In Box

The List: The World's Kissingers

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.


Country: Singapore

Age: 86

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.

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Country: Brazil

Age: 67

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."



Country: Saudi Arabia

Age: 65

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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Country: Turkey

Age: 51

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.


In Box

Dayton Discord

How the international community failed Bosnia.

Major diplomatic achievements are usually the result of years of toil, bitter negotiations, and the successful balancing of diametrically opposed interests. But often, in the search for the big breakthrough, the little guys get left behind.

Consider Jakob Finci, a client of mine who challenged the systematic discrimination he suffered as a member of Bosnia's small Jewish community. During the 1990s civil war in the former Yugoslav republic, smaller groups, like the Jews, tried to remain neutral -- and many individuals, like Finci himself, took on dangerous work crossing the front lines to bring relief. Then, in 1995, famous diplomats such as U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke used their expertise to design a constitution to ensure such a war never took place again.

But one result of dividing political power among Yugoslavia's three main groups was that others, including the Jews and Roma, were relegated to second-class status and actually prevented from standing for the presidency or the parliament's upper house. You might have thought such blatant discrimination could not last long, especially as the international community was still overseeing the governing of Bosnia. You would be wrong. After 15 years, the Jews and Roma are still labeled "others" and excluded from the heights of power. Reform of this absurd system depended on the Bosnian politicians elected under the existing rules, who unsurprisingly have been in no hurry to change.

So Finci turned to the European Court of Human Rights in what became a most surreal case. Finci, a prominent public figure in Bosnia, was appointed ambassador to Switzerland, even as he was suing the country he represented. One of Bosnia's three presidents gave a speech in 2008 denouncing the very discrimination his government was defending in the case. Finally, the three-year-old case culminated last June before the Grand Chamber of the European Court in Strasbourg, France.

In its decision, the court had to grapple with the complexities of human rights after conflict. Ours was the first case at the European Court to take on the question of whether a state's constitution can violate the European Convention on Human Rights, and also the first to use a new provision of the convention that prohibits all forms of discrimination.

For such a historic case, it was a remarkably short hearing -- just three hours. The verdict, however, took months. Finally, on Dec. 22, it came: Excluding Jews, Roma, and other minorities from the presidency and upper house was declared to be discrimination. A no-brainer, perhaps. But such a system had existed for all these years in a country supposedly under international tutelage. The one judge who dissented warned that messing with the postwar settlement could spark new conflict. But the Dayton Accords were hardly a recipe for long-term stability and peace. Cyprus and Lebanon have similar political systems that exclude some minorities, and neither country can be described as peaceful or stable. Now, Bosnia will have to prove that equality works.

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