World Order

I’m sitting at the breakfast table while Gotham Gal does the NY Times Crossword puzzle and we are looking at this


That’s Lake Como.

I’m reading “the paper” on my phone and sipping coffee and enjoying the scenery.

This op-ed by Henry Kissinger in yesterday’s WSJ caught my attention.

It certainly seems true that the world order of the past 70 years is fading fast and that we are facing a search for a new world order.

Kissinger has some suggestions in his op-ed and his new book which the op-ed is an advertisement for.

I think my partner Albert’s thoughts on the changes facing society are also quite relevant to this discussion.

It is a bit strange to be reading about and thinking about all the strife and dislocation in the world in such an idyllic setting but that’s what I am doing this morning.

#Blogging On The Road

Comments (Archived):

  1. Sheamus

    “It is a bit strange to be reading about and thinking about all the strife and dislocation in the world in such an idyllic setting.”I think these contrasts keep us in touch with reality, like opening up Feedly your iPad and being presented with a story about famine or absolute poverty. It’s easy to forget how fortunate many of us are, relatively.As an aside, I learned to swim in Lake Como, as a 7 year-old staying with (Italian) family friends by the water. Haven’t thought about that in a long time, so thanks for the memory.

  2. Michael Burnett

    I’m an american vc based in Milan and have been following your trip via your fotos. I was also in argentario this august, staying at rocca spagnola (a converted fort overlooking porto ercole, once owned by Sofia Loren and her husband). Enjoy your time in Italy as these world issues will continue even post your return to NY. If near Milan and interested in hearing about the Italian VC/early stage company scene, let me know and I’ll buy you an aperativo.

      1. Michael Burnett

        I’ll have a look. Thanks.

      2. David Semeria

        Nice one Arnold!

        1. awaldstein

          Was a really good session David.A rare performance by you as well!

          1. David Semeria

            As rare as hen’s teeth as my mother would say.

          2. awaldstein

            I am hopeful honestly that Fred’s travels will bring him in shouting distance of Milan and you get to spend some time.The fish baked in salt was something on it’s own, worth coming for!

          3. David Semeria

            I recall Fred saying that he just wanted to chill with Joanne, which seems very reasonable to me.But then again you’re right about the fish baked in salt, it’s worth crossing an ocean for!

          4. awaldstein

            I intend to…

          5. David Semeria


  3. jason wright

    Lake Como is referenced in Hemingway’s A Farewell To Arms. When it rains in Hemingway’s stories bad things are about to happen. It’s raining here this morning. Thinking of that man Kissinger does nothing to lighten the mood.

  4. LIAD

    read it over the weekend. The guy is 91 and still as sharp as a razor.”To play a responsible role in the evolution of a 21st-century world order, the U.S. must be prepared to answer a number of questions for itself:What do we seek to prevent, no matter how it happens, and if necessary alone? What do we seek to achieve, even if not supported by any multilateral effort?”aka Decisive leadership and an absolute moral compass.Obama blew it again last week with his ‘no strategy yet on ISIS’. Cameron gave a very strong speech about the coming perils.

    1. William Mougayar

      Obama…Cameron…UN. All of them, just talk. No action.

      1. lonnylot

        How can you say there is no action? In the past few weeks alone the US strikes against the ISIS has helped the Kurdish forces regain ground and the sanctions against Russia have reportedly had serious effects on the Russian economy.

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          And those effects are nice for East Ukraine…

          1. lonnylot

            What would you suggest should have been done?

          2. Dave W Baldwin

            I was answering your implication that Russia issue was solved… I think what we have is an invasion. Our administration started from point of weakness which enforced Putin’s decision to keep going. Informing Putin we would not stand for him sending troops into the Ukraine followed by sending real machinery ( not candy bars) and intelligence to Ukraine and following thru (not say something and cut/run) would have called Putin’s hand.The dominoes fall in East Europe. Now we’ll see how they fall in Mideast where you have ISIS truly using social media to recruit and al Queda trying to play catch up…. And our Southern border is opened as there is no way our patrol can do its job.

          3. lonnylot

            “I was answering your implication that Russia issue was solved”I think you’ve misunderstood me. I wasn’t implying that at all. We are debating the strategy of an event in the middle of the event taking place. No one will actually know what was right or what could have been for some time.

          4. sigmaalgebra

            > The dominoes fall in East Europe.I have a tough time regarding them as “dominoes”. Or, who there really wants the Russian Bear running their lives? Or, when Viet Nam fell, dominoes were supposed to fall all around SE Asia and the South Pacific and land on the beaches of San Diego. Viet Nam did fall, and no dominoes landed.ISIS? From all I can see, mostly they have done well only in Sunni areas and, there, mostly just to drive out the Shiites.Our southern border? We can close it off anytime the voters want to.

          5. Dave W Baldwin

            Sorry a simple metaphor/analogy offends.Re Isis, you can excuse slaughter to be on higher platitude, but go back to my question re how many become active in the US?They are doing it without the Administration’s intended/unintended job on the South border.Re the border, the voters won’t get a choice.

          6. sigmaalgebra

            Sorry a simple metaphor/analogy offends. Sorry, I’m not following you, not sure just what you mean by “a simple metaphor/analogy”. And I certainly meant no offense. Here at the bar at Fred’s Place, I’ll buy you a beer or buy us two beers and a pint each of New England clam chowder with those little crackers.Maybe the problem is where I said that ISIS has “done well”. I certainly didn’t mean that they were nice but only that they won some, at least at first glance, seemingly surprising military victories.For you can excuse slaughter to be on higher platitude, I’m not intending to “excuse slaughter” in any sense for any reason.I believe mostly, basically I get it on what some determined, angry, war making fundamentalist Sunni Muslims can do: They are eager to slaughter Shiite Muslims, Christians, Kurds, Jews, supporters of Assad, supporters of the Shiite governent in Baghdad, maybe anyone who worked with the US, …. They can slaughter, including up close, one on one, in person, with car bombs, with IEDs, etc. nearly anyone for any reason or no reason. They can be sadistic, etc.We know that, and know well such things going way back, in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere. re how many become active in the US? I wasn’t trying to respond to that, but, okay:Some may become “active” in the US. Apparently recently the King of Saudi Arabia claimed such.But I suspect that the US intelligence agencies, FBI, DHS, etc. are not counting on only meager or moderate levels of hate, anger, evil, determination, and ingenuity but are assuming the worst and trying to protect us from it.We did relatively well protecting ourselves during WWI, WWII, and the Cold War when there easily could have been plenty of enemy agents “active” in the US. I suspect we can do still better now and are trying hard to do so.Whatever I think of Obama, and usually it’s not so good, I do believe that he is bright enough to get it on telling the relevant department heads that if they permit another 9/11 or even Boston Bomber, then the Republicans will be coming after him and the Democrats and under Obama, just to defend against the Republican attacks, lots of Administration heads will roll. I’m no great fan of our AG, but I do believe he is strong willed enough to tell the FBI that part of their job is to make sure no more than 0.0000 wacko Jihaders get away even with jaywalking. Such things can be done, and by now the FBI, etc, likely have the means to do so. We’ve paid a high price in our privacy; now we should expect to get a lot of security.On Re the border, the voters won’t get a choice. I’m not sure I clearly understand what you are saying. In principle, the US voters do get a “choice”, e.g., at the next election. Indeed, even before an election, enough in opinion poll results, demonstrations, letters and phone calls to Congress, etc., and a lot can happen right away, evenings and weekends included. E.g., here at we helped shoot down SOPA and PIPA, and down they went; no waiting for an election needed.As soon as enough US citizens want the borders shut, “SLAM, BANG”, the borders will be closed tight enough to keep out even cockroaches. We can do that. There are ways. The only issue is the will. As soon as the voters want the border shut, shut it will be. I want it shut. Others, speak up, too.

