by Adam Segal
In 1954, U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles delivered a speech at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) threatening massive nuclear retaliation as the basis of American foreign policy. Many experts feared that the policy would in fact increase the chances of a nuclear war, and soon after CFR convened a study group chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger to identify the long-term implications of nuclear weapons. That group led to the publication in 1957 of his book, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, a seminal work that explored the concepts of nuclear stability, deterrence, and arms control that continue to shape U.S. nuclear and arms control policy today.
Kissinger has now published his latest book, World Order, and while the bulk of his attention focuses on the questions of strategy and balance of power that have consumed him for the better part of his career, about twenty pages grapple with another technology that is remaking foreign policy. Kissinger notes this is the first time he has written about “Internet matters,” and while he admits that he is “essentially ignorant of their technical matters,” he also says he has “reflected a great deal about the impact of new technology on policymaking” (p. 376).