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Kissinger’s final warning On the eve of his century, Washington's man has been exiled

The original “imperealist” (Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images)

The original “imperealist” (Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images)


May 24, 2023   6 mins

How one chooses to celebrate Kissinger’s Century depends on where you sit in the “Kissinger wars”. To his detractors, Henry Kissinger was an imperialist who pursued US global supremacy with unmatched ruthlessness and cynicism. To his supporters, he was a diplomatic genius and a peacemaker.

In The Trial of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hitchens famously called for his prosecution “for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offences against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture”. For him, the Kissinger Doctrine was dangerously straightforward: the US reserved the right to intervene anywhere in the world in defence of its interest, including by conspiring against democratically elected governments.

This manifested itself in a number of ways: in Kissinger’s support for Pinochet’s violent overthrow of Allende’s socialist government in Chile and for the 17-year-long dictatorship that followed; in his approval of the equally brutal Argentinian military junta of Jorge Videla; in his enabling of the Indonesian occupation of East Timor and the campaign of state-sponsored terror that followed; in his secret support for Pakistan as it committed shocking atrocities in Bangladesh; and in his encouragement of Nixon’s secret bombing campaign against neutral Cambodia and Laos, which killed an estimated 150,000 civilians. So wide-ranging was US interventionism under Kissinger that, in 1976, a 33-year-old Joe Biden accused him of trying to promulgate “a global Monroe Doctrine”.

Of all the offences committed by Kissinger, the Indochina bombing campaign is perhaps the most damning. In Kissinger’s Shadow, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Greg Grandin chronicled the scope of the destruction. The United States, Grandin wrote, dropped “a trillion pieces of shrapnel — either ball bearings or razor-sharp barbed darts” on Indochina. In Laos, American pilots deployed “a ton of explosives for each and every” citizen, which continue to maim and kill Laotian men, women and children to this day. As a portrait of Kissinger’s “grand strategy”, it is hard to disagree with Hitchens’s conclusion that his actions reveal a “a callous indifference to human life and human rights” — and to democracy, one may add.

With his reputation largely (and questionably) untainted by Watergate, Kissinger went on to found, in 1982, his own lucrative geopolitical consulting firm, Kissinger Associates, which he continues to run. We know relatively little of the work it carries out. Several attempts have been made, at the congressional level, to get the company to hand over its secretive “client list” — but all have failed. In 1989, Senator Jesse Helms unsuccessfully demanded to be shown it before he would consider confirming Lawrence Eagleburger (a Kissinger protégé and an employee of Kissinger Associates) as Deputy Secretary of State. In 2002, Kissinger chose to quit as chair of the 9/11 Commission rather than hand over the list for public review.

It is no secret, however, that Kissinger has used his extensive knowledge of and close relationship with foreign governments — including, one must assume, the several dictatorships he helped come to power — to advance the interests of some of the world’s largest corporations, including American Express, Coca-Cola, Daewoo, Heinz, Ericsson, Fiat and Volvo. As Grandin writes: “Kissinger Associates was an early player in the wave of privatisations that took place after the end of the Cold War — in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and Latin America — helping to create a new international oligarchic class.”

Yet for every historian professing Kissinger’s alleged evil, there is another extolling his diplomatic genius. Perhaps the most illustrious representative of this second grouping is Niall Ferguson, who has published the first half of his authorised two-volume biography. For those such as Ferguson, Kissinger’s crimes were justified in the name of the Holy War against communism — which the United States, after all, won. As he wrote in his first volume: “Arguments that focus on loss of life in strategically marginal countries — and there is no other way of describing Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Cyprus, and East Timor — must be tested against this question: how, in each case, would an alternative decision have affected US relations with strategically important countries like the Soviet Union, China, and the major Western European powers?”. The burden of proof, Ferguson suggested, is on critics to show how different policies “would have produced better results”.

More convincingly, Kissinger’s defenders focus on his diplomatic achievements, which are hard to dispute. America’s détente with the Soviet Union; the normalisation of US-China relations; an Arab-Israeli truce following the 1973 Yom Kippur War; the Paris Peace Accords to end the Vietnam War — all brought more peace to the world, and all were masterminded by Henry Alfred Kissinger.

So, was Kissinger an arch-imperialist or an arch-peacemaker? In a sense, he was neither. Both sides of the Kissinger wars tend to overemphasise his influence on US foreign policy during the Seventies, ignoring the deeper systemic trends at play. Insofar as Kissinger’s aggressive interventionism is concerned, this should be situated within the grander picture of the “structural” violence that has characterised the American Empire — both before and after he was in office. On some level, then, Kissinger simply did what he knew was expected of him. After all, virtually every post-1945 American statesman could be accused of crimes against humanity — which is, of course, the very reason such accusations largely don’t stick.

Similarly, Kissinger’s diplomatic efforts also need to be situated within the wider “realist” consensus that dominated US policymaking during the Cold War. This framework took for granted that the US should pursue its interests, even ruthlessly so, but was also aware that the “multipolar” reality of the Cold War meant striking some kind of balance between America and other established (the Soviet Union) or ascending (China) powers, especially in the age of nuclear weapons.

