Henry Kissinger

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Yeah, School of the Americas? I'd like to order two Latin American dictators, five death squads and a Cherry Coke.
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—Henry Kissinger

Henry "The Wanderer"[1] Kissinger (1923–), who is not a friend of Bernie Sanders, was the National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State under US presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He is most famous for orchestrating the establishment of relations with China and for engineering campaigns that massively screwed over numerous Third World countries. (We're talking about millions of deaths here.) Hitch called him a war criminal.[2]

Very Serious People, who tend to consider his shenanigans in Southeast Asia features rather than bugs, remember his tenure most fondly.[3]

Foreign policy screw-jobs[edit]

The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.[4]

The good[edit]

  • Helped Tricky Dick open relations with China and begin detente policies such as SALT.
  • Took part in the negotiations to end the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
  • Criticized wingnuts who still want to blow the hell out of Russia.[5]
  • Had military experience (doing some of the most dangerous American counterintelligence missions in Germany during World War II), so avoids the chickenhawk label.[6]
  • Found Tricky Dick's idea of hitting North Vietnam with nukes to be "too much."
  • Advocate of nuclear disarmament and a world free of nuclear weapons.

The ugly[edit]

  • 1969-70: One of the architects of the secret bombing campaign in Cambodia, which played an important role in bringing the Khmer Rouge to power as an unintended side-effect. After the US racked up an additional 40,000+ casualties in Cambodia, Kissinger entered into ceasefire negotiations with Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam. He was awarded the Nobel Irony Peace Prize for this. It has since been widely considered a joke and even Kissinger himself has stated he didn't deserve it.
  • October 27th, 1969: In accordance with his policy of "Madman Theory," as part of Operation "Giant Lance," had Nixon send 18 B-52 bomber planes armed with nuclear warheads to the eastern Soviet border, in the hopes that the Soviets would panic and pressure North Vietnam to accept US peace demands at the Paris peace negotiations.[7] Whether this is truly "ugly" or not depends on one's faith in game theory, but it at least deserves a spot on this list.
  • 1971: Maintained economic and military aid to Pakistan as it indiscriminately massacred over a million civilians during the Bangladesh Liberation War. Called Indira Gandhi a "bitch" while he did so (though her conduct during The EmergencyWikipedia a few years later vindicated him on that one).[8]
  • 1971-1974: Helped Tricky Dick to lead the way to the international de-recognition of Taiwan.
  • Dramatically increased aid and military funds into Indonesia in support of Suharto's brutal dictatorship.
  • Was involved in Watergate.[9][10] Couldn't even escape that.
  • 1973: Engineered coup d'etat against the government of Salvadore Allende in Chile, installing the brutal regime of Augusto Pinochet.
  • Supported Operation Condor, a campaign designed to synchronize the secret police of the fascist dictators in South America and support coups and drug dealing in the region. Kissinger was particularly fond of Chile's glorious dictator Augusto Pinochet and Jorge Rafael Videla's junta in Argentina.
  • December 1975: Approved the Indonesian invasionWikipedia of Timor-Leste, resulting in 100,000 to 180,000 Timorese "conflict-related" deaths and approximately 300,000 forced relocations (total population of approximately 682,000 at the time of invasion).
  • 1976: Wanted to "smash Cuba" because that worked well before.[11]
  • Buddied up with Dubya to dispense advice on Iraq.

Madman Theory[edit]

As mentioned above, Kissinger was the architect of "Madman Theory," the doctrine that sought to discard traditional game theory based assumptions about the actions and possible retaliation of the USSR during the cold war by casting US president Richard Nixon as a short-tempered, irrational man with such an obsession with communism that he would threaten his own nation's existence simply to get rid of it.[12] This was based off of Eisenhower's previous doctrine of "massive retaliation," in which he hoped to deter aggression by showing the Soviet Union that America was capable of responding with force overwhelming enough to protect it and its allies.

Nixon liked the idea, and even encouraged Kissinger to present him as a "madman" whenever Vietnam came up in diplomatic talks, and that he should "shake his head and say, 'I am sorry, Mr. Ambassador, but [the president] is out of control." He also told Haldmen that "I want the North Vietnamese to believe that I've reached the point that I might do anything to stop the war. We'll just slip the word to them that for God's sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about Communism. We can't restrain him when he is angry — and he has his hand on the nuclear button' — and Ho Chi Minh himself will be in Paris in two days begging for peace."[13]

Conspiracy theories[edit]

Kissinger is a conspiracy theorist's wet dream for the fact that he is:

Thus, he often has a supporting, if not starring, role in all sorts of international Jewish conspiracy, New World Order, and Illuminati theories. Among the more anti-Semitic Truthers, he is claimed to have played a major role in a Shrub whitewash as he briefly[14] held a seat on an investigation panel for 9/11. There was long a notion that the Kisser might be the Antichrist himself, but he's a bit old for that position now.

Oh, and he's appeared in TV commercials. Sinister. Though lately he's having trouble preventing Stephen Colbert from breaking into his office.[15]

Tell me who your friends are … or the other way around?[edit]

Kissinger stated that he wished to die before Helmut SchmidtWikipedia because Kissinger wouldn't want to live in a world without him. This really makes one wonder about the adage: "Tell me who your friends are, and I'll tell you who you are.“ To most this constitutes a very backhanded compliment to Schmidt. The wish was not granted. Schmidt died 10 November 2015 at the relatively young age of 96 after a lifetime of heavy smoking.

Kissinger and Danial Ellsberg knew each other from Harvard in the 1950s, and Ellsberg, a holdover from the Johnson administrstion, briefed Kissinger on Vietnam after Nixon was elected. It was Kissinger who fingered Ellsberg to Nixon as the probable leaker of the Pentagon Papers.[16]

Bernie Sanders is proud to not consider Henry Kissinger his friend.[17] Hillary Clinton, by contrast, adores Henry; their families spend Christmas week together most years, roughing it at Oscar de la Renta's villa. She fawns over his books and is quite content to overlook that little matter of his multiple war crimes.[18]

Callous quotes[edit]

Fred Branfman at Alternet wrote about Kissinger that he “has a history of saying outrageous things that reveal a dark and unusual callousness and hostility to the lives of innocent civilians across the planet” and provides a sampling of ten quotations.[19] Here are the top three.

  1. “The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy. And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.” — Henry Kissinger[20]
  2. “[Nixon] wants a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. He doesn't want to hear anything about it. It's an order, to be done. Anything that flies on anything that moves.” — Henry Kissinger[21]
  3. “It's wave after wave of planes. You see, they can't see the B-52 and they dropped a million pounds of bombs ... I bet you we will have had more planes over there in one day than Johnson had in a month ... each plane can carry about 10 times the load of World War II plane could carry.” — Henry Kissinger[22]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]