As President Obama prepares to address the nation on the threat by the Islamic State, Henry Kissinger says the United States needs to strike the terror group in retaliation for the decapitation of two American journalists, then eliminate it “as an operating force in the region.”
In an interview with USA TODAY, the former secretary of State and adviser to a string of presidents describes that task as achievable in a reasonable amount of time — “if we do it with enough intensity” — and says the deployment of U.S. ground troops shouldn’t be “necessary or appropriate.”
He also cautions that the American objective should be carefully defined.
“We have to keep in mind that we’ve been in five wars since World War II, and in only one can we say we’ve reached the objective stated,” he said. “So we should state the objective that does not get us into an endless conflict.”
Kissinger was interviewed in his office, which features a spectacular view down Park Avenue and framed photos of him with world leaders from Mao to Mandela. At the table to one side of the couch is an autographed photo from Richard Nixon (“With deep appreciation”) next to one from Barack Obama (“Thanks for your continued leadership”).
At age 91, the nation’s senior foreign policy elder moves more slowly and with the help of a cane, but he continues to travel, to meet with foreign leaders and to write. His 21st book, World Order, published by Penguin Press, goes on sale Tuesday.