          7. Dave W Baldwin

            Ok, guess I come off crotchety old man.Good news is it looks like NATO is going to send something into Ukraine. On the Iraq/Syria front, it does get down to more than someone like North saying just bomb the shit out of ’em. Probably too simplified, but if you can do something that forces ISIS to move East or West (begin to see patterns) then you get them when they move there.Bigger fear on the Terror side is now you have competitors going for prize (al Qaeda and ISIS).We did compromise privacy and in the end I think the majority do know we have to have security monitoring traffic to pick up on a pattern.Have a good week and, BTW, I was part of that fight against SOPA and PIPA also 😉

          8. Pete Griffiths

            Our administration IS in a position of weakness with respect to Ukraine. Russia is right next door and we are not. The logistical challenges alone are enormous. Putin’s actions aren’t as irrational as they may appear to us. In this regard most Americans and Western Europeans are blessed with an almost total ignorance of Russia’s history and perspective on events.

          9. Dave W Baldwin

            Once again I was responding to the claim regarding sanctions.

        2. William Mougayar

          It’s not enough, or it’s coming too late. It takes foresight to act ahead of a crisis.

          1. lonnylot

            I’m gathering that you and I have vastly different views on the current state of foreign affairs and how they should be handled :)I respectfully disagree w/ your assertions on what should be done and what is actually possible to do.

          2. William Mougayar

            I agree that the US/Western countries should stop these bad things around the world, but was saying I wished that was done earlier, and with more decisiveness (and effectiveness), not when push comes to shove at the last minute of averting further disasters. Where do you see the disagreement- in the timing part?

          3. lonnylot

            I suppose I made a few assumptions in my head w/o asking/expressing them.I feel as though we have a disagreement as to what degree Western countries are able to and should interfere. For instance, I do not think that Western countries could have interfered w/ the current situation w/ ISIS much differently than they have and I do not think they should interfere in a much larger capacity than they currently are.I’d also argue that the current situation there does not lack decisiveness and effectiveness. I’d say that the current situation has more subtle decisions, which are intentionally not being presented to the world as us making a decision, whose effects are yet to be fully realized.For instance, one reason we took so long before doing drone strikes against the ISIS is to put pressure on the then current PM of Iraq to step aside. It was a calculated decision. Now we are doing drone strikes, there is a new PM in Iraq, and the ISIS is being pushed back.

    2. Alex Murphy

      Great quote: “aka Decisive leadership and an absolute moral compass.”This is missing as a society at every level.Too much emphasis on doing what is easy, rather than what is hard.

      1. JamesHRH

        This moral compass and leadership issue is just a tragedy, in almost all countries.In Canada, our PM has a moral compass.Unfortunately, its set to ‘pander to my base voters to ensure turn out; do things you can do even if you should not (never illegal, lots of shameful, hyper-partisan, low brow stupidity)’.His main challenger is completely unqualified pretty boy. He is what I call a Sinclair Liberal (he is the son of the wife of our most dynamic PM, Pierre Trudeau…..sadly he is his mother, not his father……she was most famous for stepping out on the PM w Mick & Studio 54 in the ’70’s……oh joy!)

    3. JamesHRH

      Kissinger is a relic, at least with his American Exceptionalism schtick.That is so 1985.

  5. awaldstein

    Heading north I see.Enjoy. Italy is beautiful beyond words.

    1. JamesHRH

      Arnold, your priorities – Fred’s relaxation, Italy’s beauty – are all out of whack :DThere’s nasty political business afoot to discuss. Get your game face on!

    2. sigmaalgebra

      Q. The US has to struggle to keep pretty US things from going to trash. How does Italy solve this problem?

  6. feargallkenny

    Quite depressing. This macro view is also worth a read from irish economist david mcwilliams http://www.davidmcwilliams….

    1. William Mougayar

      Good read. Yes, for some parts of the world, we are returning to the darkness of the middle ages, sadly.

      1. Pete Griffiths

        Why assume it will only be for ‘some parts of the world?’Those of us who live in a privileged rationalist bubble may underestimate the danger of us slipping back into barbarism.It has happened before. The Greeks. The Arabs… Civilizations whose contributions were lost for centuries.Irrational forces run very deep.

  7. JimHirshfield

    Beautiful shot and thought provoking post. I side with GG on this one… favor the crossword puzzle over Kissinger.BTW, mobile upload or laptop?

    1. fredwilson

      Sticking with posting from my phone. Laptop means work to me and I’m avoiding that like the plague. Its pissing off a lot of readers though. They hate the big photos

      1. jason wright

        is your email account set to auto response mode?

        1. fredwilson


      2. William Mougayar

        In hindisght, I like the big photos for these posts. It adds a degree of reality and sensationalism to them.

  8. awaldstein

    Just pre ordered book.Thanks for the heads up.

  9. pointsnfigures

    I think there are similarities to the past, but the future requires independent thinking and action. What is happening today is not like WW1 or WW2 but certainly you can always find some parallels. ISIS is pretty ugly. The European Banks are in trouble with non-performing assets and no unifying political structure to bring discipline to the Euro. “The Rotten Heart of Europe” is a good book to read about it.People’s needs are way out of step with the needs of governments or political power brokers. Enjoy the lakes. I loved it there.

    1. LE

      ISIS is pretty ugly.John Kerry:…They appear to be. But this could also be a case of the media blowing things out of proportion as well based on what the administration is saying. It’s a case of fearing the fear itself. A large amplification.While it sucks to be the person (or the family) that has your head cutoff [1] I haven’t seen any rational quantification of the problem. Other than “killed thousands”. Even if a some people get over here and pull off some small scale terrorist attacks doesn’t amount to the type of widespread death that they make you think is a possibility. More people die everyday from other things in the US. It could be a problem or it could be another “Avian Flu” media story. And we don’t hear much about Assad anymore do we? We did on a nightly basis a while ago. All the sudden there is no problem over there?That said I’d be in favor of whatever military action is needed to take care of the problem. Even at the expense of civilians being killed.[1] They get much bang for the buck with doing things like that. Personally I don’t think it really makes that much difference to the person being killed how they are killed.

      1. Dave W Baldwin

        How many from US need to join those that butcher and force their young captives to watch videos of the mass killings and crucifixions do we need before we have a problem?

      2. sigmaalgebra

        I suspect you will find that ISIS has done well only in Sunni areas and there mostly just to push out the Shiites.Point: Still the Arabs have a tribal society. Sorry Kissinger colleague Paul Bremmer: It’s tribal. You could have understood that, right?Soon enough the leaders of the Sunni tribes will tell ISIS “Thanks for running out the Shiites. Now, settle down. Quit bothering the Kurds. And give up on taking Baghdad. If you still want to fight, then go back to Syria and fight Assad. BTW, bother anymore of our daughters, and your blood will flow.”

  10. William Mougayar

    Kissinger is very dogmatic. His idea of world order assumes that the US and Western nations are going to step-up to the plate and take that role. As much as I wished for it, this isn’t happening. The US blew it in Iraq when they totally “mis-read” the situation, and they subsequently lost the will and abilities to be effective at resolving conflicts abroad. They were opening wounds instead closing cuts. Funny, i wrote this yesterday on my Facebook before even reading Kissinger’s op-ed.”I have come to this conclusion regarding world affairs and the state of existing conflicts: Nobody listens to anybody anymore. Every country is doing what they want, whether it’s good or bad, no one country has been able to have any real influence on another country’s actions or issues. Russia, Korea, Libya, China, Israel, Palestine, Syria, Nigeria, Iraq, etc… Long list of conflicts that aren’t solvable anymore at the global levels, or via “super powers” saying or doing something. These are local conflicts, and they will be resolved or not resolved locally.”The Western world doesn’t want to die anymore to solve the conflicts of the rest of the world. Some parts of the world want to die (and kill) in order to advance their agendas. That’s a big difference. Geographical maps and history are being re-written in some parts of the world, and we are just watching.

