The Foreign Service Journal, December 2011

26 F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 1 substitute for human contact. Just be careful about what you say, and be sure your diplomacy is supported by strength. The Pursuit of Big Ideas Perhaps we can also gain some momentum for this agenda of strength, cooperation, containment and diplo- macy from the pursuit of two big ideas on a global scale. Each is drawn from the Ronald Reagan playbook used during the Cold War. First, can we find our way to a world free of nuclear weapons? At their 1986 summit in Reykjavik, President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev came close to an agreement that would have led to the abolition of most kinds of nuclear weapons. As I told Pres. Reagan fol- lowing the summit, Reykjavik was a success, not a fail- ure, because it demonstrated the possibility of a world free of the nuclear threat. Today Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, Bill Perry and I, along with many others, are work- ing hard toward the goal of a world without nuclear weapons. Second, can we reach a broad consensus to attack the issue of global warming? The Montreal Protocol, devel- oped during the Reagan period, was the 1987 interna- tional agreement to phase out the production of materials that were depleting the ozone layer of the atmosphere. The agreement has been implemented so widely that for- mer United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan called it “perhaps the single most successful international agree- ment to date.” Pres. Reagan called it a “magnificent achievement.” It worked, in part, because every state was part of the problem and took part in the solution. We need to put ideas that work into play once again to deal with climate change. The pursuit of big ideas on a world scale might well generate just the sense of cohesion that would help like- minded nations face down other problems that threaten our peace and our prosperity. Heeding the important lessons from the end of the Cold War will help us as we work to solve today’s most urgent problems. ■ F OCUS