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David Jennings
David Jennings
4 months ago

Thanks to Prof. Robert Kaplan for this pithy summary of the long and complex life of Kissinger. Obituaries today will largely attempt to explain the various writers’ views (usually disagreements) with Kissinger’s decisions and the consequences of those decisions.

Few are wiling to engage the ideas that motivated Kissinger. As Kaplan notes, “The aim of policy is to reconcile what is just with what is possible. Journalists and freedom fighters have it easy in life since they can concern themselves only with what is just. Policymakers, burdened with bureaucratic responsibility in order to advance a nation’s self-interest, have no such luxury.” I suggest that most comments posted to this article (at the time of writing) suffer from that luxury to examine only what would be just rather than also possible. The West has too many politicians who impose the self-righteous attitude (demanded by the electorate) identified by Kaplan, resulting in a mess of foreign and domestic policy. That is not to say Kissinger is exempt from criticism or even condemnation, but at least he deserves a fair historical trial.

Do we as a culture believe “disorder is worse than injustice, since injustice merely means the world is imperfect, while disorder tempts anarchy and the Hobbesian nightmare of war and conflict, of all against all.”? As I examine the shrill demands of various (left and right) groups and cowering acquiescence of those seeking votes, I wish more understood the downside of disorder in a culture. Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; / Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

As Kaplan notes, “It follows, then, that order is more important than freedom, since without order there is no freedom for anybody.”. Perhaps we can move away from our adolescent assumptions about freedom and come to a place where we realize our culture should seek a freedom for something rather than from something. What that “something” is should be the focus of our debates, not what motivates the petulance of those who think any commitment is a shackle, any obligation is slavery.

Last edited 4 months ago by djj
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
4 months ago
Reply to  David Jennings

Superb.

A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago
Reply to  David Jennings

Pithy summary indeed. It’s amazing how some can summarize the criminal deeds of Kissinger by convincing themselves, as you do Mr.Jennings, that they are looking at the big picture, unlike the “petulant” slobs who only recognize murder as murder.

David Jennings
David Jennings
4 months ago
Reply to  A Reno

Perhaps you missed my sentence “That is not to say Kissinger is exempt from criticism or even condemnation, but at least he deserves a fair historical trial”. If your point is that any intentional death arising from the edict of Kissinger is sufficient to condemn him as a criminal murderer regardless of that “big picture”, then do you equally condemn the advisors to the JFK and LBJ administrations who commenced and grew the Vietnam War? Indeed, why limit it to the US or to war? And is self-defence which kills aggressors (such as Ukrainian military action) acceptable or not? In the domestic realm, are rulers who apply capital punishment or allow law enforcement to use lethal force equally guilty as Kissinger in your view? If not, what is it about Kissinger that distinguishes his actions from all those mentioned above when you “recognize murder as murder”?
The point about “context” is always morally ambiguous. If the ends never justify the means in international relations, then what does one do with the bullies of this world who seek to harm and usurp? If some ends do provide sufficient justification, then why is Kissinger’s end of avoiding nuclear war make him a criminal but the goal of another person’s favourite “freedom fighter” acceptable?
I am not a relativist and I think it is important to hold people in power to account, especially in respect to loss of life. But as Kaplan noted, we should not do so from the luxury of only looking at what is just without taking into account what are the hard facts that required real, tragic decisions.

Last edited 4 months ago by djj
A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago
Reply to  David Jennings

No sir, I didn’t miss your sentence where you called for a “fair historical trial for Henry Kissinger.” I would say the evidence is quite overwhelming that Kissinger should have had a fair criminal trial for the innumerable felonies he committed. Unfortunately, history missed that opportunity. Any intentional death arising from the “edicts” of Kissinger is sufficient to condemn him in that the edicts of one man in a position of power are not sufficient to condemn others to death.  In the US system, any edicts would have to come from a duly elected congress not a servant of a particular president.
So yes, I do condemn the advisors of JFK and LBJ such as Robert McNamara “who commenced and grew the Vietnam War.” All of them were war criminals to the end to include Johnson. I would cut Kennedy a lot of slack since the historical record clearly shows his intent to withdraw America from the war. Self-defense which kills aggressors is certainly justified with the key phrase being “self-defense.” Kissinger never engaged in any self-defense actions for himself or the nation. His modus operandi was offensive in the name of the American empire hence his constant meddling in the affairs of other nations. 
I am not a supporter of capital punishment by any nation. It gives far too much power to the state. Capital punishment lets the truly heinous criminal off the hook by putting them out of their misery. Best to let them spend the rest of their lives in prison to focus their attention on their horrible deeds. Again what distinguishes the actions of Kissinger is the lack of a defensive component in any of his adventures or a coherent idea of what was in the best interests of the country as opposed to what was in the best interests of Henry and the plutocrats that he served. It was never about the United States, freedom democracy, Mom, or apple pie. It was about raw power defined and executed by one man regardless of the detrimental effects it had on the United States or other countries.  
Regarding the issues you raised about “freedom for something rather than from something” and the “Hobbesian nightmare of all against all,” while those ideas would make an interesting philosophical discussion, it has nothing to do with the self-serving venality and crimes of Henry Kissinger. 
You insist that Kissinger deserves a fair historical trial neglecting to see that the victims of his self-serving “realpolitick” received no such trial whatsoever. 