    1. JamesHRH

      2/3 of the way through Fareed Zakaria’s ‘ A Post American World ‘. Very cogent analysis.A favourite snipet – ‘Asia’ is a western construct. People form those countries don’t think of it as Asia.Great true themes of the book -1) Western = Modern (everyone in developing world wants modern, which is why young people in China speak English), which means USA not winning because its fundamentally exceptional, but because it has been the source of the most innovation and advancement ( non-permanent attribute ).2) India & China will not consider the American view in 30 years (diminished American relevance versus competition / antagonism between super powers)3) Nature of these countries tied to key historical figures (Gandhi, Nehru, Confucious). This is a personal fave as I fundamentally believe nations & organization can be categories by personality types4) Great challenges: India, advancement in a democracy; China, unity with freedom; America, renewal.Makes Kissinger sound like he time travelled here from 1981 a bit.

      1. William Mougayar

        Zakaria articulates well, and so does Kissinger, but these are mainly commentators roles.Things change when there is action. History shows that those leaders who made their mark were those who simultaneously a) articulated/understood the issues/situation, b) took action to back-up their words/beliefs.Name one western/developed country Leader the world can look up to, and the thugs can fear. They are all mediocre, by historical comparative standards. Yes, we can rally. But for what, and for whom?

        1. JamesHRH

          very well put.I would add why to your last sentence, just because I am that type of person (always looking to help out 😉

          1. William Mougayar

            yes, why is important. which is something a leader would explain well, if they could.

        2. Pete Griffiths

          “Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” Karl Marx

        3. sigmaalgebra

          > Yes, we can rally. But for what, and for whom?Yup, and why? It’s their nasty tempest in their teapot and, to “rally”, our blood and treasure. Bluntly, in time they will burn out, and then they will calm down.

      2. fredwilson

        I loved that book. Read it on vacation in Paris five or six years ago. I blogged about it here at AVC at that time too. I agree with you 100%

      3. Richard

        Eurozone inflation is approaching zero and deflation is the kyrptonite of central banking. What is it about central bankers? They view innovation, falling energy prices, and increasing food harvests as a headwind rather than a tailwind.

    2. JamesHRH

      And yet, globalization is winning and our economic future is more integrated that ever before (while our political attitude is more isolationist than ever).Something has to give.This is a great post, btw William.

      1. William Mougayar

        Of course globalization and economic progress continues for those that want it. But some that also want it are closer to the heat (where the bad stuff is happening), and they are holding their breath, waiting for that craziness to pass.

        1. Pete Griffiths

          Have you read ‘Confessions of an Economic Hitman?’an interesting perspective on the strategic exercise of economic power.

          1. William Mougayar

            no i haven’t, but will check it out. thanks.

      2. Dave Pinsen

        Globalization has been ascendant since Vasco da Gama found a sea route to India, but the political order has changed a lot since then.

        1. JamesHRH

          Zakaria covers that succinctly – in only a limited number of periods in history has political turmoil not affected financial markets…..each period highlighted by the integration of a large number of into a rapidly expanding middle class.

    3. lonnylot

      I think what the West realized is that unless someone fights to obtain something they do not care to defend it. Governments are made up of people. Simply propping a place up and putting in a new government or security force will not motivate the people to care about it.The West isn’t just watching. They’re trying a different strategy that will hopefully have a better long term effect.

      1. William Mougayar

        What is that “different strategy”? And how is it working?

        1. lonnylot

          The previous strategy was to go in personally, defeat the ‘enemy’, and hand over the winnings to someone in the local area to run. The problem that we found out over the past 10 years is that when you do that the people you hand it over to do not care enough because they did not fight to win it. So, for instance, when the ISIS came in through northern Iraq the Iraqi security forces left all of there weapons and fled.The new strategy seems to be to support local forces who are interested in fighting for a cause that we can support. While we have the ability to win it for them we are taking an approach where we let them do the fighting and support them where we can give them the edge (I.E.: drone strikes). The idea being, I assume, is that they come out caring more about what they have won than what we have given them.How it is working is yet to be determined. The last strategy had 10+ years to work itself out and we’d honestly have to wait a few more years before weighing in on this. Measure. Check. Measure. Check.

          1. Nick Devane

            Isn’t the old strategy something more like defeat the ‘enemy’, take the winnings and hand over geo-political control to a puppet in the name of liberation/democracy?Look at the Tehran Conference. Before the Allies invaded Northern France, Churchill favored a more focused Mediterranean invasion with an eye for British interests in the region. Stalin was able to lobby his interests in Eastern Europe coming off of a strong soviet victory in Kursk. This meant getting the Allied powers to agree to Soviet control of the area. All parties agreed to supporting Iran in the aftermath due to their contributions to the war effort.The conference itself was required due to growing distrust and disorganization among the allied powers. America didn’t want to prop British Imperialism, no one wanted to support Soviet control of Eastern Europe, yet look at the outcomes.The reemergence and invoking of the caliphate makes sense as traditionally the most successful reaction to Western powers occupying the Middle East. Tribal roots run deep, and more alarming is Boko Haram invoking the caliphate as well last week. The last Caliphate in the 1920s was even allied with Hindu communities for a time gaining Ghandi on its governing committee during the British occupation of India.What certainly does not work is going in with force and attempting to hand colonial division to deeply fractured tribal hands. We have tried every combination of checks and balances with implemented governments, but ultimately one tribe gets control and promotes self-interest, most often with violence. The caliphate is an attempt to invoke an Arab state greater than any drawn up by European powers.What has not been allowed to happen, and perhaps cannot, is letting the local environment self-organize/implode. In no way am I supporting the ‘cancer’ of ISIS, but the West has barely touched Syria as Assad murders 200,000 of his own citizens with help from Russia. The reason we hear about ISIS now is largely their viral marketing of terror, quick ascent and large aspirations. The fear is what does a lone match burning look like vs. on in a book.Of the Arab Spring, the only country with any ground intervention by NATO, Libya, is currently the most fractured and lawless. The “no strategy yet on ISIS” is a reaction to this. Obama fights ISIS in Syria, inadvertently helping Assad, or he stays mum as ISIS takes advantage of the internal turmoil there. The enemy of my enemy is also my enemy, something we did not encounter, or perhaps recognize, at the Tehran Conference (although today we still witness the effects of providing Stalin claim to Eastern Europe, as Russia quietly moves tanks, artillery and troops into position in southeastern Ukraine).Everyone is quick to bring up Kurds in the context of the ISIS battles, but they have perhaps received the most rotten end of colonial division, therefore resulting in the self-armament and commitment to self-preservation. Many Middle Eastern countries have violently feared the formation of a Kurdish state, but perhaps it is time to recognize that they are among the people ‘willing to fight for and defend something they care about.’ The kurds stopped the advancement of ISIS for the time being (in large part thanks to drone strikes, or so we’re told) and have steadily gained autonomy in Iraqi Kurdistan over the last ten years (following their brutal persecution in the late 80s). They represent almost 20% of the Iraqi population and 10% of the Syrian and Iranian populations. Also, interestingly, they are vastly Sunni (Like ISIS and Syria), but unlike Iran. I wonder if backing an underdog and giving to a tribe who is determined to control their own destiny is the answer to the question of what the new strategy should be.The Kurds have no interest in taking the fight to ISIS, they simply want to protect the land they see as theirs. Their biggest battle was to retake/maintain control of Kirkuk, which is primarily for lifeblood (Oil $$). I would wager they similarly have little interest in running Iraq as a whole, but again all of this could back-fire if they decide to take vengeance for the wrong-doings against them.ISIS is rolling in the areas where tribes have low concern for protecting borders time has shown to be arbitrary and indefensible.I think whats surrounding these global conflicts are the interests of G7 versus developing economies. Its maintaining wealth/control versus establishing it. What doesnt work is super powers occupying with no direction towards sustainable exit structures. We cant fight wars in other countries as a matter of ego, and batting a finger doesn’t mean anything. The UN also seems to be more or less irrelevant in the eyes of China and Russia, except in the role of blocking on the security counsel. If the world operates like the street, the UN is looking pretty weak: more sanctions against Russia will begin to cripple the European economy and China flatly ignored the UN summit on its land disputes with the Philippines. When your bark doesnt work, you have to figure out a way to bite.

