Foreign Policy After Kissinger

January 7, 1977

Report Outline
Expected Changes Under Carter
Question of Russia and China
Concern About the Middle East
Relations with America's Allies
Instability in the Third World
Special Focus

Expected Changes Under Carter

New Diplomatic ‘style’ Unlike Dissinger's

Henry A. kissinger may not be regarded with the awe he once was, but the criticism he has been subjected to, particularly during the last two years, has lessened as his departure as Secretary of State has drawn near. The “Lone Ranger” of American foreign policy, as President-elect Carter characterized him in last fall's campaign, leaves office on Jan. 20. But his impact on this country's relations with the rest of the world is likely to be a subject of debate for decades. Many observers are predicting that while Carter and his advisers may change the style and perhaps even some of the priorities of foreign policy, the substance will retain the Kissinger imprint.

Kissinger's “preoccupation” with U.S.-Soviet relations and his preference for step-by-step diplomacy in the Middle East have drawn criticism over the years. Moreover, he has been accused of neglecting America's traditional allies, supporting repressive right-wing regimes, and being inattentive to economic problems between rich and poor nations. But in the past year, the Secretary of State has countered these criticisms by giving more attention to Western Europe and Japan, advocating an overall settlement in the Middle East and black majority rule in southern Africa, condemning human rights violations in Chile and elsewhere, and proposing plans for alleviating the economic imbalance between developed and developing nations.

These initiatives led columnist Joseph Kraft to comment on Nov. 21, 1976: “Kissinger's legacy is a good U.S. position almost everywhere in the world—with respect to Russia, to China, to Europe and Japan, in the Middle East and even with the less-developed countries of the Third World. The task of the next administration is to exploit these favorable positions in a way that fosters long-term settlements.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Cold War
Diplomacy and Diplomats
Powers and History of the Presidency
Regional Political Affairs: Middle East and South Asia
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union