Posts Tagged ‘Henry Kissinger’

We live in the world that Henry Kissinger made

December 28, 2015

When U.S. forces bombed and then invaded Cambodia in 1970, many Americans were shocked, both at the mass slaughter of bystanders and at the fact that it was done without a declaration of war.   Nowadays such actions have come to be regarded as normal.

Grandin.KissingersShadowHistorian Greg Grandin, in his new book, KISSINGER’S SHADOW: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman, says the normalization of military aggression and mass killing of civilians is due to the influence of Henry Kissinger, not just as national security adviser and secretary of state under the Nixon and Ford administrations, but as an influential public intellectual and elder statesman.

Kissinger’s bloody record includes the prolonging of the Vietnam conflict, the carpet bombing of Cambodia and Laos, support for Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor and massacres of minorities and dissidents, the overthrow of the democratically-elected Allende government in Chile, sponsorship of South American death squads through Operation Condor, support for white mercenaries fighting African liberation movements and much else.

But U.S. military interventions, covert actions and war crimes did not begin with Kissinger nor, for that matter, with the Cold War, nor are such things unique to the United States.

The real significance of Kissinger, according to Grandin, was that he, more than anyone else, was responsible for the overcoming of the “Vietnam syndrome” – the idea that U.S. use of force should be restrained by morality, law and prudence, and that so many Americans have come, without realizing it, to accept Kissinger’s philosophy of power.

Kissinger was an admirer of the German philosopher and historian Oswald Spengler, who believed that civilizations rise when they have powerful leaders whose understanding is based on sound instinct and intuition.  Spengler believed they decline when leaders limit themselves to sterile reasoning and empirical fact.

While Spengler believed that Western civilization was in a state of irreversible decline, Kissinger thought that this could be reversed by statesmen with the strength of will to ignore the “fact men” and impose their vision on reality.

Kissinger, according to Grandin, believed that power was a dynamic process.  The only way a nation could maintain power was to participate in the struggle for power.  A nation whose leaders stayed on the sidelines would only become weak.

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The passing scene – October 4, 2015

October 4, 2015

Roger Millikin: The Man Who Launched the GOP’s Civil War by Jonathan M. Katz for Politico (hat tip to naked capitalism)

Roger Millikin, a right-wing textile magnate, was a driving force in transforming the South from solidly Democratic to solidly Republican, and the Republican Party from the party of Lincoln into the party of Strom Thurmond, Jessie Helms and Trent Lott.

If not for him, or someone like him, Rick Perry might still be a Democrat and Elizabeth Warren might still be a Republican.

The Invisible Poverty of ‘Poor White Trash’ by Rod Dreher for The American Conservative.

I never use expressions such as “redneck” or “white trash.”  The word “redneck” originally to poor white farmers who worked in the hot sun in long-sleeved shirts.  It was a term used by educated people to express their contempt for manual labor and lack of schooling.  The term implies that poor white people are more racist than affluent white people, which in my experience has not been the case.

One Day After Warning Russia of Civilian Casualties, the U.S. Bombs a Hospital in Afghanistan by Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept.  (Hat tip to my expatriate e-mail pen pal Jack).

Bubbles Always Burst: the Education of an Economist by Michael Hudson, author of Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy.

Debacle Inc.: How Henry Kissinger Helped Create Our “Proliferated” World by Greg Grandin, author of Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman.

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Henry Kissinger on the Ukraine crisis

August 22, 2014

My e-mail pen pal Bill Harvey called my attention an article by Henry Kissinger in the Washington Post last March about the Ukraine crisis.   It is still relevant.  Here are highlights.

Public discussion on Ukraine is all about confrontation. But do we know where we are going?  In my life, I have seen four wars begun with great enthusiasm and public support, all of which we did not know how to end and from three of which we withdrew unilaterally.  The test of policy is how it ends, not how it begins.  [snip]

Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger

Russia must accept that to try to force Ukraine into a satellite status, and thereby move Russia’s borders again, would doom Moscow to repeat its history of self-fulfilling cycles of reciprocal pressures with Europe and the United States.

The West must understand that, to Russia, Ukraine can never be just a foreign country. [snip]

A wise U.S. policy toward Ukraine would seek a way for the two parts of the country to cooperate with each other.  We should seek reconciliation, not the domination of a faction.

Russia and the West, and least of all the various factions in Ukraine, have not acted on this principle.  Each has made the situation worse.  Russia would not be able to impose a military solution without isolating itself at a time when many of its borders are already precarious.  For the West, the demonization of Vladimir Putin is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one.

Click on To settle the Ukraine crisis, start at the end to read the whole article.