          2. lonnylot

            Yes! Yes! Yes!You articulated this far better than I am/was able to. To clarify why we are on the exact same page, when I said ‘previous strategy’ I was referring to the strategy of the previous decade not of the previous century. What we are currently doing is a shift from that strategy.I am not 100% with you on your last paragraph. I don’t think Chinas and Russias actions or attitude are that unique WRT the UN. The US and probably others have also ignored the UN on more than one occasion. I’m curious on two things:1. How will the sanctions against Russia begin to cripple the European economy?2. Do you think that the Russian and Chinese attitudes towards the UN/World (as presented to us) are a reflection of the G7 trying to maintain wealth/control instead of establishing it?

          3. Nick Devane

            I am not a big twitter guy, occasionally observe from the sidelines.I am with you, the US has likely ignored the UN more than Russia and China combined. I worry that since everyone ignores them they’ve lost all their bite outside of humanitarian and think tank capacities (which are sizable). Let’s look at the first two expressed purposes of the UN (from the Charter):1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;The game changed, and the world policing body has not changed along with it. We cannot liberate nations effectively (Libya), prevent genocide (Syria), suppress acts of aggression (Ukraine) or protect basic human rights (Nigeria).No one cares about what the UN says/does, and the burden of world policing falls on western power’s shoulders (in Kissinger’s eyes primarily the US). But the west cannot effectively fight these battles because coming in with a sitting army does nothing. The whole notion of taking over an area to liberate it seems to never have worked in the modern cannon of warfare. At best it creates a power vaccum and at worst just wastes dollars/lives. While it may be heart aching to watch nations implode given how easy Twitter makes it to share powerful images, perhaps that needs to happen. Maybe its natural? Platforms help mobilize/connect, and there is hope to that end. Power is in the people, and we’ve seen the effect of people mobilizing/connecting, we just need to establish a framework for the transition from toppling corruption and implementing a healthy governing body, because its there that everyone is slipping.Some of the best inroads against Boko Haram have been at the hands of the local kids (who now get paid monthly? Kind of wild).…Whats left? Drone strikes, intelligence gathering and special operations team, but that leaves us in this sticky situation of murdering, misfires and playing god with the predecessors of war before they ever mature into that. As we go down that road we need to be way more conscious of our actions than we have been. A drone strike is not the same as allied forces fighting Hitler, its often a speculative bet. Whats worrisome is how we marginalize ourselves and our own moral compass in beginning to take that role upon ourselves. It’s one we need to be able to own, not deny or not acknowledge. Going to war with Assad would be the most fitting of Kissinger’s American ideal in my eyes.The advantage the Allied Forces had during the formation of the United Nations is controlling the game. While allowing almost everyone that wanted into the UN, the Allies still called the shots on the global stage. We need to innovate with better global governance, but no one is in the position to make the call or forfeit self-determination in the process.1. My thoughts on sanctions stem primarily from some stuff I read a couple weeks ago, but could be outdated at this point.…I know Russia consumes something like 20% of EU produce, so a ban, including the stuff already in transit could have a big effect on Q3. Or jeopardizing North Atlantic Drilling’s deal for nearly $5 b with Rosneft that came to fruition over the summer.None of this is that worrisome in a silo, but Russia seems happy to import from South America (BRIC buddies!) and ignore the sanctions. With each additional action, Europe must question whether the effect is greater on themselves, Russia, or if Russia even cares at the top-level.I also certainly mean ‘begin to cripple’, but recent memory recalls a precarious economic environment for quite a few EU members.2. I think Russian and Chinese attitudes towards the world are a reflection of what they view as a right to establish control (and as a result, wealth).G7 control is an interesting topic, and I’ve probably put a little too much into writing on here today, but I would happily debate its role/criticize it.G7 controls 63% of the net wealth in the world while representing 10% of the worlds population. Those numbers combined with a lack of transparency on decision making and a refusal to include emerging economies (BRIC) make for a bad taste in the mouth.

          4. Nathan Gantz

            Sincerely asking, would you interpret the US Constitution the same way as the UN Charter? Are you a fan of Scalia?

          5. lonnylot

            Are you on twitter? I want to follow you.

    4. LE

      Long list of conflicts that aren’t solvable anymore at the global levels, or via “super powers” saying or doing something.As said by “Jack Horner” in “Boogie Nights”:Money, it’s an important part of the processThe traditional method to gain control and solve problems will continue to be money. Superpowers have more than military might they have money that they can shower on a country in order to gain a better degree of acceptance of our principles as well as acting in our interest. Federal government does this with states as well for that matter. “Lower your speed limit or you won’t get federal highway funds”. Etc. Doesn’t mean total control of course. Like a kid who acts up you have to allow them some use of the car and privileges even if they don’t listen all the time.Every country is doing what they want, whether it’s good or bad, no one country has been able to have any real influence on another country’s actions or issues.That’s the idea behind effective diplomacy, politics call it quid pro quo. Trading things that the other side wants or needs in order to gain what you want or need. Some people are better at it than others.

      1. William Mougayar

        Yup…but aren’t we running out of time? When conflicts fester for a while, it becomes a lot more difficult to root them out, if not impossible.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Well, there is the quote attributed to Kissinger about the Iran-Iraq war: “It’s too bad someone has to win.”.

          1. William Mougayar

            that’s a good quote!

          2. sigmaalgebra

            There’s a related one: Cheney is famous for his speech with his statement that there is “no doubt” that Saddam has WMDs.Of course, that was essentially just a lie to get the US into a war Cheney wanted. Right, Dick, sink $3 trillion and 3000+ US lives into a desert oil field, get no significant results, and still not get the oil! “Hell of a job, Dick!”.But there is a sense in which “no doubt” was correct: If count chemical weapons as WMDs, then, sure, Saddam had WMDs. And, how do we know? Sure: When Cheney spoke we still had the receipts from when we sold those WMDs to Saddam!And why’d we sell him the chemical weapons? Sure, to use on Iran.But, Saddam used them on the Kurds; I’m not sure he ever used them on Iran.So, how’d WMDs get into Iraq? Sure, we sent them there, to be used on Iran!Of course, since Saddam did use what we sent on the Kurds, he was a monster — yup, he was. But, what about the people who sent those chemicals to him?Uh, net, net, how much good did we do in Iraq?

      2. JamesHRH

        All armies are supported by treasuries, it is true.The big differences: the big treasuries are tied together, a small treasury can wreak 1000x the damage that it could 65 years ago.

      3. Pete Griffiths

        Showering $ on a country have proven to be a spectacularly unsuccessful strategy. One doesn’t look at Pakistan and think ‘that’s money well spent.”

