A country's foreign policy is often defined less by its elected leader than its behind-the-scenes operators and elder statesmen. Here are four figures setting the global agenda for the world's emerging powers, just as Henry Kissinger set America's for over 50 years.
- By Joshua E. KeatingJoshua E. Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy.
LEE KUAN YEW
Position: Former prime minister, current “minister mentor” (a cabinet-level position created specifically for him)
Legacy: After shepherding Singapore to unprecedented economic growth over his 31 years as prime minister, Lee has become an apostle for the Asian model of growth, a mix of economic liberalization and rigid political control.
Lee always said that Singapore’s foreign policy was dictated by its small size — it cannot survive without international and regional cooperation. But the influence of his ideas can be seen in the “peaceful rise” and not so peaceful governance of the world’s most populous country: China.
Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images
Position: Foreign minister
Legacy: A controversial former academic who once compared wealthy countries’ negotiating tactics to those of Joseph Goebbels, Amorim has deftly managed the nigh-impossible balancing act between the United States and Brazil’s leftist neighbors in Venezuela and Cuba while also building Brazil’s alliances with other emerging powers.
Speaking of the alliance with Russia, India, and China, Amorim said, “You have a new configuration of power appearing in the world.… We can’t be conditioned by the views coming from the United States and the EU. We have to look from our own perspective.”
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
Country: Saudi Arabia
Position: Former ambassador to Britain and the United States, ex-director of the Saudi foreign-intelligence service
Legacy: As chief of the Saudi kingdom’s external intelligence service, the youngest son of the late King Faisal helped fund and organize the Afghan resistance to the occupying Soviet forces. Working as ambassador to Britain and then the United States in the years following 9/11, Turki emerged as part diplomat, part pundit. He resigned in 2006 but remains an influential advisor in Riyadh and a fixture in Washington.
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Position: Foreign minister
Legacy: A keen student of history, the brash and outspoken Davutoglu believes in restoring Turkey’s Ottoman glories so that Turkey once again carries weight in the Middle East. Under his guidance, Turkey has strengthened its ties with Arab governments and sought to play the role of mediator in Arab-Israeli conflicts.
At the same time, Davutoglu supports Turkey’s eventual membership in the European Union: “Turkey can be European in Europe and Eastern in the East because we are both,” he says.
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