Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (search) said Tuesday he was "uneasy" about uniting all of the country's intelligence operations under a single chief, he worried about the possibility of a nuclear Iran and he's "optimistic" the disputed security fence in Israel might eventually result in a negotiated solution to the Middle East conflict.
Speaking at a luncheon hosted by the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation in Manhattan, Kissinger, who served as secretary of state under presidents Richard Nixon (search) and Gerald Ford (search), touched on several major foreign policy issues currently affecting the U.S.
Kissinger said that while he believed the 9/11 commission had done a great public service, he did not agree with all of the commission's recommendations and he did not think that the country should act on the recommendations before the November presidential election. Particularly, he worried that by creating a single intelligence chief, dissenting views in the intelligence community would be stifled.
"It is important to separate analysis from policy," said Kissinger, who said that he believed military intelligence should remain close to the tactical needs of the commanders. "Uniting all the intelligence services under one leader creates too powerful a structure."
In addition, Kissinger said he thought that Iran was playing "at least some role" in the uprisings in Iraq. He said he believed that Iran wants Iraq to be as weak as possible, and he worried about Iran's nuclear ambitions.
"Iran will present a question for how much time we have before their nuclear program is irreversible," said Kissinger, who said he thought that countries that were threatened should come together in response as soon as possible.
When asked what he thought the impact of the Iraq war on the Middle East conflict would be, Kissinger said that if the U.S. was perceived to lose in Iraq, then it would give an impetus to the Palestinian cause by seeming to show that terrorism could be effective. He said, however, that he thought a solution may be emerging in the conflict.
"The security wall creates a basis by which a negotiation can be reached," said Kissinger. "If a major effort is made after the [U.S. presidential] election, I can imagine what progress might look like. I am fairly optimistic that a serious peace effort may emerge."
Kissinger is a member of the Defense Police Board and the chairman of Kissinger Associates Inc., an international consulting firm. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (the nation's highest civilian award) in 1977.