Isaac Hale, UVU Marketing
Former U.S. Ambassador Frank G. Wisner addressed two groups at Utah Valley University regarding the country’s relations with Russia, China and Iran in two speeches Tuesday and Wednesday.
Addressing UVU leaders, students and national security professors, Wisner began his remarks by saying that the United States is going through a particularly difficult time in foreign policy and that the “tectonic plates” of power are move after three decades.
“America is looking at a very troubled world with a host of new issues – the COVID pandemic and its economic fallout, the number of refugees we have not seen since World War II, climate change,” he said. -he declares. “And unfortunately our country is weaker than it has ever been – weaker politics, people have lost faith in government and a lot of faith has been destroyed in this country.”
Wisner set the stage by going back to 1989, where he explained that the United States “stands as a hegemon over the world”, but noted that power has changed and the military has become stronger, creating what he called a “multipolar” world. where the United States shares a seat at the table but no longer sits at the head.
Based on his more than 60 years of diplomatic experience, he said watching relations with Russia, China and Iran shift and transform is astounding – unlike anything he’s ever seen.
Isaac Hale, UVU Marketing
“We need new policies to deal with the realities of a multipolar world and a new sense of priority for diplomacy,” Wisner said. “As Lord Salisbury — British Prime Minister at the end of the 19th century — said, ‘You cannot build new approaches on the corpses of old policies.’ We have to think again; we must change.
He went on to say that the United States had misjudged the three major powers – Russia, China and Iran. “We overlooked the fact that Russians are Russians,” he said. “They are not like us. People will be themselves in their cultures. They have a history of invasion, dismemberment and threat – that’s where they come from. China faces a national sense of humiliation – they are rebuilding their borders and demanding respect – and Iran wants to protect itself, referring to the outcome of the Iran-Iraq war.
Wisner argued for the great need for diplomacy – that the need has never been greater. He said it was not a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, but a careful assessment of one’s own power with a clear view of a rival’s interests and strengths, and a path to find ground for. agreement, without war.
“We have to understand and learn to manage different powers with different ambitions,” Wisner said. “We all want peace and productive stability. Our path is not the only one – we must consider the interests of others.
Wisner spoke of the need for the United States to rebuild consensus internally and speak with one voice, saying that the strength of a nation and the strength of society make institutions work, and how, “we must be one people”.
“Our modern statecraft must be based on moderation and nuance, but proceed with force – a force that is more than military might,” he said. “A strength that is built from things like a strong economy, strong infrastructure, etc.”
He shared his “four Cs” on how the United States should interact with nations in the multipolar world: confront, compete, cooperate and communicate.
According to Wisner, the United States must face up when China or others encroach on other countries, learn to compete with other countries, cooperate on issues such as climate change and pandemics, and communicate while keeping an open line between the United States and China, Russia and Iran. . The United States must explain itself so that other countries do not feel threatened, he said.
Wisner concluded his remarks by saying that diplomacy will not work without great military power and there will never be peace, but it will be a work in progress. “What you [the U.S.] what you have achieved today is temporary, but you have to build on it,” he said. “Diplomacy is more important today than ever in my life. Diplomacy takes us through negotiations that are often painful, but end without painful violence and without having to go to war.
Wisner served as United States Ambassador to Zambia under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, to Egypt under Reagan and George HW Bush, to the Philippines under Bush, and to India under Bill Clinton.