From a different perspective, however, one could also argue that both camps are right: Kissinger was both an imperialist and a realist — an “imperealist”, one might say. Indeed, throughout his career, Kissinger has consistently warned against the dangers of America’s tendency to view itself as a unique nation endowed with a quasi-religious “manifest destiny” to spread its values — first and foremost democracy — to the rest of the world. Instead, he argued for an approach based on a hard-headed assessment of balancing the US’s national interests with those of other powers.

This, from Kissinger’s perspective, was even truer in the post-Cold War world. In his 1994 memoir, Diplomacy, he argued that in an international system characterised by five or six major powers, order could only emerge from a reconciliation of different national interests, with an acceptance of the legitimacy of opposing values. However, he recognised that America’s emergence as the single, most powerful global power made this unlikely; rather, it risked empowering those factions in the US establishment who aspired to unilaterally dictate the global agenda under the pretence of remodelling the world in America’s image.

This, of course, is exactly what happened. Since the Nineties, American foreign policy has been characterised by a perverse mix of aggressive imperialism, predicated on the view that the rise of any alternative power represents a vital threat to US supremacy, and moralistic democracy-versus-authoritarianism Manicheism. Particularly worrying is the fact that this zero-sum paradigm continues to dominate US foreign policy despite the emergence of two civilisational super-states — China and Russia — which openly challenge “Western values” and the US-led global order. This inevitably sets the world on a path of global conflict. Biden’s foreign policy, in this sense, is neoconservative through and through.

It is therefore no surprise that Kissinger has grown increasingly at odds with the consensus in Washington. In recent years, he has repeatedly railed against America’s confrontational approach towards Russia and China, warning against the risk of a new Cold War — one that is now all but underway. In 2016, for example, he advised Donald Trump to accept Crimea as part of Russia as part of a negotiated settlement, and last year he suggested that incautious policies on the part of the US and Nato were partly responsible for sparking the invasion of Ukraine (though he also recently argued that, at this point, it would be in Russia’s interest for Ukraine to join Nato). Meanwhile, in a recent interview with The Economist, he called on America to rethink its policy vis-à-vis Taiwan and repair its relations with China. “We are at the edge of war with Russia and China on issues which we partly created, without any concept of how this is going to end or what it’s supposed to lead to,” he explained last August.

The fact that even the words of a heavyweight such as Kissinger today go unheeded in Washington simply confirms the fact that he was much more a product than an architect of modern America. For better or for worse, Henry Kissinger’s century was the American century — and they are both coming to a close. Yet here, too, the US establishment would do well to meditate on Kissinger’s final warning: that America’s increasingly desperate attempts to preserve its dying hegemony won’t save the country. Rather, they will only accelerate its decline — and plunge the world into chaos.


Thomas Fazi is an UnHerd columnist and translator. His latest book is The Covid Consensus, co-authored with Toby Green.

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Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago

“After all, virtually every post-1945 American statesman could be accused of crimes against humanity ”
Except Trump

Thomas Bartlett
TB
Thomas Bartlett
11 months ago

Trump may have been President, but he has never been a statesman. He is nothing but a self-aggrandizing, cowardly grifter.

Rocky Martiano
RM
Rocky Martiano
11 months ago

He is also one of the few US Presidents not to have started a war while in office.

Last edited 11 months ago by Rocky Martiano
Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
11 months ago

Spot on

Carlos Danger
Carlos Danger
10 months ago

Donald Trump has a pretty good record as a statesman. Pacified North Korea. Swatted down Iran. Supported Israel (moved embassy to Jerusalem and Abraham Accords). Got out of Afghanistan. Stood up to Russia (reinvigorated NATO and warned Germany of energy dependence). Worked with Mexico to tamped down illegal immigration. Negotiated new NAFTA. Stood up to China.
None of which enriched Donald Trump. He lost billions during his presidency.

Last edited 10 months ago by Carlos Danger
Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
10 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

And negotiated the Abraham Accords.

Bryan Dale
BD
Bryan Dale
10 months ago
Reply to  Carlos Danger

And negotiated the Abraham Accords.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
10 months ago

If you were Afghan, Iraqi, Syrian, Libyan, Russian etc. you might think differently?

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
10 months ago

He was never a politician but saw America as a business (- same approach by Lee Kuan Yew for Singapore).
He tamed Rocket Man in this way. Wanted to discuss Real Estate opportunity on the coast in North Korea.
A different character entirely but one that didn’t invade, interfere and murder people abroad. *They* hated him from the start. Much can be learned from this.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
11 months ago

He is also one of the few US Presidents not to have started a war while in office.