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago
Reply to  A Reno

Exactly as in Korea, it was the Communist North which instigated the Vietnam war, not the South or the Americans. So in practice you would have supported Communist domination of the world, including the entirety of Latin America, which would on the historical record led to millions of deaths.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago
Reply to  A Reno

The concept that Kissinger, and possibly more widely the Americans, are alone, “guilty of murder” a charge leftists seem often remarkably reluctant to level at those with absolute domestic power such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao or even Castro, is puerile nonsense.

Michael Lipkin
Michael Lipkin
4 months ago

Interesting. Kaplan will agree that he should have revisited point 1 before supporting the Iraq war. It would be interesting to see his take on lying to the people in order to start wars – is it ever a good idea?

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Lipkin

More incisive than the comment above yours. Robert’s points are all valid, it’s just that they may not align with what he does. Hence his comment warning against what he mis-characterises as “isolationism,” but is best translated as “constitutionalism.”

A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Lipkin

For Kissinger lying to start wars was irrelevant.

Peter B
Peter B
4 months ago

Interesting. I’ve never been a fan of Kissinger, but this at least forces a re-examination of some assumptions. But I still find it hard to stomach Nixon and Kissinger’s policies in Latin America.
This (a Kissinger belief) seems to sum up the West’s neo-liberal policies like Afghanistan, Iraq II, Syria and Libya:
“The fundamental issue in international and domestic affairs is not the control of wickedness, but the limitation of self-righteousness. For it is self-righteousness that often leads to war and the most extreme forms of repression, both at home and abroad.”

A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Yes, excellent point. Self-righteousness such as American exceptionalism, the indispensable nation, and the Pax Americana. All concepts that have devastated the United States and a large part of the world.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago
Reply to  A Reno

Yours is just another version of American exceptionalism, as if no other states political leaders had any agency. It is just so totally naive.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
4 months ago

Disorder is worse than injustice, since injustice merely means the world is imperfect, while disorder tempts anarchy and the Hobbesian nightmare of war and conflict, of all against all.
What’s interesting about this portion of Kissinger’s worldview is that it also stands at the crux of traditional Islamic statecraft, where civil war (fitna) is perceived as being worse than tyranny, and therefore even the worst tyranny must be endured lest the community (ummah) fall into anarchy; the consequence, of course, is a political system characterized by quietist absolutism tempered by the occasional bloody insurrection.

RM Parker
RM Parker
4 months ago

It is also interesting then, that Bonaparte, having carefully read the Qu’uran, filed it in his assiduously categorised library – under “Politics”.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
4 months ago
Reply to  RM Parker

Touche, just as Constantine made a matching entry.

Richard Turner
Richard Turner
4 months ago

It seems to me that Kissinger was a deciple of Machiavelli. All politics is the art of the possible and a statesmans duty to to serve the long term interests of the nation he represents. No doubt Kissinger would have agreed with the aphorism “that the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.

RM Parker
RM Parker
4 months ago
Reply to  Richard Turner

Agreed – whilst viscerally rebelling against Kissinger, the public figure, I find it difficult to offer any arguments against the statements and positions here laid out. It’s infuriating but invigorating, I would say: I am forced to rethink assumptions, and that at least is healthy.
And yet…

A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago
Reply to  RM Parker

And yet he is still a war criminal who should have been prosecuted. Unfortunately, many commenting here think we should have averted our gaze lest we upset the apple cart.

