Kissinger om ledarskap

Mats Björkenfeldt

Henry Kissingers senaste bok, Leadership. Six Studies in World Strategy  (Allen Lane, 2022) innehåller sju kapitel:

  1. Konrad Adenauer: The Strategy of Humility,
  2. Charles de Gaulle: The Strategy of Will,
  3. Richard Nixon: The Strategy of Equilibrium,
  4. Anwar Sadat: The Strategy of Transcendence,
  5. Lee Kuan Yew: The Strategy of Excellence,
  6. Margaret Thatcher: The Strategy of Conviction,
  7. Conclusion: The Evolution of Leadership.

För denna anmälare är nog kapitlet om Charles de Gaulle det mest intressanta, där författaren har haft hjälp av historikern Julian Jackson, vars bok De Gaulle är anmäld på sajten.

”His {de Gaulle] first words to me were a challenge: ‘Why don’t you leave Vietnam?’ – an odd question considering that he had preceded his own decision to leave Algeria only seven years earlier with nearly three years of intensified military efforts. When I responded, ‘Because a sudden withdrawal would damage American international credibility,’ he replied with a curt ‘For example, where?’ (Par exemple, où?)”

I ett möte med president Kennedy i maj 1961 varnade de Gaulle den unge amerikanske presidenten för inblandning i Indokina: ”As recorded in an official memorandum, President de Gaulle recalled the war France waged in Indochina. He stated his feeling that a new war could not lead anywhere even if waged by the U.S. If the U.S. feels that its security or honor compelled it to intervene, the French will not oppose such an intervention but will not participate in it, except of course if it were to lead to a worldwide war, in which case France would always be at the side of the U.S.”

Vad gäller Algerietkriget , noterar Kissinger, att Mao Zedong ”predicted to FLN leader Ferhat Abbas that France would not be able to sustain a military commitment to the conflict at its current scale: ‘You will see that they face many difficulties. France needs to support an 800,000-strong military and spend three billion francs a day. If that continues for a long time, they will collapse.’”

Ett intressant avsnitt gäller Natos begränsningar: Den 30 oktober 1956, tjugofyra timmar efter Israels första attack på Egypten, lade USA fram ett förslag till resolution i FN:s säkerhetsråd som krävde att israeliska väpnade styrkor ”omedelbart [skulle] dra sig tillbaka […] bakom de etablerade vapenstilleståndslinjerna”. När Storbritannien och Frankrike lade in veton mot resolutionen, tog president Eisenhower frågan till FN:s generalförsamling. Den 2 november krävde Generalförsamlingen ett slut på fientligheterna med en överväldigande majoritet: sextiofyra mot fem. Vid en session natten den 3–4 november antogs en än starkare resolution och man började diskutera en FN-ledd fredsbevarande styrka vid Suezkanalen. Det brittiska pundet rasade i värde, men i motsats till tidigare praxis stod Amerika vid sidan av och vägrade gå in och lugna marknaden. Storbritannien och Frankrike tvingades avbryta operationen.

Kissinger noterar här Natos begränsningar: ”Washington’s disavowal of the Anglo-French action at Suez exposed the limits of NATO as an intergovernmental military alliance – and of America’s commitments to its allies.”

1958, när de Gaulle återvände från exilen, bröt han mot en hundraårig politik genom att inleda ett fransk-tyskt partnerskap. Han önskade skapa ett block som kunde leda till ”europeiskt självstyre”. de Gaulle bjöd därför in Tysklands förbundskansler Konrad Adenauer för en övernattning på de Gaulles hem i la Boisserie i Colombey-les-Deux-Églises: ”No other leader, foreign or domestic, was ever to receive a comparable invitation; when French ambassador to the United Kingdom Jean Chauvel suggested a parallel visit for Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, de Gaulle informed him boldly that Colombey was too small for an appropriate meeting.”

Ett kapitel handlar om de Gaulle och Nato. ”Now, between 1945 and 1950, in two great initiatives – NATO and the Marshall Plan – America abandoned its previous mode of conduct and assumed a permanent role in world affairs. Alongside the East River in midtown Manhattan, the new, modernist United Nations headquarters symbolized that America had become part of an international order.” Men ”De Gaulle’s historical experience produced diametrically different conclusions. He led a country made cautious by too many enthusiasms shattered, skeptical by too many dreams proved fragile, and conditioned by a sense not of national power or cohesion but of latent vulnerability. Nor did he believe that peace was the natural condition among states: ‘The world is full of opposing forces. […] The competition of efforts is the condition of life […] is a battle’.”