Last edited 11 months ago by Rocky Martiano
Coralie Palmer
CP
Coralie Palmer
11 months ago

Spot on

Carlos Danger
CD
Carlos Danger
10 months ago

Donald Trump has a pretty good record as a statesman. Pacified North Korea. Swatted down Iran. Supported Israel (moved embassy to Jerusalem and Abraham Accords). Got out of Afghanistan. Stood up to Russia (reinvigorated NATO and warned Germany of energy dependence). Worked with Mexico to tamped down illegal immigration. Negotiated new NAFTA. Stood up to China.
None of which enriched Donald Trump. He lost billions during his presidency.

Last edited 10 months ago by Carlos Danger
Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
10 months ago

If you were Afghan, Iraqi, Syrian, Libyan, Russian etc. you might think differently?

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
10 months ago

He was never a politician but saw America as a business (- same approach by Lee Kuan Yew for Singapore).
He tamed Rocket Man in this way. Wanted to discuss Real Estate opportunity on the coast in North Korea.
A different character entirely but one that didn’t invade, interfere and murder people abroad. *They* hated him from the start. Much can be learned from this.

N T
N T
11 months ago

He did say, “virtually.”

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
11 months ago

Oh come on. The hair alone…

Kip Calderara
Kip Calderara
10 months ago

If deliberately murdering truth can be regarded as a crime against humanity, Trump even outranks Nixon.

Thomas Bartlett
TB
Thomas Bartlett
11 months ago

Trump may have been President, but he has never been a statesman. He is nothing but a self-aggrandizing, cowardly grifter.

N T
N T
11 months ago

He did say, “virtually.”

Coralie Palmer
CP
Coralie Palmer
11 months ago

Oh come on. The hair alone…

Kip Calderara
Kip Calderara
10 months ago

If deliberately murdering truth can be regarded as a crime against humanity, Trump even outranks Nixon.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 months ago

“After all, virtually every post-1945 American statesman could be accused of crimes against humanity ”
Except Trump

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
11 months ago

It was the wonderful Tom Lehrer who observed, ‘Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel peace prize.’ Fazi appears to be at one with Niall Ferguson and his recent statement: ‘Happy centenary, Henry. It’s your world, after all. We just live in it’. Yup. Kissinger made a great deal of what was, and remains, utterly rotten about the world we now live in.

Last edited 11 months ago by Coralie Palmer
William Perry
William Perry
11 months ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

Niall Ferguson. Not to be confused with the University College Professor of Doom.

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
11 months ago
Reply to  William Perry

Ta – now corrected!

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
10 months ago
Reply to  William Perry

Curiously both first names are pronounced (almost) the same.. Niall is Irish Gaelic and is properly pronounced Nee-ul, ie similar Neil..

Coralie Palmer
Coralie Palmer
11 months ago
Reply to  William Perry

Ta – now corrected!

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
10 months ago
Reply to  William Perry

Curiously both first names are pronounced (almost) the same.. Niall is Irish Gaelic and is properly pronounced Nee-ul, ie similar Neil..

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
10 months ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

People and their institutions and beliefs make the word “rotten” to the extent that it is. Pinning this on one individual, albeit an influential one, is ridiculous. The US is far from being the worst offender, despite its power. Bolsheviks and National Socialists killed millions, Mao, tens of millions.

The US negotiated realistically with Mao’s China, and did not go to war.

The Thirty Years War killed and impoverished vast numbers in Europe – no Kissinger required! Just so many other examples…

William Perry
William Perry
11 months ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

Niall Ferguson. Not to be confused with the University College Professor of Doom.

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
10 months ago
Reply to  Coralie Palmer

People and their institutions and beliefs make the word “rotten” to the extent that it is. Pinning this on one individual, albeit an influential one, is ridiculous. The US is far from being the worst offender, despite its power. Bolsheviks and National Socialists killed millions, Mao, tens of millions.

The US negotiated realistically with Mao’s China, and did not go to war.

The Thirty Years War killed and impoverished vast numbers in Europe – no Kissinger required! Just so many other examples…

Coralie Palmer
CP
Coralie Palmer
11 months ago

It was the wonderful Tom Lehrer who observed, ‘Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel peace prize.’ Fazi appears to be at one with Niall Ferguson and his recent statement: ‘Happy centenary, Henry. It’s your world, after all. We just live in it’. Yup. Kissinger made a great deal of what was, and remains, utterly rotten about the world we now live in.

Last edited 11 months ago by Coralie Palmer
Rod McLaughlin
RM
Rod McLaughlin
11 months ago

Niall Ferguson argues that napalming schoolchildren has to be weighed against the defeat of communism. I got that far.

B Timothy
BT
B Timothy
11 months ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

Just wait until you read about how we won that last World War

P N
PN
P N
11 months ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

Because the communists would never do anything like starve and torture their population to death, or merely send them to the Gulags? Personally I do not believe the ends justify the means but Ferguson has a point; what horrors would have been carried out had the communists won? We have plenty of data to show what that might have looked like.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
11 months ago
Reply to  P N

True – tis easy to evaluate in hindsight and be sanctimonious regarding a situation that was always going to be tragic . Managing human nastiness is always choosing the lesser of 2 evils….