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Pukistan? You mention Pukistan? Why do you mention Pukistan? You have something against Pukistan?Let me see if I know just where you are talking about: Start in India, go north until smell it. Then go east until step in it. What do you have against Pukistan?I mean we gave them much of our textile business. Now the workers in North Carolina don’t have to do all that hard work in textile mills! That’s progress for us, right?Soon, the economic and standard of living gap between Pukistan and North Carolina will be closed!I know; I know; you believe that somehow the Pukistan military should have known just where OBL was and told us. But, you have to understand, OBL was well hidden, a long way from the Pukistan military school, about a good golf shot away! So, how could you expect Pukistan to know?And Pukistan just helped their friends, in Akrapistan, kill US soldiers. But that should be okay because they were the friends, BFFs, of Pukistan, right?Even though it looks like they are playing us for fools, maybe if we keep being really nice to them, maybe be even nicer, they will come to love us, I mean, they really should, right, and start to like us? Maybe? Is that US foreign policy?And when Secretary Halfbright told her buddies in Pukistan that US cruise missiles were on the way to the OBL camp in Akrapistan, humane Pukistan, eager to save human life, in particular the one of OBL, told OBL the missiles were on the way so that no humans would be harmed!And North Korea, where’d they learn about nuclear physics, especially the exploding kind? Of course, from the willing educational resources of Pukistan!I wonder if anyone asked the textile workers and their families in North Carolina if it was okay to give their jobs to good US friend Pukistan?”Let’s have more US foreign policy and world order, Ma!” Uh, maybe not. Maybe it’s a little too easy for the US Foggy Bottom types to give away US businesses, jobs, technology, money, blood, and treasure? US voters: Wake up!

    5. awaldstein

      When was the ‘Western World’ (whatever that is) every willing to die for some altruistic reason?

      1. William Mougayar

        Not saying this in the context of altruistic reasons. But one could make a non-altruistic linkage to most of these conflicts (not all of them).

      2. Pete Griffiths


        1. awaldstein

          Altruism and politics and national security don’t seem to be on the same plane.

    6. sigmaalgebra

      Those are tempest in a teapot, nasty little games I’d much rather watch from the stands, on TV, or not at all than play.



  11. kidmercury

    today is my birthday and i can hardly imagine a better gift than a fredland post that is so deeply kookological in its orientation.the new world order is a foundational concept of kookology that almost all self-avowed kooks agree with. it is part of the core curriculum of kookology.platforms are here to disrupt the nation-state, that is the end result. all political revolutions are revolutions of the money supply at their core. that is basically tell us enough to get going in the right direction.9/11 was an inside job,kid mercury

    1. Andrew Kennedy

      Happy birthday

    2. lonnylot

      Happy birthday!”platforms are here to disrupt the nation-state”Do you think the nation-state will adapt to platforms or platforms will overtake the nation-state?

      1. kidmercury

        hopefully the latter….i think it will happen eventually as nation-states go broke

    3. William Mougayar

      Happy birthday Kid and welcome back. You smelled the political post and couldn’t resist 🙂

    4. Donna Brewington White

      Happy Birthday Kid!

    5. fredwilson

      Happy birthday Kid. Nice to see you round these parts

    6. mike

      happy bday. happy to see you back in fredland

    7. ErikSchwartz

      Happy birthday.

    8. SubstrateUndertow

      to be fair he presents a brilliant 19/20th century framing of our 21st century reality. that makes it sincere/effortful kookology at the very least ! paraphrasing he proposes a willful idealism, strategically/realistically, disseminated topdown by a nation-state who’s exceptionalism guarantees its freedom from any misguided economic conflicts of interest ?i know there is no way this can/will happen any time soon but my thought experiment invasions some incremental implementation of a global minimum income, initially only to the very poorest then incrementally expanded, all paid out and spent via bitcoin.that crank-starts a transnational, distributively decentralized, nervous-system like, bottom-up economic steerage vector into the poorest economies that could start to circumvent local oligarchic controls.starting out by toying at the bottom to improve those edge cases of extreme nation-state poverty, like all disruptive processes, it could then creep up the economic totem pole into more affluent economic jurisdictions.individual consumers in a society, like individual cell in an organism, are the pennies in the distributive currency of economic production/consumption exchange. in an organism distributed cellular demand ultimately drives/steers the collective survival strategies that translate into specific production/distribution methodologies and not the other way around.translation:in a predominantly elastic/automated production-environment demand ultimately constrains production far more than production constrains demand ? (monetarily dysfunctional production/consumption stasis)biomimicry makes the case for a distributive demand-side solution given the interdependencies of our modern network-synchronized economies.back to reality !maybe you should cut him some slack ?his view point still has some serious utility in the short run until that”money supply platform, nation-state-disruptor revolution reaches escape velocity”and in honor of you birthdaylook mom no uppercase

  12. Joah Spearman

    Vacationed there a couple of summers ago, and it was epic. Enjoy! I’ll have to check out the Kissinger book. Bright minds tend to age well.

  13. Jon Michael Miles

    Quiet time often reveals to me what really concerns me. Solitary confinement is something my mind often circles back to when I give myself time to contemplate. Thanks for the new desktop. (!)

  14. William Mougayar

    btw- say hi to George Clooney if you see him 🙂

  15. lonnylot

    Fred – IDK if you know, but WP does do auto-cropping of images and it should be fairly easy to insert the cropped one instead of the full size one. When inserting the media there should be a ‘size’ drop down somewhere where you can pick from ‘thumbnail’, ‘medium’, ‘large’, and ‘full’. At least on the web app.

    1. fredwilson

      I haven’t found it on the android app. Will keep looking

  16. kevinmurphy

    You chose a fabulous spot in Lake Cuomo. Turn off your electronic devices and enjoy the time with Gotham Gal as your devices will be ready when you return home : )

    1. fredwilson

      I gotta do something while she does the crossword and ignores me!

  17. kevinmurphy

    I would guess Bellagio, but it has been far to long to be sure…

  18. LE

    which the op-ed is an advertisement for.The op ed is adapted from the book so it’s essentially gives you a good idea of the tone of the book as well as the writing style you will encounter.I have respect for Kissinger and I’m sure that he has many good things to say. But I don’t have time or any interest in trying to parse Phd level writing. Something made more flowery and difficult than it needs to be. Fails the puny brain test.Hard to pick a representative paragraph but here is one:The penalty for failing will be not so much a major war between states (though in some regions this remains possible) as an evolution into spheres of influence identified with particular domestic structures and forms of governance. At its edges, each sphere would be tempted to test its strength against other entities deemed illegitimate. A struggle between regions could be even more debilitating than the struggle between nations has been.Kissinger may fully understand the points he is making but he isn’t doing a good job of communicating them to the “general” public. Shouldn’t have to read things multiple times to understand them.

    1. William Mougayar

      “Shouldn’t have to read things multiple times to understand them.” Exactly. Try listening to him without a rewind button :)That aside, Kissinger is big believer in “interventionalism”; i.e. you intervene to change something. But the cost and process of intervening have become a lot more difficult than in the 70’s, plus the “will” to intervene is not the same. Kissinger might be out of touch slightly there, or he might be too idealistic.

      1. LE

        Kissinger might be out of touch slightly there, or he might be too idealistic.Out of touch and stuck in a bygone era.Have you ever run into older people who still dress like they did back in the day? I mean we all do it. We dress as we felt comfortable or got used to in days past. (Most people that is always exceptions..) I mean Fred still shows up to places (at least in video’s that I see) wearing a sports coat and shirt (but no tie). I still dress like I did from years ago (dungarees essentially). And even with dungarees it took me years to move away fro Levi 505’s to another brand (LL Bean). Other jeans don’t seem “as right” to me. Other ways of dressing don’t seem right. I like casual. But more importantly my idea of casual not your idea or Fred’s idea of casual.Likewise I stick to the principles (as Kissinger does which is my point) that have gotten me to where I am (which isn’t that great but it’s enough for me) and have a really hard time deviating from those principles because they feel comfortable to me. And I know this is the case. We all suffer from this as we get older. Kissinger is no different.Even take Kissinger’s writing style. Formed back when there weren’t as many writing choices as there are today. People don’t have the patience for that.(Hey, have I made myself clear?)

        1. William Mougayar

          Yup…there is value in preserving the past when/if it matters. Key is in finding the right balance between evolving towards the future, and building on the past experience.

        2. ErikSchwartz

          LL Bean jeans are awesome. The flannel lined ones are the best.