Pamela Booker
Pamela Booker
4 months ago

There is nothing like injustice that begets disorder

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
4 months ago

What, no mention of HK’s happy frolics at Bohemian Grove with his elite little group of star chamber chums dividing up the world for fun and profit? Please. Why, oh why do evil creatures like him live so d*mn long? In fact, why do they exist at all?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

He had a very good heart surgeon.

A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago

Did they put one in?

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago

Excellent article. We have far too many idealists and not enough realists in policy these days, both foreign and domestic. Perhaps its inevitable. Success breeds complacency and peace, fertile soil for the growing of idealism, then the failures of those ideals cause hardships which can only be fixed with imperfect, pragmatic solutions. 1975-2016 was an age of idealism, but those ideals created problems with no ideal solutions, only practical compromises and retreats from pure ideals. I fear Kissinger will be judged even more harshly as his detente strategy with China has now backfired. To my mind, his strategy was sound at the time, and indeed worked mostly as intended until Xi Jinping came to power. Xi has upset a lot of apple carts and well on his way to being a historical villain of Napoleonic proportions.

A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

You’re confusing realism with murder.

Andrew Dewar
Andrew Dewar
4 months ago

Much talk of Hobbes but Leviathan remains strictly off-stage. Not a word.
And not a word on Chile and the orginal 9/11. “We won’t let Chile go down the drain” and what followed is hardly the mark of someone who “believed less in victory than in reconciliations”. Perhaps Chile was just a small and insignificant victory for K, not worth mentioning?
Bizarre until reminded these are the observations of a self-acclaimed salonista. And yes, there is always a brilliant woman curator. He got that right.

R Wright
R Wright
4 months ago

I won’t mourn his death. His whitewashing of China was the biggest geopolitical error of the late 20th century and poses a threat to the entire West.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
4 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Blaming Kissinger, who held no office after January 1977, for what Carter, Clinton, Bush-43, and Obama did is unfair and incorrect. And perhaps misunderstands the Soviet threat of the period of Kissinger’s power.

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
4 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

do you have a crusading concept of some kind in mind for China?

Dominic A
Dominic A
4 months ago

Henry Kissinger and Robert Moses – Terribly Clever People I’m sure, masters of politics and power, sometimes referred to as the most powerful men on Earth/in history, and yet they left so many scars upon it, I get the strong impression that it would have been better if they’d never been born.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
4 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

You can’t make that conclusion unless you could consider who would have been in their place.

Dominic A
Dominic A
4 months ago

Well that principle is not going to get us far – all of history would have to be binned, because we can never know what would have happned if x never happened.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
4 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

You’ve just usurped your own argument.

Dominic A
Dominic A
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Err, I merely stated that ‘I got the strong impression’ that the world would have been better off without HK or RM. CB said this was not a conclusion I could make as I did not know what would have happened without them- an point so obvious that it is unnecessary to state it – though it’s made for many a spooky denouement to a ‘Twilight Zone’ episode.

As I replied to him, along the lines of ‘we should then cease from giving any opinions as to history, as we never know how things would have turned out otherwise’. I was of course being sarcastic – my argument was in the opposite direction.

Last edited 4 months ago by Dominic A
Dominic A
Dominic A
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“you’ve just usurped your own argument”

I must admit – I don’t know what this means, unless it’s ‘you defeated/contradicted your own argument”.

A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

You’re correct, it doesn’t make any sense.

Rick Lawrence
Rick Lawrence
4 months ago
Reply to  A Reno

But we all know what he meant

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

DEUTERONOMY 7:6.

Dominic A
Dominic A
4 months ago

Hello Charles,
My, what a range of odd responses my post received. The first makes the sophomoric claim that one can’t legitmately have an opinion on historic figures (Kissinger or Moses) because you can’t have known what the situation would have been like without them (gee, thanks, I’d never thought of that).

The next informs me that, in pointing out the above, I have I illegitimately seized my own argument (eh?) – and then along with you come with an Old Testament (or Torah?) reference! I may be able to make sense of yours – are you pointing out the origin story of what one might call, ‘certain executive excess carried out by an entitled group’?