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
10 months ago
Reply to  P N

There is no reason to believe Communist countries like Russia and China of old would not move on from their pograms and trea their citizens decently. Indeed they did just that, didn’t they? .. After all, the USA moved on from its genocide of millions of Native Americans and the brutal enslavement of millions if Africans..
Countries do become more civilised as a rule. Uniquely, largely thanks to degenerates like Kissinger et al, the US continued to assassinate leaders, topple governments, invade, bomb and murder people by the millions to this day.. although, to be fair, they are no longer the people within the USA (if we exclude 911, JFK, RFK, MLK etc.) preferring instead the brown, non evangelical, Muslim countries with lots of resources..
And all the while China has been busy eliminating mass poverty and helping African and Asia countries (not by fomenting war and supplying weapons to both sides) but through its highly laudable Belt and Road Initiative. I didn’t speak of Russia because, clearly it is not Communist, is it?

Terry M
TM
Terry M
10 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Haha! America airs its dirty laundry for all to see and is penitent. Russia, China, and others murder and enslave millions behind a veil of secrecy and fools like you fall for it.

Terry M
TM
Terry M
10 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Haha! America airs its dirty laundry for all to see and is penitent. Russia, China, and others murder and enslave millions behind a veil of secrecy and fools like you fall for it.

chris sullivan
CS
chris sullivan
11 months ago
Reply to  P N

True – tis easy to evaluate in hindsight and be sanctimonious regarding a situation that was always going to be tragic . Managing human nastiness is always choosing the lesser of 2 evils….

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
10 months ago
Reply to  P N

There is no reason to believe Communist countries like Russia and China of old would not move on from their pograms and trea their citizens decently. Indeed they did just that, didn’t they? .. After all, the USA moved on from its genocide of millions of Native Americans and the brutal enslavement of millions if Africans..
Countries do become more civilised as a rule. Uniquely, largely thanks to degenerates like Kissinger et al, the US continued to assassinate leaders, topple governments, invade, bomb and murder people by the millions to this day.. although, to be fair, they are no longer the people within the USA (if we exclude 911, JFK, RFK, MLK etc.) preferring instead the brown, non evangelical, Muslim countries with lots of resources..
And all the while China has been busy eliminating mass poverty and helping African and Asia countries (not by fomenting war and supplying weapons to both sides) but through its highly laudable Belt and Road Initiative. I didn’t speak of Russia because, clearly it is not Communist, is it?

B Timothy
BT
B Timothy
11 months ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

Just wait until you read about how we won that last World War

P N
PN
P N
11 months ago
Reply to  Rod McLaughlin

Because the communists would never do anything like starve and torture their population to death, or merely send them to the Gulags? Personally I do not believe the ends justify the means but Ferguson has a point; what horrors would have been carried out had the communists won? We have plenty of data to show what that might have looked like.

Rod McLaughlin
RM
Rod McLaughlin
11 months ago

Niall Ferguson argues that napalming schoolchildren has to be weighed against the defeat of communism. I got that far.

David McKee
David McKee
11 months ago

“The strong do what they like and the weak suffer what they must.”
Kissinger gets a lot of stick, but as as Fazi suggests, his hand was one of many on the American tiller, and only for a short space of time. Kissinger’s main ‘crime’ is that he explains things that we, nice people in rich countries, would prefer to gloss over. There is nothing particularly evil about the last 30 years of American hegemony. It is, by and large, an improvement on most of history, encapsulated in the quote from Thucydides, written 2,500 years ago. The problem isn’t Kissinger, or the United States. It’s humanity.
You think Kissinger is nasty? Try looking in the mirror, mate.

Nell Clover
NC
Nell Clover
10 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Agreed. It’s easy to point out there is a cancer in the body politic of the USA. It’s harder to accept the cancer is everywhere else in the world too.

Last edited 10 months ago by Nell Clover
Jeremy Sansom
Jeremy Sansom
10 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

For the last 2000 years, the antidote has been available, but for the majority it is too unpalatable, too costly. The realpolitik of the Kingdom of God is driven by the understanding that the corruption of the world lies in every human heart.
“But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” (Solzhenitsyn)
That Kingdom is won one heart at a time.
As always, the real battle is unseen: Christ v. Antichrist. The Revelation of the Bible is that in the last days, Antichrist appears to gain the upper hand. For a short season.
Yes, the first step to peace is to examine our own hearts.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
10 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

Agreed. It’s easy to point out there is a cancer in the body politic of the USA. It’s harder to accept the cancer is everywhere else in the world too.

Last edited 10 months ago by Nell Clover
Jeremy Sansom
JS
Jeremy Sansom
10 months ago
Reply to  David McKee

For the last 2000 years, the antidote has been available, but for the majority it is too unpalatable, too costly. The realpolitik of the Kingdom of God is driven by the understanding that the corruption of the world lies in every human heart.
“But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” (Solzhenitsyn)
That Kingdom is won one heart at a time.
As always, the real battle is unseen: Christ v. Antichrist. The Revelation of the Bible is that in the last days, Antichrist appears to gain the upper hand. For a short season.
Yes, the first step to peace is to examine our own hearts.