      2. Pete Griffiths

        It’s a pity that interventionalism has been so horrendously unsuccessful of late.

        1. William Mougayar

          yes. Probably WWII was the last time it worked well. NATO in Bosnia helped, but it came a bit late, sadly.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      What he’s doing and saying are both dirt simple: He’s just looking at the Syrian, Shiite, Sunni, Kurd mud wrestling. Then he deletes the actual, real names, gives an abstract description, and hopes people will find some depth, think, “Gee, right there in Syria and Iraq with the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds, I can see an example of the grand pattern he is describing. Kissinger must be a smart guy.” Nope. That’s about the only example Kissinger has, and all he did was take some simple news headlines and remove the specific names. Maybe he gets paid this way. It’s trivial and silly.

  19. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Far more relevant than any ramblings by the lothario of diplomacy, Kissinger…

    1. Pete Griffiths

      Interesting. I find this notion of a new ‘dark age’ very consistent with some of my concerns.We are not immune from slipping into a new dark age of ignorance and barbarism.It has happened before.

    2. ErikSchwartz

      I think Jacob’s book is interesting. I agree with much of her thesis, but her argument supporting the premise could have been so much stronger.

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith

        Take your point but like all her works I respect the fact she doesn’t succumb to pseudo-intellectual pomposity or political flag-waving. She’s pretty simplistic about things – and often criticised for basing her thoughts on ‘common sense’ – it sums up our sorry society that we demean such a quality nowadays. Occam would probably be sneered at by today’s ‘great thinkers’ (sic) … 😉

    3. sigmaalgebra

      For that link, I just say that the US is less rich than is commonly recognized. E.g., we are very low on social capital. E.g, in the 1946+ baby boom, lots of young families could buy a house and have kids with a stay at home mom; not now.I believe that US foreign policy, such as from Kissinger, is the main reason the US is much less rich than we imagine.

  20. Pete Griffiths

    Found his op ed disappointing. The analysis of what he considers to be the problem isn’t particularly deep and I don’t think that recognizing the fact that other regions have different cultures and asserting that America is exceptional with ideals of universal merit is especially insightful or helpful as a guide to a new world order.

    1. vruz

      Um you know… I have this revolutionary idea. Let’s pretend the rest of the world are humans.

    2. Patrick Hill

      Perhaps you will share your deeper analysis or point us to another’s. Dr Kissinger is a very intelligent and learned man, who has been studying and actively involved in these matters for decades.I do not accept that regions “have” cultures; groups are indigenous in regions; some regions are home to different groups/cultures. (Japan is not, nor is China.) The Middle East seems to be comprised of states in which, and across the borders of which, different cultures exist. Cultural (religious) orientation seems to transcend political orientation (to the state). Hence, sectarian strife, NOT the state vs. state strife that characterized the world order since Treaty of Westphalia.I suggest that America IS exceptional: the ideals of its founding and basis for its political/social/economic systems transcend “culture”. That, IMO, is a strength and attraction. Whether or not those ideals have “universal merit” might depend on one’s metaphysical orientation. Ask a religious fundamentalist, or any ilk.I don’t know what “guide to new world order” means. Dr K’s view, in my understanding, of the international scene has long been real politik, Merit has no bearing on such, as I understand Dr K’s intellectual orientation. I surmise that he also is aware of cultural influences.Dr K writes with clarity and rhetorical rigor, IMO, which is a rare characteristic on most blogs.

      1. Pete Griffiths

        I don’t think I have any obligation to even have a ‘deeper analysis’ to recognize a shallow one when I see it, let alone to share it. I can be aware that someone is speaking French without being able to speak French myself. I did not find this deep or edifying and that is enough.And I don’t accept an argument from authority. Dr Kissinger’s intelligence and learning are not in question here. His article is in question and that I found shallow (see above). As for his moral character – it is at least worth checking out Hitchens on this matter:…I completely agree that regions don’t have homogenous cultures. Btw China does NOT have a homogenous culture – far from it, they have national minorities with very very different cultures and languages that constitute approximately 9% of the population – that’s a LOT of non Han. And whilst we are in the topic, neither does Japan – there are millions of ethnic Koreans who are treated as second class citizens. So you are absolutely right that generalizations about regions and cultures are inappropriate. That was, of course, my original point.Clarity requires some rigor. Rhetoric much less if any.:)

        1. Patrick Hill

          Mr Griffiths: Of course, you have no obligation; I was sincerely hoping you could point to a less shallow analysis or more cogent guide to a new world order. I’d like to learn about them.I also understand that “authority” in domains of logic, mathematics, science, etc. is conferred solely by the intrinsic merit of propositions within those closed systems. However, the topic at hand is in the domain of geopolitical systems, which, I was taught, are open systems. In such, “authority” is imbued by factors other than intrinsic merit. Dr K’s morality is irrelevant in such domains, as Machiavelli suggested to his political master and as amply demonstrated, IMO, by wartime propaganda and history books, written by members of societies that won the wars.My understanding is that the term “national minority” is undefined in international law, an aspect of the domain of this topic. As to the non-Han and Korean minorities to which you allude, they seem to have zilch political power in the nation-states (Treaty of Westphalia, again) in which they live. The topic at hand is, basically, about political power, is it not?The progress and proliferation of technology seems to have given the power, previously held only by nation-states, to other social collectives. Hence, regional (global?) convulsions, if that is not too extreme a characterization, as the mechanisms underlying old world order (I prefer to use “system”.) adapt, evolve, or…are replaced.My point, which I view as salient, remains: the system described by the US Constitution transcends cultural, ethnic, religious, and “national” differences and allows differentiation by political entities encompassed within, and subordinate to, the US republic. It is exceptional, I suggest.I enjoyed reading your reply. Thank you.

          1. Pete Griffiths

            You’re right – K’s morality is largely irrelevant to assessing his arguments. I mention it in passing as a point of interest. There is however a small degree to which morality does bear upon even the most unbending interpretation or realpolitik. There have been times when nations (including the US) have conducted themselves in ways which are clearly deeply immoral. Such actions are always justified as being in the cause of a greater good. And yet, it has often proved to be the case that the blowback from such policies is far more damaging than one might expect. There have been times where against all expectations nations have ‘got away with it.’ A good example is the US post war policy in S America. In this case, inspired by a raging anti Communism, we built and ran schools in S America (eg the School of the Americas ) which literally taught the security forces of our chosen puppets how to torture their captives. Astonishingly, people in S America are forgiving of such excesses. But on other occasions things have not gone so well. Such cases are well documented in ‘Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire’. Some policy wonks, the most notable being McNamara, came to recognize the deep immorality of some of the policies their realpolitik led them into. Others, more recently, such as Wolfovitz, Chenez, Rumsfeld and of course Kissinger, remain convinced that they were right about everything and the costs of their policies and what was at times the flat out immorality of their execution, were all for the greater good and hence irrelevant. The kind of thing only liberal cry babies would be concerned about. Which is to say – I didn’t want to get into this, but if truth be told, I don’t see K’s morality as entirely irrelevant 🙂

          2. Pete Griffiths

            With respect to national minorities. You are right that the term is not well defined in international law. But that is not to say that the idea is not recognized and/r that it does not have status.…The difficulty stems, as described in the piece above, not in the underlying idea but in defining it in a way that will apply in an enormous number of ‘special cases.’As to the exceptional and transcendent nature of the US constitution. I think this is overstating the case. It is of course easy to state values and then state that their are of universal application. And some of the values of the US experiment are very appealing. But it is by no means blindingly obvious that they are universally applicable. For an interesting discussion of this see Eric Li’s Ted talk.…This has been much criticized but makes some important points and should be taken seriously.