Frankrike, om det skulle återfå sin identitet, måste uppfattas så att man agerade av eget val, inte av tvång, och Frankrike behövde därför bevara sin handlingsfrihet: ”de Gaulle rejected any view of NATO that would place French forces under international command or a view of Europe that would dissolve French identity in supranational institutions. He warned against a kind of supranationalism that was taking hold (as if ‘self-renunciation were henceforth the sole possibility and even the only ambition’) which was at odds with France’s national character and purposes.”

Kissinger fortsätter: ”During a visit to Paris in 1959, President Eisenhower addressed the issue of French reservations head-on: ‘Why do you doubt that America would identify its fate with Europe?’ It was an odd question in light of Washington’s conduct toward both Britain and France during the Suez crisis a few years earlier. Avoiding the temptation to bring up Suez, de Gaulle reminded Eisenhower that in the First World War, America came to the rescue only after France had endured three years of mortal peril, and that America had entered the Second World War only after France had already been occupied. In the Nuclear Age, both interventions would have come too late.”

Kissinger avslutar de Gaulle-kapitlet: ”In the 1960s, the Kennedy and Johnson administrations constantly feuded with him, believing his policy was chronic opposition to American goals. The criticisms were not without foundation. De Gaulle could be haughty, cold, abrasive and petty. As a leader, he radiated mystique, not warmth. As a person, he inspired admiration, even awe, but rarely affection. Yet in his statesmanship, de Gaulle remains exceptional. No twentieth-century leader demonstrated greater gifts of intuition. On every major strategic question facing France and Europe over no fewer than three decades, and against an overwhelming consensus, de Gaulle judged correctly. His extraordinary prescience was matched by the courage to act on his intuition, even when the consequences appeared to be political suicide.”

Kissinger skriver i slutet av boken: ”Since the end of what these pages have described as the Second Thirty Years’ War (1914–45), instantaneous communication and the technological revolution have combined to give a new significance and urgency to two crucial questions confronting leaders: what is imperative for national security? And what is required for peaceful international coexistence? […] From the middle of the seventeenth century, the Westphalian system based on respect for sovereignty and international law developed within Europe. That system, which became embedded worldwide after the end of colonialism, allowed the rise of states which – shedding Western dominance – insisted on their part in defining, and sometimes challenging, the rules of the established world order.

In his essay Perpetual Peace, the philosopher Immanuel Kant wrote three centuries ago that mankind was destined for universal peace either by way of human insight or by conflicts of a magnitude and destructiveness that would leave no alternative. The prospects stated were too absolute; the problem of international order has not appeared as an either/or proposition. For all of recent memory, mankind has lived with a balance between relative security and legitimacy established by its leaders and interpreted by them. At no previous period in history have the consequences of getting this balance wrong been more fraught or catastrophic. The contemporary age introduced a level of destructiveness which has enabled mankind to destroy civilization itself.”

Kissinger fortsätter:

”This is reflected in the period’s established grand strategies famously abbreviated and conceptualized in the phrase ‘mutual assured destruction’ (MAD). These were advanced in pursuit not so much of traditional victory as of war’s prevention, and ostensibly designed less for conflict – understood to be potentially suicidal – than for deterrence. Not long after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the risks of fielding of nuclear weapons became incalculable, the stakes disconnected from the consequences. For more than seven decades, while advanced weapons have grown in power, complexity and accuracy, no country has persuaded itself actually to use them – even in conflict with non-nuclear countries. As previously described, both the Soviet Union and the United States accepted defeat at the hands of non-nuclear countries without resorting to their own deadliest weapons. These dilemmas of nuclear strategy have never disappeared; they have instead mutated as more states have developed advanced weapons and as the essentially bipolar Cold War distribution of destructive capacities has been replaced by a more complicated and potentially less stable kaleidoscope of high-tech options. Cyber weapons and AI applications (such as autonomous weapons systems) exacerbate the existing range of dangers. Unlike nuclear weapons, cyber weapons and artificial intelligence are ubiquitous, relatively inexpensive to develop, and tempting to use. Cyber weapons combine the capacity for massive impact with the possibility of obscuring the attribution of attacks. Artificial intelligence is able to overcome even the need for human operators, instead allowing weapons to launch themselves based on their own calculations and their ability to choose targets with near-absolute discrimination. Because the threshold for their use is so low, and their destructive capacity so great, resorting to such weapons – or even their formal threat – may turn a crisis into a war or transform a limited war into a nuclear one through unintended or uncontrollable escalation. The impact of revolutionary technology makes the full application of these weapons cataclysmic while rendering their limited use difficult to the point of unmanageability. No diplomacy has yet been invented for threatening their use explicitly without the risk of preemption in reply. Arms control explorations seem to have been dwarfed by these enormities. It has been a paradox of the age of high technology that actual military operations have been confined to conventional weapons or tactical deployment of small-scale high-tech weapons, from drone strikes to cyberattacks. At the same time, advanced weapons are expected to be contained by mutual assured destruction. This pattern is too precarious for the long-term future.”