A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Your impression is correct.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
4 months ago

I think Kissinger must have shared a great deal of his psycho-political outlook with Metternich. During his youth, Metternich’s family lost most of their estates to the French during the First Coalition War of the 1790’s, whereas the adolescent Kissinger survived Auschwitz. I can imagine early experiences like these engendering a yearning for stability which might well manifest as the reactionary conservatism pursued by Metternich, or Kissingerian realpolitik.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Richard Craven

“whereas the adolescent Kissinger survived Auschwitz“

Did he? Others would have it that the Kissingers left Germany in the summer of 1938, staying briefly in London before heading for New York.

ps.Didn’t Metternich also mention that he had spent his life “propping up a worm eaten facade”?*
Perhaps Kissinger felt the same?

(*The Austrian Empire.)

Last edited 4 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Kellen
Kellen
4 months ago

I do not mourn his death.

Michael Lipkin
Michael Lipkin
4 months ago

Kissinger supported the Iraq invasion. Violating all 5 points here.
I have thought about how we might prevent the rise of another Hitler (like 99% of people who think about anything) and have not come to any conclusion, certainly not that we can reasonably identify immoral acts that we might perform and that might prevent a greater evil.
You know those hollywood movies where the goody/baddy has a plan. The plan is often quite complex involving a number of steps and various people acting in ways predicted by the planner. If you are like me then you will be skeptical of the plan. e.g. the plan assumes that X will respond to stimulus Y by acting in way Z but this is not guaranteed, Moreover if this step in the chain of events does not go to plan then all is lost, so the plan is fragile.
The problem is uncertainty, and this uncertainty multiplies the more steps and assumptions have to be made in devising the plan.
Suppose there are two statespersons contemplating performing an immoral act in order to prevent a greater evil.
Person A says “Well we don’t know how accurate our assessments of the military capabilities of X are, moreover we cannot predict the response of Y to our actions … , Given the compounded uncertainty I cannot justify performing the immoral act, therefore we just have to do the right thing and hope for the best”
Person B says “Well I am brainier than you and have also studied harder, therefore my uncertainties as to the outcomes of this chain of events are smaller and I say we should go ahead with the immoral act and prevent the greater evil”
This is the Kissinger trick.
After the immoral act has been performed and whatever consequences have unfolded person B says “Well that was bad but I can tell you that things would have been a lot worse if we had not performed that immoral act” There is, of course, only one earth and one arrow of time, the counterfactual cannot be tested and so person B is free to use the same trick again on the next occasion.
Science is the lodestar of our modern society, scientific experts do have superior abilities as to predicting the behaviour of matter compared to those not scientifically trained. But there are two aspects of science that make it different:
1. Scientific knowledge is communicated in a precision way. Mathematics, the most precise language is often used. Observations often align closely with these mathematical models.
2. There is an ability to perform experiments, Special set-ups designed to isolate particular variables, the repeatability of these experiments is of paramount importance.
Neither of these aspects are true for human affairs. The far seeing character of scientific knowledge cannot be transferred into this arena.
Skepticism of the proclamations made by experts receives much derision in the media. But is it unreasonable to estimate that some experts are performing a form of the Kissinger trick?  Maybe their certainty is just a pose for the purpose of social climbing? Maybe some act as a cover for the more powerful? Justifying the things the powerful want to do with a veneer of ‘expertise’?

j watson
j watson
4 months ago

Considerable sympathy with the contention being responsible and having to make major strategic decisions much harder than being in the commentariat. Furthermore that in many aspects Kissinger’s realpolitik had an underlying coherency which had the US and what it stood as a liberal, capitalist, democracy that must contain and weaken the Soviets as it’s North Star. Whether his experience as a Child fleeing from Nazism had the influence this Author suggests Kissinger himself always disputed and played down though.
However would contend many decisions he helped make have had a post facto rationalisation applied by himself and supportive Biographers. He himself said if we can handle Communists in Peking why are we so worried about Vietnam, and then bombed the hell out of Cambodia killing thousands of innocents and creating environment into which murderous Khmer Rouge stepped. And how valuable and important does the slaughter in Vietnam look now? Would things have been worse had the US withdrawn earlier? Troop numbers increased before they reduced. He was perhaps not as prescient as the hagiography can imply.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
4 months ago

My favorite Kissinger story is this from La Wik:
“During the American advance into Germany, Kissinger, though only a private (the lowest military rank), was put in charge of the administration of the city of Krefeld because of a lack of German speakers on the division’s intelligence staff. Within eight days he had established a civilian administration.”
I think that Kissinger would have been 20 years old at the time.
About a year ago I decided to start reading Kissinger’s books as they turned up at Half Price Books. On China is good, especially because Kissinger tells us that Mao was not just a Commie but also a Confucian. And I think we should assume that is true of all Chinese leaders.