David McKee
David McKee
11 months ago

“The strong do what they like and the weak suffer what they must.”
Kissinger gets a lot of stick, but as as Fazi suggests, his hand was one of many on the American tiller, and only for a short space of time. Kissinger’s main ‘crime’ is that he explains things that we, nice people in rich countries, would prefer to gloss over. There is nothing particularly evil about the last 30 years of American hegemony. It is, by and large, an improvement on most of history, encapsulated in the quote from Thucydides, written 2,500 years ago. The problem isn’t Kissinger, or the United States. It’s humanity.
You think Kissinger is nasty? Try looking in the mirror, mate.

B Timothy
B Timothy
11 months ago

The Kissinger strategy of exploiting divisions between Moscow and Beijing while strengthening relations with the Arab oil producers to undercut Moscow could be a model for how to act now. Instead, the USA is forcing Moscow and Beijing together while pushing the Arabs away. Bold strategy. We’ll see how it works out.
The commie scum that have taken power in Cuba, Venezuela, and now Nicaragua (stop romancing the Sandinista dictatorship, por favor) and Peru have shown complete willingness to use machine guns to keep themselves in power. Anyone criticizing Pinochet without acknowledging this reality is a generation out of date. (In reality, Pinochet saved his nation and Kissinger should be given credit for helping save Chile from decades of communist ruin, but we can’t say that in polite company).
Ignoring (when not effectively hiding) the enforced mass rape and genocide that the Muslim half of the Indian subcontinent underwent due to geostrategic concerns does not look so great in retrospect however. Not that he’s at fault for the event, considering it occurred just a couple decades after Indian independence. What did we all expect from that, really? Lucky they haven’t nuked each other yet.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  B Timothy

I agree with second section but I am confused by the last about Muslim genocide etc.
Could you explain, please.

B Timothy
BT
B Timothy
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

When the British Empire left India they had to divide it up to keep the natives from killing each other over their asinine beliefs. Unfortunately, the Bangladesh half of the Muslim half of that divide had large populations of minorities who the then-Pakistani army ordered to be removed a couple years after the last Brit left. The Pakistanis started a campaign of killings and forced rape of women to encourage them to leave (the numbers of rapes are astoundingly horrific).
The US government was aligned with Pakistan and not the Soviet-adjacent Indians and was happy to let it stay hidden, when not aiding in the coverup.
It was largely former Beatle George Harrison who brought this all to the forefront of the western public (see his song “Bangla Desh”), though it’s never been something the US has been keen to highlight.

B Timothy
BT
B Timothy
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

When the British Empire left India they had to divide it up to keep the natives from killing each other over their asinine beliefs. Unfortunately, the Bangladesh half of the Muslim half of that divide had large populations of minorities who the then-Pakistani army ordered to be removed a couple years after the last Brit left. The Pakistanis started a campaign of killings and forced rape of women to encourage them to leave (the numbers of rapes are astoundingly horrific).
The US government was aligned with Pakistan and not the Soviet-adjacent Indians and was happy to let it stay hidden, when not aiding in the coverup.
It was largely former Beatle George Harrison who brought this all to the forefront of the western public (see his song “Bangla Desh”), though it’s never been something the US has been keen to highlight.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  B Timothy

I agree with second section but I am confused by the last about Muslim genocide etc.
Could you explain, please.

B Timothy
BT
B Timothy
11 months ago

The Kissinger strategy of exploiting divisions between Moscow and Beijing while strengthening relations with the Arab oil producers to undercut Moscow could be a model for how to act now. Instead, the USA is forcing Moscow and Beijing together while pushing the Arabs away. Bold strategy. We’ll see how it works out.
The commie scum that have taken power in Cuba, Venezuela, and now Nicaragua (stop romancing the Sandinista dictatorship, por favor) and Peru have shown complete willingness to use machine guns to keep themselves in power. Anyone criticizing Pinochet without acknowledging this reality is a generation out of date. (In reality, Pinochet saved his nation and Kissinger should be given credit for helping save Chile from decades of communist ruin, but we can’t say that in polite company).
Ignoring (when not effectively hiding) the enforced mass rape and genocide that the Muslim half of the Indian subcontinent underwent due to geostrategic concerns does not look so great in retrospect however. Not that he’s at fault for the event, considering it occurred just a couple decades after Indian independence. What did we all expect from that, really? Lucky they haven’t nuked each other yet.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
11 months ago

Given post-Eisenhower American foreign policy before the influence Kissinger saw the quagmire that was Vietnam and after saw the quagmires of Afghanistan and Iraq, I’m prepared to accept Kissinger was possibly a small moderating influence on the industrial-military complex Eisenhower worried about. It is fair to ask critics of Kissinger to explain what he could have done differently when it is abundantly clear there is a malignancy at the heart of the American state, in an equally malignant world.

Every analysis of Kissinger’s supposed hyperinfluence uses comparisons and alternate histories, which suggests his achievements and failures were heavily influenced by other actors. Men who’ve held real supreme power don’t need comparisons and alternative histories to show that power.

