• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

CounterPunch needs you. piggybank-icon You need us. The cost of keeping the site alive and running is growing fast, as more and more readers visit. We want you to stick around, but it eats up bandwidth and costs us a bundle. Help us reach our modest goal (we are half way there!) so we can keep CounterPunch going. Donate today!
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Grievous Return of Henry Kissinger

The gods protect us, Henry Kissinger is back!

Henry Kissinger was President Richard Nixon’s National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State. He also held the latter position under President Gerald Ford. While it would be unfair to characterize him as someone who never gave a piece of good advice (he did encourage Nixon to engage in Detente with the Soviet Union), his record weighs heavily on the side of unwise counsel. As we will see he is back in exactly that role, plying bad advice that, in this case, could further erode America’s already messed up intelligence agencies.

Kissinger was originally an academic. His doctoral dissertation was on the diplomacy of two early 19th century statesmen, Britain’s Viscount Robert Castlereagh and Austria’s Prince Klemens von Metternich. These men were major players at the great Congress of Vienna that took place after the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815. At that meeting Metternich argued for returning Europe to its pre French Revolution political status. Pursuing that impossible end, he backed repressive policies and regimes. One gets the impression that the history of Kissinger’s public service was, at least in part, an effort to achieve the stature of a Metternich. Toward this end Kissinger would pursue “realpolitik” which, more often than not in its American manifestation, entailed the backing of repressive policies and regimes.

Here are some of the things Kissinger espoused: the bombing of North Vietnam in order to achieve “peace with honor;” support for the murderous, Fascist regime of Ernesto Pinochet in Chile, and the equally bloody military dictatorship in Argentina; acquiescence in the annexation of East Timor by the Indonesian dictator Suharto, which was followed by genocidal massacres; acquiescence in the Serb and Croat wars against the Bosnian Muslims; support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq; and last but certainly not least, active lobbying for the admittance into the U.S. of the ailing Shah of Iran (yet another American supported dictator) which led immediately to the hostage taking of U.S. diplomats in 1979 and the continuing animosity and tension between America and Iran. I saved this piece of bad judgment till last because it of a piece with Kissinger’s latest excursion into playing the great statesman by pushing folly.

So what would Dr. Kissinger have us do now? Well, according to a report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Kissinger has sent a letter to President Obama “urging him to commute the prison term of Jonathan Pollard, who is serving life term for spying for Israel.” Kissinger claims that he has consulted with others such as former Defense Secretary Weinberger, former Secretary of State George Schultz and former CIA Director Woolsey (all of whom are supporters of Israel) and found their “unanimous support for clemency compelling.” Kissinger’s letter follows on a lobbying effort by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has made an official request to Obama for the same granting of clemency. Here is what Netanyahu had to say, “Both Mr. Pollard and the Government of Israel have repeatedly expressed remorse for these actions [of spying], and Israel will continue to abide by its commitment that such wrongful actions will never be repeated.” There is something almost childish in this approach. Caught with Israel’s hand in the cookie jar, the spies and their handlers say ‘Oh I’m sorry. If you commute the punishment we promise to be good from now on.’ Actually, in the world of espionage, such promises aren’t worth the paper they are written on. Thus, in 2004 the FBI caught another government employee,, spying for Israel and using the Zionist American lobby AIPAC as the conduit through which to pass the stolen information. So much for promises of future good behavior.

What Kissinger and the rest Pollard’s supporters seem not to find compelling, or even noteworthy, is the fact that ever since the 1987 trial that sent Pollard away for life, the career officers in the American intelligence services have quietly threatened mass resignation if this Zionist spy went free. Keep in mind that ever since George W. Bush and his neo-conservatives wrecked havoc with the CIA in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq, the one Kissinger so obligingly supported, the intelligence agencies of this country have found their morale at the sub-basement level. If Obama commutes Pollard’s sentence it will be yet another blow to their professional well-being.