Last edited 4 months ago by Christopher Chantrill
Chris Whybrow
Chris Whybrow
4 months ago

Kissinger’s influence in a malign cancer upon America’s foreign policy. His legacy will be the mass graves of the innocents he sacrificed for the illusion of America’s self interest.

Last edited 4 months ago by Chris Whybrow
Nathan Ngumi
Nathan Ngumi
4 months ago

A sombre reflection. Kissinger’s legacy is still unfolding. The last word is still a long way off.

A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago
Reply to  Nathan Ngumi

Not for those who died by his hand.

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago

Rampant pseudo philosophical nonsense. Persistent injustice guarantees disorder as there will be rebellion, some of it violent. As a Jewish person, I regard the lessons Kissinger took from the Holocaust as comparable to those the slum landlord Rachmann took – make sure someone else is the victim, not you. Don’t invest or try to work towards social systems that reduce exploitation.
He was a despicable man and if there is an afterlife I hope he gets locked in a room with a drunk and lairy Chris Hitchens.

George Venning
George Venning
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

That would indeed be a fitting fate for both of them.

A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

Now that would be a fitting punishment!!

Sam Wilson
Sam Wilson
4 months ago

“It is true that much of the above is derivative of the great philosophers, especially Hobbes. “
To my mind, it rings more of Hegel than anyone else — especially the first 3 bullet points.

“Freedom is the recognition of necessity.”

Jonathan Story
Jonathan Story
4 months ago

Of course Kissinger’s thinking was saturated with th experience and memory of the first fifty years of Europe’s twentieth century. That was the prime motivation of all those of my generation who became interested in international affairs. Kissinger’s efforts, starting with his writings on Metternich, represented an attempt to consider the problems of creating an order in revolutionary times, when utopian ideas were uppermost. The problem is still there, as are the derivative utopias circulating now.

A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan Story

So in light of those horrible utopian ideas, the war crimes were justified? Is that what you’re saying?

Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
4 months ago

Great essay though Robert’s warning about “neo-isolationsim” Robert is coded. Robert battled the last remaining, and bullied the last retired living, “Arabists” in the State Department who had thought Israel would drag the Israelis and with them, the US alliance, into eternal conflict. Realism is great unless a policy of wishful thinking backed by imperialism becomes personally preferable. The use of American force always and everywhere, ostensibly to fight “appeasement” in never-ending wildfires that are always tediously said to resemble Hitler in the 1930s, until it leads to the inevitable decline of the US. Like every other such empire, as has been flagged, at least in the past, by innumerable American politicians. And until we are eternally sick of hearing of Chamberlain from every guy on the planet with a keyboard who stayed awake in high school history, and now feels uniquely positioned to warn humanity. It plays well to Robert’s interests.

Last edited 4 months ago by Andrew Boughton
Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
4 months ago

There are four major aspects of Kissinger’s foreign policy: Vietnam, Middle East, USSR and China. Kissinger lacked actual experience. If Kissinger had fought with the Chindits, SOE Force 136,, OSS in Indo China or SAS in Malaya, he would have appreciated the problems of fighting in the jungle and understanding the oriental mind. Also he would have realised because of Vichy allowing Japan to invade Indo China, France had lost credibility . In 1946 a force of British /Empire troops nearly defeated the Vietminh but these were battle hardened jungle fighters( Orde Wingate and The Chindits, Freddie Spencer Chapman Force 136 /SOE Malaya ). Post 1954 South Vietnam was a weak corrupt nation. Also vast majority of the middle and upper class Americans , especially those in higher education did not want to fight. No nation can win a war if the ruling class is not prepared to die defending it.
In the Middle East it was easy; by the mid 1960s, the USSR supported Arab Nationalism, Nasser et at , so supporting Israel was simple.
Kissinger did stand up to the USSR which was good.
Kissinger was naive in developing relations with China under Mao. Mao killed 70 M Chinese, so he was capable of killing far more foreigners.
General Air Alan Brooke said of the divisional and corp commanders in N Africa in WW2 ” Half of them were not good enough but there were non better to replace them “. I can think the same can be said of the USA. After the murder of President Kennedy who was better than Kissinger ? In the land of the blind, the one eyed man in king.