          3. Patrick Hill

            Mr Griffiths:Ref: international minorities; definition, recognition, and status are all different concepts, in my view. This discussion is in the domain of international relations, i.e., interaction between nation-states. Certainly, the subject of Dr K’s op-ed is in that domain. In that domain, “status” and “recognition” are determined by protocols, conventions, and formal agreements — all established, adopted, and enforced (or not) by the states. The “idea” of international minority is not part of that domain. That an “idea” exists in other domains might just be totally irrelevant.A sovereign state’s internal affairs used to be, clearly, solely its own. Period. US meddling in S American countries, as you have described, is but one example of violation of that principle, but, logically, not immoral. If one accepts that all morality is artificial, that is, a construct of our species (Show me a manifestation of morality in the natural world.), any moral “system” is, ipso facto, necessarily arbitrary and subjective. Lots of social collectives have claimed, and justified actions there upon, the perceived superiority of a moral system. In a physical conflict, the relative strength of opposed moral systems fundamentally does NOT matter; power and strength, which have many, many manifestations and different temporal reaches, do. One might counter that personal values, including morality, can empower social collectives, but the ground is full of bodies whose brains thought their “righteousness” imbued them with superiority and inevitable victory. We know that “the good guys” don’t always win. In fact, Genghis Khan, Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung — a few, egregious examples — “won”, but few of us would ascribe the characteristic of “moral” to any of them. Tough, strong, COMMITTED guys, e.g., the Viet Cong, “win”.I suggest that the concept of morality applies only to individuals, not to social collectives. The application of real politik is based, in my understanding, upon that.One cannot truly know what was in the minds of McNamara or LBJ, but possibly cost/benefit analysis (or perception of popular will?) was as influential as, or more than, their consideration of any “morality”.The points remain: One: Dr K’s op-ed piece was as deep as the relevant domain demands, or allows. The concept of morality, IMO, does not apply to “world order”. Relevant are only mechanisms that maintain order, relations between states without general war.Two: The Constitution of the United States specifies a system that allows change — driven by shifting moral systems, or whatever — in the republic without physical violence. I suggest that document is as fine, PRACTICAL guideline for a social collective — at whatever geopolitcal level — as I have ever encountered.Please don’t think me didactic or professorial. This is a discourse.

          4. Pete Griffiths

            Thanks for your thoughts.bestPeter

  21. Donna Brewington White

    I am enjoying this vacation of yours.And I think times like this, with some distance, perhaps more clarity, provide a great vantage point for reflecting on this type of issue.I believe I would live a better life, make better choices and decisions, use my time more effectively, by building in more time for reflection.

  22. David Semeria

    You’ve been amazingly lucky with the weather Fred. It’s been the worst summer I can remember here.

  23. matthughes

    Lake Como is a special place.I’ve been thinking about writing a crossword puzzle.I know nothing about it but read an article recently that peaked my interest.

  24. vruz

    It’s not like Kissinger’s insights and his accompliceship as part of the Nixon administration have ever served the public interest, not only of his many victims around the world, but also with the profound long-term impact it had on the US as well.Arguably, the great dislocation process and total political dysfunction we’re seeing in the US right now started with Nixon and Kissinger. I don’t know why would anyone pay attention to what Kissinger says, other than to express public scorn for the war criminal, and to learn exactly what a functional, peaceful, lawful society should never do.

    1. Pete Griffiths

      It is worth reading Hitchens on Kissinger.K’s hands are very very bloody.

      1. vruz

        Hitchens did a fine job. But even if one, for whatever reason, wouldn’t want to trust any journalists, not Hitchens, –not even the textbook Bernstein and Woodward, nor the Redford/Hoffmann big screen story– one at least, should read the public record, take a deep breath and give it a pause before using Kissinger’s criminal words in any context for any reason.The public record is staggering enough without any need for any journalist’s interpretations, his actions speak louder than anything else.

  25. sigmaalgebra

    Lake Como?Right, I thought so, as at…Puccini had a house on Lake Como! From this URL, apparently the house has been for sale!At…is a YouTube mash up of a short video of Lake Como with music from the end of the opera Parsifal by Wagner (1813-1883). If the lake alone is not grand enough, then Wagner’s music should be sufficient!Nice mash up! Someone has some nice artistic insight! How to automate that? Hmm …!Ah, maybe that mash up and especially Wagner’s music will help raise property values around Lake Como!Parsifal, another Grail Knight story but not another Indiana Jones movie!The themes, motifs there in the end of the opera are more clearly heard at other places in the opera and also in the “Prelude” in, say,…Gee, look at the score and see how the heck Wagner did that. Maybe it is not more amazing than the software we can write now?Maybe there are some lakes in the US or Canada as pretty as Lake Como? Maybe John Malone knows where there are such lakes? Gee, as I recall, he has a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins!I totally don’t get it on how just one and the same world could have such horrible problems yet such gorgeous art. With strain I can accept the possibility of the problems and similarly for the art, but that they are both in one and the same world is beyond me.

  26. hypermark

    The problem that I have with elder statesmen like Kissinger, is that they are not interested one whit in conveying honest wisdom – warts, mistakes, lessons learned, painful truths – they are mostly interested in preservation of their own legacy.Case in point, Kissinger refers to “the concept of order that has underpinned the modern era” is in crisis. When exactly was that? The Cold War period? Stagflation? The devil may care 80s? 9/11? The Great Recession?This gets to the nut of what bugs me most about the analysis of the times we live in. We still default into simplistic ‘false dichotomies’ when more and more the world is a paradox of messy truths.Building systems and narratives around that model should be the goal.Along those lines, I saw a great quote specific to the Islamic Paradox: “It’s never hard to find the bad guy we’re fighting against, but rather, the good guy we’re fighting for.” What should be our policy when confronted with such a reality?You can apply similar narratives to Big Banks, Big Government, Free Markets, Unions, Safe Nets, Education, Globalism, Democracy, Regulatory Bodies, Policing, Security, Surveillance, Military, Social Contracts, etc.Cheers,Mark

    1. Salt Shaker

      One doesn’t have to be an “elder statesman” to be concerned about one’s legacy. Look at Putin, Karzai, al-Maliki, etc., they’re all embroiled in the same game…how to manage their place in history, irrespective of the damage it does to others.

      1. hypermark

        Completely agree. Just noting the limited value of analysis from these types. That’s one reason Robert McNamara’s unfiltered assessment was so powerful in The Fog of War:

  27. sigmaalgebra

    Henry, maybe you will sell some copies of your new book. Go for it guy!Let me help you sell your book! Keep the price low, on the cover put the BTU value and the equivalent in heating oil, and hope for a cold winter! I’m trying to help you here, Henry.Henry, you are talking about a lot of stuff, just stuff, you got from somewhere, maybe from George C. Marshall, George F. Kennan, John F. Dulles, Dean Rusk, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, or whomever:E.g., “world order”? What the heck is that? What “world order”? Mostly just in your imagination. Uh, Henry, I just gotta ask, where do you get that really strong funny stuff you’ve been smoking to believe that there is any very definite thing that could be called a “world order”? If you keep having these delusional fantasies, then maybe you should get some special help.Uh, Henry, I have to suspect that you have in mind what you want for your version of your world order and that, I have to guess, you want US citizen tax payers like me to pay for it. Sorry, Henry, no sale. Maybe you should go into the scrap iron business or the recycled paper business; that way you would have something much more valuable to sell and could get some business. I’m trying to help you here, Henry!But, Henry, you have lots more; you are talking about a long list of concepts that mostly have no significant reality outside your own imagination. Here is an easy, fast, first-cut list:”international rules and norms,””The concept that has underpinned the modern geopolitical era.””Afghanistan’s young democracy””the torch of international leadership””achieve just and lasting peace””traditional European approach to order””a balance of power and a concert of enlightened statesmen””people inherently reasonable and inclined toward peaceful compromise and common sense””the spread of democracy was therefore the overarching goal for international order””Free markets would uplift individuals, enrich societies and substitute economic interdependence for traditional international rivalries.””effort to establish world order””The spread of democracy and participatory governance has become a shared aspiration””incipient global world order””American idealism and traditional European concepts of statehood and balance of power””The order established and proclaimed by the West””sustain a world order””an agreed concept of legitimacy””the sense of common purpose necessary for world order””Its prosperity is dependent on the success of globalization””The contemporary quest for world order”Now we come to the money quote:”To play a responsible role in the evolution of a 21st-century world order, the U.S. must be prepared ….”Yup, we come to the bottom line. Why did I not doubt you’d come to just this? Yup, you want the blood and treasure of US citizens to pursue your absurd foreign adventures, in effect to whip the world into shape as you see fit, if only so that you can sell your books.Henry, we’ve heard from you before, and most of us who did have not forgotten. Then your big, hot subject was to have the US follow your ideas on how to throw US blood and treasure at your ideas of freedom, democracy, free enterprise, free trade, and world order in South East Asia.Yup, you found what you regarded as a really big threat, a skinny dishwasher in Paris and essentially a nationalist of Viet Nam who at times enjoyed a free lunch in Moscow and Peking. And your solution was to inflate and otherwise wreck the US economy, then and for many years into the future (remember the S&L crisis, yup, you were one of the biggest causes of that), kill 50,000 or so US young men, fly B-52 bombers from Guam to Viet Nam and back, burn enough oil to enable OPEC, help kill some, whatever, millions of essentially just normal peasants in South East Asia, in peaceful Cambodia, dump Norodom Sihanouk, put in loser Lon Nol, and, thus, make way for Pol Pot, congratulations, a competitor for the worst human ever. As I recall, it was a victorious Viet Nam that cleaned up your sewer in Cambodia and put Norodom Sihanouk back in power.Before you, Cambodia was a place Jackie Kennedy could enjoy visiting; with you, the devil himself wouldn’t want to be near that place. “Hell of a job, Henry!”. Quite a track record you’ve got there!Now, of course, with your efforts in Viet Nam, we could not have lost any worse than we did, and what the heck has been the really bad results for the US and good “world order”? Well, when my HP laser printer quit, I got a Brother laser printer made in Viet Nam, much better in nearly all respects. North Viet Nam and that dishwasher guy were really big threats to the US, right, Henry?Henry, your contributions to US foreign policy fill many much needed gaps in our thinking, and your writing would be illuminating if ignited.Net, Henry, for your ideas of throwing more US blood and treasure toward your ideas of “world order”, no thanks. No sale. Go retire.Then what the heck to do?Well, Henry, I really don’t like Obama, but gotta say, so far on foreign policy, he’s not nearly as bad as what the heck you are talking about. Yes, often Obama waits for a big consensus, votes a strong, definite “present”, looks like he wants to avoid blame, often says stuff, just stuff, to please his base and then forgets about it, does meaningless photo-ops, works on his golf game and jump shot, otherwise shows how to be president without really trying, and looks like mostly he doesn’t give a hoot — maybe he doesn’t. But so far he’s some thousands of US lives and some trillions of US dollars ahead of W.Henry, don’t call me an isolationist. Instead, I’m a skeptical, careful, objective, realistic, US loyalist! And I don’t like Foggy Bottom hot air types throwing US blood and treasure at absurd foreign adventures.So, Henry, let’s set aside your semi-, pseudo-, quasi-grand concepts of ordering the whole world, and look at some examples:ISIS. Yup, they are nasty people. But they’ve been facing some nasty people. There’s, uh, something of a basic situation: In that area, for anything like culture, about all they have is two flavors of Islam. Now, Europe got some culture some hundreds of years ago from having the rivers of Europe running red from various wars of land and religion. Yup, they did. Finally Europe settled on freedom of religion and secular government. In time, the Mideast will do the same; at times they try now. But, so far ISIS hasn’t gotten the message.Apparently what ISIS has done so far is try to get Shiite influence out of Sunni areas. I wonder how the heck the Shiites got control over so many of the Sunni areas? Did US foreign policy have something to do with that? Maybe for about $3 trillion that could be done! Not a big surprise.But, for the ISIS extreme brutality, that’s unstable, won’t last. In time, once the Shiites are gone, the local Sunni leaders will get ISIS to calm down.If ISIS tries to take Baghdad or Kurdistan, then, sure, some US F-18s guided by some US drones, etc. can slow them down. Or a few A-10s could make flowing blood sausage out of any significant ISIS concentration. Maybe we should do that. And maybe we should arm the Kurds. And maybe now the Shiites in Baghdad will start to listen to us about how to build a strong government. Otherwise, likely no biggie and not an issue for a good “world order”. Sorry, Henry, ISIS is not one of your “world order” issues.There’s a theme illustrated here, Henry: Keep the US strong, e.g., F-18s, F-22s, drones, satellites, signals intelligence, etc., a lot stronger than anything like ISIS. Got that one? If we are smart, then we can win these dinky wars from 20,000 feet without boots on the ground.But, whatever we do to ISIS, we don’t really want to cripple all the Sunnis in Iraq; simple enough.For Ukraine (some of their girls and some of their peasant costumes are just gorgeous), maybe we should help them. I have to believe, that with a little help, there will be no way Russia could get comfortable in Ukraine. I mean, Russia couldn’t get comfortable in Akrapistan; most of Ukraine has to be a much tougher nut to crack.China and the South China Sea? If China gets too nasty, then lots of people, Japan, Australia, the US, etc., will stop doing business with them, and then their economy will nose dive and make a smoking hole that will overthrow the government which, then, won’t do that.Poland? Russia really wants to go into Poland again? You GOTTA be kidding: Just IEDs caused the US a lot of grief; the Poles would give Russia the worst bad Borscht tummy ache ever. Russia could win, but they wouldn’t like it and soon would leave. Threat to a good “world order”? F’get about it.Henry, here’s much of what you are missing out on: Plain, simple, old enlightened self interest. I know; I know; just talking about that won’t let you sell many books.And, for your dreams of “international trade”, we do need some of it, but there can be too much. Why? Because the international economy is unregulated, poorly policed, and unstable and, then, can cause instabilities in the US economy. Why? Because there’s no real world economic regulation. Why? Because there’s no real world government. And, Henry, f’get about it: We don’t want you to give us a world government.And, in particular, for the US, we want enlightened self interest. Understand now?Otherwise, for your “world order”, f’get about it. Remember, “Hell no; we won’t go.”, not to your blood and treasure party. Well, that’s still the case.Henry, here’s one for you: Go to the oceans of the world and set up your good world order among the sharks, tuna, cod, anchovies, herring, dolphins, killer whales, and other whales. Without your help, soon the oceans will descend into chaos, right, Henry, right? You’re needed in the oceans, Henry! Going to the oceans is much more promising than what you are trying to do on land.

  28. Carl Rahn Griffith

    And in today’s Guardian …Russia and economic warfare: RIP the free market new world order | Larry Elliott

  29. goldwerger

    Fred, a quick piece I read this morning that made me wonder at what juncture of history are we standing at right now:

  30. sbmiller5

    Grab a bottle of wine, some bread and cheese and head out on the paddle boats. One of my favorite memories on Lake Como.

    1. The Right Fight

      LOL … sounds like a plan. 🙂

      1. sbmiller5




  32. Gregory Magarshak

    Fred, if you are somehow in Austria in the Salzburg area, consider taking a day out to hop the train and spend the evening at a lake called Hallstatt. If you ever pictured a fairytale kingdom, then google “Hallstatt” and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I wound up staying there an extra day because of how awesome and peaceful it is. Also happens to be the site of one of the oldest civilizations on earth, built around a salt mine 🙂

  33. Mark Essel

    Whoa, beautiful location. Instant kyaking urge on seeing that water.