Last edited 11 months ago by Nell Clover
Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

I mostly agree with you, but what about China?
Whatever was Kisinger reasoning at the time, opening to China was terrible mistake.

Nell Clover
NC
Nell Clover
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty, material living standards for just about every person on the planet are improved by cheap Chinese goods, and China can’t disrupt, let alone challenge, Western hegemony unless the West continues to self-inflict damage to its own economy, its own demographics and its enlightenment heritage.

Bruce V
BV
Bruce V
10 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

“unless the West continues to self-inflict damage to its own economy, its own demographics and its enlightenment heritage.”
Well uh, done, done, and really done.

Bruce V
BV
Bruce V
10 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

“unless the West continues to self-inflict damage to its own economy, its own demographics and its enlightenment heritage.”
Well uh, done, done, and really done.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Filthy rich American moguls realised they could be even richer by moving to China to avail of its cheap labour, abandoning the US workers and its industrial base. There was nothing altruistic about it. As you sow, so shall you reap.

Nell Clover
NC
Nell Clover
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty, material living standards for just about every person on the planet are improved by cheap Chinese goods, and China can’t disrupt, let alone challenge, Western hegemony unless the West continues to self-inflict damage to its own economy, its own demographics and its enlightenment heritage.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
10 months ago
Reply to  Andrew F

Filthy rich American moguls realised they could be even richer by moving to China to avail of its cheap labour, abandoning the US workers and its industrial base. There was nothing altruistic about it. As you sow, so shall you reap.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

I mostly agree with you, but what about China?
Whatever was Kisinger reasoning at the time, opening to China was terrible mistake.

Nell Clover
NC
Nell Clover
11 months ago

Given post-Eisenhower American foreign policy before the influence Kissinger saw the quagmire that was Vietnam and after saw the quagmires of Afghanistan and Iraq, I’m prepared to accept Kissinger was possibly a small moderating influence on the industrial-military complex Eisenhower worried about. It is fair to ask critics of Kissinger to explain what he could have done differently when it is abundantly clear there is a malignancy at the heart of the American state, in an equally malignant world.

Every analysis of Kissinger’s supposed hyperinfluence uses comparisons and alternate histories, which suggests his achievements and failures were heavily influenced by other actors. Men who’ve held real supreme power don’t need comparisons and alternative histories to show that power.

Last edited 11 months ago by Nell Clover
David Jory
David Jory
11 months ago

The good die young.

Kirk Susong
KS
Kirk Susong
10 months ago
Reply to  David Jory

And the wise die old. There’s an aphorism for every occasion.

David Jory
DJ
David Jory
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

And cowards die a thousand times along the way to modify another.
You are correct.

David Jory
DJ
David Jory
10 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

And cowards die a thousand times along the way to modify another.
You are correct.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
10 months ago
Reply to  David Jory

We also say: You can’t kill a bad thing! ..and another: The devil looks after his own!

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
10 months ago
Reply to  David Jory

And the wise die old. There’s an aphorism for every occasion.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
10 months ago
Reply to  David Jory

We also say: You can’t kill a bad thing! ..and another: The devil looks after his own!

David Jory
David Jory
11 months ago

The good die young.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago

An article that needed writing. And raises a question which really deserves some thought.
It’s hard to know if America could have done better with different policies during the Cold War. But not entirely clear that America’s policy in Latin America was really that different in the 1970s (under Kissinger) than it was in the preceding decades.
And is was those sort of policies which generated much of the legacy of anti-Americanism that remains today. Support for ugly, anti-democratic regimes, whilst ostensibly supporting democracy around the world.
But as ever with this author, some quite needless, ridiculous assertions are dropped in. So Russia is a “civilisation super-state” ? Get real, Mr Fazi.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

But what was alternative to these regimes?
Surely communism (Tupamaros, Montoneros, Sandinistas etc)?
With South Vietnam conquered, Cubans winning in Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe lost as well, Cubans medling in Chile, communism looked like the future to many.
If it was not for communism fermenting revolutions all over the globe USA would not intervine in many cases.
Just look at Venezuela now. USA doesn’t care that lefty nutters are destroying the country.
It is not geopoliticaly significant.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

But what was alternative to these regimes?
Surely communism (Tupamaros, Montoneros, Sandinistas etc)?
With South Vietnam conquered, Cubans winning in Angola, Mozambique and Zimbabwe lost as well, Cubans medling in Chile, communism looked like the future to many.
If it was not for communism fermenting revolutions all over the globe USA would not intervine in many cases.
Just look at Venezuela now. USA doesn’t care that lefty nutters are destroying the country.
It is not geopoliticaly significant.