Juan Manuel Pérez Porrúa
Juan Manuel Pérez Porrúa
4 months ago

Well, Mr. Kissinger has gone to meet his Maker, and it is for Him, and not for us, to render an ultimate judgement on Heinz Alfred Kissinger’s ideas and actions throughout his life. For the sake of Kissinger’s soul, I hope God is quite indulgent and forgiving with him.

Charles Mimoun
Charles Mimoun
4 months ago

When trying to judge the actions and legacy of a stateman, the correct way is not to examine the results but to compare them to other’s, and, when impossible because the stateman in question had no rival, to compare the results of his policy to the probable results of other’s philosophy. This effort of imagination has never been done, although it is the only way to intelligently evaluate policies in international relations. By the way, it is possible that it’s impossible to do so, but in that case, it’s also impossible to criticize any action in such an unforecastable field.

Last edited 4 months ago by Charles Mimoun
Andrew Boughton
Andrew Boughton
4 months ago

Now this, if I may be allowed, is a truly great essay. Not only because it has a comfortable agreement with a Realism I share, but because Prof. Kaplan has been generous. I was expecting some sort of coup de grace at any time, and when the line ‘Realists today have drifted toward neo-isolationism, and have grown literally smaller because of it’, thought “Well, here we go!” But, no. If only he had been less brutal toward a retired State Department senior I seem to recall him ambushing years ago, because he identified him with those supposedly anti-Semitic ‘Arabists’ purged from State after 1948, smeared by Truman’s ‘Striped Pants Boys” epithet, my admiration would be unconditional. Not that he might care about that. Does that particular bent tie in with his ‘neo-isolationism’ comment here? If so, most of us aren’t comfortable with American military and diplomatic power being arrogated to fight Robert’s battles. This isn’t “neo-isolationism” but our Realism, and to his credit, Kissinger’s as well, though somewhat separately, everything we love about the authentic American political ideal of leading internationally by example rather than forcing everyone else in the world to be just exactly like us. An idea whose time has surely passed.

Last edited 4 months ago by Andrew Boughton
Kolya Wolf
Kolya Wolf
4 months ago

Realism in foreign policy means just one thing: might is right.

A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago
Reply to  Kolya Wolf

And murder is irrelevant.

angusmckscunjwhich
angusmckscunjwhich
4 months ago

That he had a Hobbesian world view would explain why he was such a frightful psychopath. The entire Western political world view can be defined as Hobbesian so I’m so sure why you find it impressive that he applied it as it’s just the status quo. Just one question, how is carpet bombing a small nation for ten years an internalised lesson of the Holocaust?

It’s just this rubbish “we aren’t Hitler so we’re the good guys, when you say genocide of native Americans i hope your not talking to me, look a commie, are you being un American?” Internalised lesson of the Holocaust…. Really low bullshit, genocide is the Nomos of Western modernity and your defending a cold yet thankfully dead monster.

Last edited 4 months ago by angusmckscunjwhich
angusmckscunjwhich
angusmckscunjwhich
4 months ago

What the hell is this? Hobbes is the daddy of all these psychopaths.

How is carpet bombing a small country for ten years and consequently having no small part to play in the reason that Pol Pot was insane a form of internalised lesson of the Holocaust? Unless that lesson was that they are a good idea. Genocide is the Nomos of modernity and the camp is it’s Topos. It wasn’t a lesson, it was a blueprint.

Pip G
Pip G
4 months ago

Rhetorical Question which may have no answer: How would Mr Kissinger have solved the ‘Palestine’ problem?

