. The description...

    • 5 Research Design
      (pp. 82-93)

      The content analysis of Henry Kissinger’s images of the Soviet Union and China is designed to address issues involved in the study of foreign policy and international relations. The issues raise the questions of whether individuals make a difference and how they might do so, and under what conditions. These questions involve access to decision makers, the study of perceptions, images, and belief systems, and related concerns.

      In the simplest terms, Kissinger’s images have been examined for how open or closed they might be, how they relate to previous beliefs, and how they relate to U.S., Soviet, and Chinese foreign-policy...

    • 6 Perceptions of the Soviet Union: Kissinger and Dulles
      (pp. 94-106)

      This chapter sets out Kissinger’s evaluations, or images, of the Soviet Union. This task is primarily descriptive, indicating the content of the images and presenting their patterns of change over time.

      As we have seen, Kissinger’s operational code delineated his general views of international relations. This chapter concentrates on Kissinger’s general evaluation and hostility evaluation of America’s main opponent in the international system, the state most likely to be perceived as the “enemy.” How positive or negative were Kissinger’s images of the Soviet Union? How “open” or “closed” was he to new information? Did his images change in response to...

    • 7 Perceptions of the Soviet Union and China
      (pp. 107-122)

      For both Dulles and Kissinger, as American foreign-policy decision makers, the Soviet Union was the primary object and main focus of United States foreign policy. To Dulles, the Soviet Union was the center of a monolithic force called international Communism. To Kissinger, American-Soviet relations were the core of any stable international order. Of all the international actors, it was the Soviet Union that had to be enmeshed within a web of interdependence with the West, so that it too would have a stake in the existing international order. It is not surprising, then, that the Nixon(Ford)—Kissinger era has been...

    • 8 The Superpower Triad: Perceptions and Behavior
      (pp. 123-142)

      An important issue in the application and utility of psychological or cognitive approaches in the study of foreign policy is the relationship between psychological factors and behavior. Chapters 2 and 3 set out the elements of Kissinger’s belief system and some of the psychological/psychoanalytic influences on that belief system. Chapter 3 also presents evidence to indicate that Kissinger’s belief system was directly related to Kissinger’s behavior when he assumed a foreign-policy decision-making role—allowing him to act out the role of the statesman.

      The last two chapters have also shown that Kissinger’s belief system, as delineated by the operational-code analysis,...

    • 9 The Context of Perceptions and Behavior
      (pp. 143-157)

      Clearly, both events and perceptions are the results of a complex of factors affecting foreign policy. This complex is, in effect, the context of a foreign-policy document and reflects factors both internal to the decision-making process and external to the nation-state. This chapter examines aspects of this context. First, especially given the weak direct linkages between perceptions and behavior noted in chapter 8, it might be useful to investigate the proposed U.S.-Soviet Union-China relationships by skipping the perceptual stage. In this chapter some rudimentary analyses are performed usingonlythe foreign-policy events data. These analyses permit a more complete appreciation...

    • 10 A World Perceived: Conclusion
      (pp. 158-162)

      As a study of Kissinger theindividualdecision maker, this text provides various forms of access to Kissinger—biographical, psychobiographical, operational-code, and evaluative assertion analyses—and permits the comparison and partial validation of the methodologies used to provide that access. This study of Kissinger is meant to illuminate individual/psychological factors in the foreign-policy process, and in American foreign policy from 1969 to 1976, focusing particularly on the U.S.Soviet Union-China triad. Part I describes Henry Kissinger the individual, and looks at the connections between personality, beliefs, and decision-making behavior. In Part II, substantive foreign-policy tasks are oriented around a set of...

  8. Appendix: The Use of Content Analysis
    (pp. 163-173)
  9. Notes
    (pp. 174-200)
  10. Index
    (pp. 201-206)