Peter B
Peter B
11 months ago

An article that needed writing. And raises a question which really deserves some thought.
It’s hard to know if America could have done better with different policies during the Cold War. But not entirely clear that America’s policy in Latin America was really that different in the 1970s (under Kissinger) than it was in the preceding decades.
And is was those sort of policies which generated much of the legacy of anti-Americanism that remains today. Support for ugly, anti-democratic regimes, whilst ostensibly supporting democracy around the world.
But as ever with this author, some quite needless, ridiculous assertions are dropped in. So Russia is a “civilisation super-state” ? Get real, Mr Fazi.

j watson
j watson
11 months ago

On Ukraine Kissinger recently said only what is almost certainly being discussed privately – that an eventual ceasefire will need a NATO guarantee for Ukraine, and thus almost certain membership.
Kissinger enough of a realist to know Zelensky and Ukraine need the chance first to take back some land as they cannot ‘sell’ the current front-line as an acceptable end to this to their people who have sacrificed so much. But after the coming summer offensive where the line settles will be the ceasefire – and we have Korea 1953 mk 2.
Looking forward too to Fergusson’s sequel. He’s probably re-writing the last chapter now in light of this. Don’t agree with any hagiography about subject matter but first book was really good.

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

This makes the bold assertion that Ukraine will be able to take any land back rather than losing more land or so many soldiers that they eventually have to sue for peace. Col. MacGregor has a good piece on this possibility in the last week.

N T
NT
N T
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Will a cease-fire even hold? I think that both sides may sue for peace, and then reload.

Ian Johnston
Ian Johnston
11 months ago
Reply to  N T

Peace is that brief, glorious moment in history when everyone stands around reloading.
-Thomas Jefferson

Ian Johnston
IJ
Ian Johnston
11 months ago
Reply to  N T

Peace is that brief, glorious moment in history when everyone stands around reloading.
-Thomas Jefferson

Rob C
RC
Rob C
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I was under the impression that offensives could occur in the summer because of the heavy rains.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Problem with your argument is that Russia started the war not to get some land but to extinguish Ukraine as independent nation.
So if Russia allowed Ukraine to join NATO and eventually EU, they would lose strategically big way.
While Ukraine would have to fold if there was pressure from USA to settle, I can not see USA doing it because it effectively means free for all as far as international borders are concerned.
I guess loss of Crimea could be accepted by Ukraine but Putin can not survive such deal.

Johann Strauss
Johann Strauss
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

This makes the bold assertion that Ukraine will be able to take any land back rather than losing more land or so many soldiers that they eventually have to sue for peace. Col. MacGregor has a good piece on this possibility in the last week.

N T
N T
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Will a cease-fire even hold? I think that both sides may sue for peace, and then reload.

Rob C
RC
Rob C
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I was under the impression that offensives could occur in the summer because of the heavy rains.

Andrew F
Andrew F
11 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Problem with your argument is that Russia started the war not to get some land but to extinguish Ukraine as independent nation.
So if Russia allowed Ukraine to join NATO and eventually EU, they would lose strategically big way.
While Ukraine would have to fold if there was pressure from USA to settle, I can not see USA doing it because it effectively means free for all as far as international borders are concerned.
I guess loss of Crimea could be accepted by Ukraine but Putin can not survive such deal.

j watson
JW
j watson
11 months ago

On Ukraine Kissinger recently said only what is almost certainly being discussed privately – that an eventual ceasefire will need a NATO guarantee for Ukraine, and thus almost certain membership.
Kissinger enough of a realist to know Zelensky and Ukraine need the chance first to take back some land as they cannot ‘sell’ the current front-line as an acceptable end to this to their people who have sacrificed so much. But after the coming summer offensive where the line settles will be the ceasefire – and we have Korea 1953 mk 2.
Looking forward too to Fergusson’s sequel. He’s probably re-writing the last chapter now in light of this. Don’t agree with any hagiography about subject matter but first book was really good.

Last edited 11 months ago by j watson
JR Stoker
JR Stoker
11 months ago

What Kissinger recognised is that the reality of the world is that there were, and are now even more, bad people out there, and no nation, however principled and decent and kindly, can survive if does not adopt ruthless responses to them.

Which is not to excuse some very bad things that were done especially in Indo-China, which have hugely damaged the USA’s reputation. Even that was an inevitable result of a necessary response, the US should have done much more to try to make amends after.

JR Stoker
JS
JR Stoker
11 months ago

What Kissinger recognised is that the reality of the world is that there were, and are now even more, bad people out there, and no nation, however principled and decent and kindly, can survive if does not adopt ruthless responses to them.

Which is not to excuse some very bad things that were done especially in Indo-China, which have hugely damaged the USA’s reputation. Even that was an inevitable result of a necessary response, the US should have done much more to try to make amends after.

Nathan Ngumi
NN
Nathan Ngumi
10 months ago

Dr. Henry Kissinger had an unparalleled career in American public service, of anybody in the 20th century. Will history absolve him for his part in controversies like the Viet Nam War, support of brutal Latin American dictators in the 70s, etc? No. But as with judging anyone else, one ought to think hard and ask what he would have done in his shoes.