När det gäller Ryssland, skriver Kissinger: ”[I]t conspicuously lacks China’s market power, demographic heft and diversified industrial base. Spanning eleven time zones and enjoying few natural defensive demarcations, Russia has acted according to its own geographical and historical imperatives. Russian foreign policy transforms a mystical patriotism into imperial entitlement, with an abiding perception of insecurity essentially derived from the country’s longstanding vulnerability to invasion across the East European plain. For centuries, its authoritarian leaders have tried to insulate Russia’s vast territory with a security belt imposed around its diffuse border; today the same priority manifests itself once again in the attack on Ukraine.”

Och vad gäller Ukraina-kriget gör Kissinger följande intressanta iakttagelser: ”The impact of these societies on each other has been shaped by their strategic assessments, which grow out of their histories. The Ukrainian conflict illustrates this. After the disintegration of the Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe and their emergence as independent nations, the entire territory from the established security line in the center of Europe to the national border of Russia became open for a new strategic design. Stability depended on whether the emerging dispensation could calm historic European fears of Russian domination as well as account for traditional Russian concern over offensives from the West. The strategic geography of Ukraine epitomizes these concerns. If Ukraine were to join NATO, the security line between Russia and Europe would be placed within 300 miles [48 mil, min anm.] of Moscow – in effect eliminating the historic buffer which saved Russia when France and Germany sought to occupy it in successive centuries. If the security border were to be established on the western side of Ukraine, Russian forces would be within striking distance of Budapest and Warsaw. The February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, in flagrant violation of international law, is thus largely an outgrowth of a failed strategic dialogue or else of an inadequately undertaken one. The experience of two nuclear entities confronting each other militarily – even while not having recourse to their ultimate weapons – underlines the urgency of the fundamental problem.”

Om den ”liberala världsordningen” skriver Kissinger: ”It now seems possible that a liberal and universal rules-based order, however worthy in its conception, will be replaced in practice for an indeterminate period of time by an at least partially decoupled world. Such a division encourages a quest at its fringes for spheres of influence. If so, how will countries that do not agree on rules of global conduct be able to operate within an agreed design of equilibrium? Will the quest for dominance overwhelm the analysis of coexistence?”

Avslutningsvis noterar Kissinger: ”The two questions Konrad Adenauer put to me during our final meeting in 1967, three months before his death, have gained new relevance: are any leaders still able to conduct a genuine long-range policy? Is true leadership still possible today? […] Likewise, few who witnessed the fall of France in 1940 could imagine its renewal under de Gaulle in a career spanning three decades. When Nixon opened the dialogue with China, few contemporaries had an inkling of its possible consequences.”

Som tidigare noterats på sajten har Kissinger backat upp i stort sett alla USA:s senare krig, men han har samtidigt pläderat för en maktbalans mellan stormakterna, vilken är grunden för fred. Genom sina erfarenheter och sin förmåga att skriva klart, är det alltid intressant att läsa Kissingers böcker.

Slutligen frågar man sig om de Gaulle hade kunnat förhindra ett krig i Ukraina, vilket förstås är omöjligt att veta, men dennes efterträdare, president Macron, tillsammans med Tysklands förbundskansler Scholtz, gjorde dock ett allvarligt försök i början av 2022 att få Ukraina och Ryssland att bli vid det så kallade Minsk II-avtalet , vilket dock var lönlöst efter det att USA (inte Nato) och Ukraina den 10 november 2021 ingick ett avtal om strategiskt partnerskap.