A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago

Roaming Charges: The Dr. Caligari of American EmpireBY JEFFREY ST. CLAIR Dec 1, 2023
+ Kissinger’s greatest triumph–and perhaps his only real talent– was to seduce three generations of American political and media elites into believing that his diplomatic genius could be measured by the Himalayan heights of the body count he left in his wake.
+ Kissinger, a man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians from Vietnam to Cambodia and Bangladesh, East Timor to Chile and Argentina, got a prime slot in major newspapers to shape and warp public opinion whenever he wanted it, often, no doubt, in favor of his dark roster of clients at Kissinger & Associates. Over his career, he wrote more than 200 op-eds for the Washington Post.
+ Kissinger guarded the identities of the clients of Kissinger and Associates that he resigned as head of the 9/11 Commission rather than unmask them, citing “conflicts of interest.” How many were SaudisRealbizness trumps Realpolitik.
+ Like Robert McNamara, who went from supervising the Vietnam War to inflicting global misery at the World Bank, Henry Kissinger may have killed as many people in his five decades out of office as a globetrotting “consultant” as in his 8 years in office. Unlike McNamara, he never even feigned repentance.
+ When asked about the forced displacement of Micronesians from the Marshall Islands so that the US could detonate nuclear weapons on Bikini Atoll, Kissinger quipped: “There are only 90,000 of them out there. Who gives a damn?”
+ Despite the misogyny that drips from nearly every conversation recorded in the Nixon White House tapes, a whole generation of women diplomats–HRC, Condi Rice, Samantha Power–were drawn by Kissinger’s blood stench like the vampire wives to Dracula.
+ One of the lessons HK taught his acolytes like Samantha Power is that when you fashion yourself as a humanitarian realist, your license to kill never expires.
+ In a June 1976 meeting with the Argentina Junta, Kissinger, fearing the Republicans would lose the upcoming presidential elections, advised the generals, “If there are things that have to be done, you should do them quickly.” (Deaths during Argentina’s Dirty War: 30,000.
As Christopher Hitchens stated in his book The Trial of Henry Kissinger
“Americans (and from the comments many Brits) can either persist in averting their gaze from the egregious impunity enjoyed by a notorious war criminal and lawbreaker, or they can become seized by the exalted standards to which they continually hold everyone else.”

A Reno
A Reno
4 months ago

The Myth of Henry Kissinger By Thomas Meaney
“As early as 1965, on his first visit to Vietnam, Kissinger had concluded that the war there was a lost cause, and Nixon believed the same. Yet they conspired to prolong it even before reaching the White House. During the Paris peace talks, in 1968, Kissinger, who was there as a consultant, passed information about the negotiations to the Nixon campaign, which started to fear that Johnson’s progress toward a settlement would bring the Democrats electoral victory. Nixon’s campaign then used this information in private talks with the South Vietnamese to dissuade them from taking part in the talks.
Kissinger betrayed his country 
Daily Star 05/29/23
People in Asia know Kissinger for his infamous roles in Bangladesh (1971 Killing millions) Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia (where he prolonged the war and initiated carpet bombing that killed 150, 000) in Indonesia (where he was actively involved in Suharto’s killing spree and attack on East Timor, killing at least 100,000).
It was Kissinger’s plan for General Augusto Pinochet to overthrow (and kill) Chile’s democratically elected President Salvador Allende in 1973. The Nixon administration was actually willing to work with Allende. But Kissinger, in typical Machiavellian style, convinced the president to end him instead. Pinochet continued his murderous repression with Kissinger’s US support.
He “ignorantly and stubbornly” imposed his versions of American government models all over the world.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
4 months ago

One of the most evil b*st*rds of the 20th century (and there was stiff competition) is dead. Huzzah! May he rot in hell! Shame on Unherd for publishing a celebration of the monster. I’m off to cancel my subscription.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

“His manners and appearance did not calculate to please” as TSE* might have said.

I and my contemporaries always thought of him as a rather malign version of Dr Strangelove with his strong German accent and odd appearance. Some even reviled him as Super-Jew because of his slavish behaviour towards ‘Kosher Nostra’ and its Middle Eastern adventures.

Perhaps his China policy will be his vindication but I somewhat doubt it.

As an aside his heart bypass performed in his late 50’s was obviously a great success.

(*TS Elliot.)

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago

thanks for the racist, refs Charles.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Jane Davis

I was attempting to give ‘you’ some historical perspective on the chap, but am obviously wasting my time.

You should reserve your sarcasm for comments such as this one, made only yesterday!:-

The Man
1 day ago

Reply to Lesley van Reenen

The head of the snake is Israel and it is a cancer of the world. As soon as this f!lth is removed, not only a peaceful ME, but a peaceful world!

Jane Davis
Jane Davis
4 months ago

Yes, that is antisemitism sneaking into a critique of Zionism. But if you don’t get why ‘Kosher Nostra’ is antisemitic, then there is little point debating it with you. It’s all about context. And I love Eliot’s poetry which is why I find his undeniable antisemitism so depressing. Not a good man to quote in reference to a Jewish person, Charles.
Kissinger certainly wasn’t a looker but that surely was the least of his crimes!