Nathan Ngumi
Nathan Ngumi
10 months ago

Dr. Henry Kissinger had an unparalleled career in American public service, of anybody in the 20th century. Will history absolve him for his part in controversies like the Viet Nam War, support of brutal Latin American dictators in the 70s, etc? No. But as with judging anyone else, one ought to think hard and ask what he would have done in his shoes.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
10 months ago

Very acute perspective on the realities we now face. My understanding, though, is that Nixon and Kissinger did jointly push back very successfully against enormous forces within the US political class ranged against detente with China. What they appealed to was the public’s innate desire for peace.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
10 months ago

The term “Realist” refers to one who reacts to a currently existing, unchangeable situation by “playing the game”. It is not applicable to the instigator of a new situation who changes it utterly through immoral, cruel and downright evil attacks on decency, morals and accepted principles..
We would not apply the term “realist” to Germany’s fascists would we? The instigators of a “new world order” based on an “ubermench” ideology is not “realism” by any stretch of the imagination.
Kissinger is nothing short of a wicked, evil antichrist, a blight on humanity, a disgusting excuse for a human being and among the worst war criminals in all of history, right up (or rather down) there with Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot..

Michael McElwee
MM
Michael McElwee
10 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

A realist is a person who does not agree that reality is up for grabs.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
10 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

A realist is a person who does not agree that reality is up for grabs.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
10 months ago

The term “Realist” refers to one who reacts to a currently existing, unchangeable situation by “playing the game”. It is not applicable to the instigator of a new situation who changes it utterly through immoral, cruel and downright evil attacks on decency, morals and accepted principles..
We would not apply the term “realist” to Germany’s fascists would we? The instigators of a “new world order” based on an “ubermench” ideology is not “realism” by any stretch of the imagination.
Kissinger is nothing short of a wicked, evil antichrist, a blight on humanity, a disgusting excuse for a human being and among the worst war criminals in all of history, right up (or rather down) there with Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot..

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago

”With his reputation largely (and questionably) untainted by Watergate, Kissinger went on to found, in 1982, his own lucrative geopolitical consulting firm, Kissinger Associates, which he continues to run. We know relatively little of the work it carries out. Several attempts have been made, at the congressional level, to get the company to hand over its secretive “client list” — but all have failed.”

He is the snake our Lizard Masters use to do their dirty deeds. I think Watergate was a CIA Coup replacing Nixon with the tame Ford. I think when you hear the name Kissinger it gives good men a shiver in their spine…..

What the ‘Kissinger Associates’ is really about….not even the completely corrupt Politicians can know – because it inevitably works at the top level, the Hideous Strength level, where the strings which make the world dance are pulled.

From the Guardian on this Odious duo…

”Ferguson trivialises his own book: well before mentioning any serious critic, he cites the conspiracy cultist David Icke, who apparently believes Kissinger is one of the human race’s reptile overlords. “No rational people take such nonsense seriously,” Ferguson writes, who nonetheless uses such nonsense to open Kissinger’s life story.”

That is because rational people not only take our Psychopathic Lizard Overlords seriously – but know 100% it is true (even if as a metaphor – only they are so evil – I think they really must be 5th dimensional alien projections into our dimension as Icke, and even Hunter S. Thompson, describe. Or Demonic.) . And now they bring us AI.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
10 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I found it curious that as time went by the utterly crazy rants of David Icke somehow became a bit less crazy.. and I wish people would treat the lizard thing as metaphorical.. a cabal of very rich narcissistic, thoroughly evil (if not fully demonic) deluded megalomaniacs.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
10 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I found it curious that as time went by the utterly crazy rants of David Icke somehow became a bit less crazy.. and I wish people would treat the lizard thing as metaphorical.. a cabal of very rich narcissistic, thoroughly evil (if not fully demonic) deluded megalomaniacs.

UnHerd Reader
EC
UnHerd Reader
11 months ago

”With his reputation largely (and questionably) untainted by Watergate, Kissinger went on to found, in 1982, his own lucrative geopolitical consulting firm, Kissinger Associates, which he continues to run. We know relatively little of the work it carries out. Several attempts have been made, at the congressional level, to get the company to hand over its secretive “client list” — but all have failed.”

He is the snake our Lizard Masters use to do their dirty deeds. I think Watergate was a CIA Coup replacing Nixon with the tame Ford. I think when you hear the name Kissinger it gives good men a shiver in their spine…..

What the ‘Kissinger Associates’ is really about….not even the completely corrupt Politicians can know – because it inevitably works at the top level, the Hideous Strength level, where the strings which make the world dance are pulled.

From the Guardian on this Odious duo…

”Ferguson trivialises his own book: well before mentioning any serious critic, he cites the conspiracy cultist David Icke, who apparently believes Kissinger is one of the human race’s reptile overlords. “No rational people take such nonsense seriously,” Ferguson writes, who nonetheless uses such nonsense to open Kissinger’s life story.”

That is because rational people not only take our Psychopathic Lizard Overlords seriously – but know 100% it is true (even if as a metaphor – only they are so evil – I think they really must be 5th dimensional alien projections into our dimension as Icke, and even Hunter S. Thompson, describe. Or Demonic.) . And now they bring us AI.