Foreign Policy Blogs

Know Thyself

Over at the Election 2008 blog, Mark Dillen discusses Madeleine Albright's book "Memo to the Next President Elect: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership." His post also contains a good soundbite from Albright in which she clarifies a common misunderstanding about diplomatic efforts: "Diplomacy is not appeasement. You can deliver tough messages as well as nice messages, but there has to be a dialogue."

Earlier this month, Albright opined that America has "developed a dangerous lack of self-awareness." She continues, "we need to do a better job of seeing ourselves as others do true confidence is shown by a willingness to enter into difficult debates, answer criticism, treat others with respect and do our share or more in tackling global problems. Confidence harnessed to purpose is what America at its best has been all about."

Her statement about America's lack of self-awareness reminds one of Sun Tzu's warning, "know thy enemy but not thyself, wallow in defeat everytime." Indeed, it would serve the United States well to heed both Albright and Sun Tzu's advice.