The United States has suffered from its lack of a true diplomat. The last real diplomacy to be pursued by the US happened under Nixon/Kissinger with their initiative with communist China. They realized that the US faced a menacing communist coalition between the Soviet Union and communist China, so Nixon, despite his anti-communism, did something about it. In an unprecedented and unanticipated move, he went to China and extended the olive branch to the Chinese — with the obvious intention of creating a fissure between the Soviet Union and communist China in their relations with the US.
That is called DIPLOMACY. It is a mixture of both vision and practicality — the vision to see what is indeed a better outcome than the current set of circumstances and the practicality to see how to make it happen. To be an effective diplomat — not a partisan ideologue pushing a questionable agenda — but a true diplomat, you need both. Missing either and you are spinning your wheels.
So how has diplomacy in the last 60 years or so been such an absolute failure? You merely have to look at all the current serious situations that have continued to fester without any clear resolution in sight to realize this. What are they? Not hard to identity. China/Taiwan; North Korea/South Korea; North Korea/Japan; Europe-NATO-US/Russia; Pakistan/India over Kashmir; Israel/Iran. The China/Taiwan situation has the possibility of bringing the US into a nuclear confrontation with China. North Korea/South Korea ditto. North Korea/Japan ditto. Europe-NATO-US/Russia a nuclear confrontation between the two sides. Pakistan/India colossal loss of life and economic devastation for the two countries and ultimately the world. Israel/Iran can bring the US and Russia into direct and inescapable conflict.
Very serious consequences for all of these situations. Yet there has been no diplomat worth his salt to come up with a vision and the practicality to resolve any of them, and these situations are all very long in the tooth — decades — and festering…perhaps “smoldering” is the right word here. Many of these situations, like the entangling alliances that led to World War 1, could lead to a world war that none of us could even imagine.
So where is our Metternich of the 21st century to lead the world out of its darkness and away from the abyss, away from a second Middle Ages and the destruction of our very civilization? Nowhere to be found. And the clock keeps ticking on all of these situations, like a bomb, a very big bomb.