But what does Dr. Kissinger care about a bunch of government employees? In his realpolitik version of reality neither government servants nor ordinary citizens are worth much. Here are a couple of Kissinger quotes to show what I mean. Having helped condemn the Chilean people to16 years under the murderous rule of Ernesto Pinochet, Kissinger rationalized the decision this way, “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” And, as to the career analysts in the various intelligence agencies, most of whom really are experts in the countries they study, Kissinger just dismisses that expertise as inconsequential. “Most foreign policies that history has marked highly,” he tells us, “have been originated by leaders who were opposed by experts.” Well, that is all the “experts” except Dr. Kissinger.

The real Henry Kissinger, who implausabily received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, borders on being a war criminal. That should tell us what his advice is really worth. President Obama would be a fool to listen to a man whose blood stained career should have long ago come to an ignoble end.

LAWRENCE DAVIDSON is professor of history at West Chester University in West Chester PA.

 

 

 

More articles by:

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history at West Chester University in West Chester, PA.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
May 24, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Iran, Venezuela and the Throes of Empire
Melvin Goodman
The Dangerous Demise of Disarmament
Jeffrey St. Clair
“The Army Ain’t No Place for a Black Man:” How the Wolf Got Caged
Richard Moser
War is War on Mother Earth
Andrew Levine
The (Small-d) Democrat’s Dilemma
Russell Mokhiber
The Boeing Way: Blaming Dead Pilots
Rev. William Alberts
Gaslighters of God
Phyllis Bennis
The Amputation Crisis in Gaza: a US-Funded Atrocity
David Rosen
21st Century Conglomerate Trusts 
Jonathan Latham
As a GMO Stunt, Professor Tasted a Pesticide and Gave It to Students
Binoy Kampmark
The Espionage Act and Julian Assange
Kathy Deacon
Liberals Fall Into Line: a Recurring Phenomenon
Jill Richardson
The Disparity Behind Anti-Abortion Laws
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Chelsea Manning is Showing Us What Real Resistance Looks Like
Zhivko Illeieff
Russiagate and the Dry Rot in American Journalism
Norman Solomon
Will Biden’s Dog Whistles for Racism Catch Up with Him?
Yanis Varoufakis
The Left Refuses to Get Its Act Together in the Face of Neofascism
Lawrence Davidson
Senator Schumer’s Divine Mission
Thomas Knapp
War Crimes Pardons: A Terrible Memorial Day Idea
Renee Parsons
Dump Bolton before He Starts the Next War
Yves Engler
Canada’s Meddling in Venezuela
Katie Singer
Controlling 5G: A Course in Obstacles
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Beauty of Trees
Jesse Jackson
Extremist Laws, Like Alabama’s, Will Hit Poor Women the Hardest
Andrew Bacevich
The “Forever Wars” Enshrined
Ron Jacobs
Another One Moves On: Roz Payne, Presente!
Christopher Brauchli
The Offal Office
Daniel Falcone
Where the ‘Democratic Left’ Goes to Die: Staten Island NYC and the Forgotten Primaries   
Julia Paley
Life After Deportation
Sarah Anderson
America Needs a Long-Term Care Program for Seniors
Seiji Yamada – John Witeck
Stop U.S. Funding for Human Rights Abuses in the Philippines
Shane Doyle, A.J. Not Afraid and Adrian Bird, Jr.
The Crazy Mountains Deserve Preservation
Charlie Nash
Will Generation Z Introduce a Wizard Renaissance?
Ron Ridenour
Denmark Peace-Justice Conference Based on Activism in Many Countries
Douglas Bevington
Why California’s Costly (and Destructive) Logging Plan for Wildfires Will Fail
Gary Leupp
“Escalating Tensions” with Iran
Jonathan Power
Making the World More Equal
Cesar Chelala
The Social Burden of Depression in Japan
Stephen Cooper
Imbibe Culture and Consciousness with Cocoa Tea (The Interview)
Stacy Bannerman
End This Hidden Threat to Military Families
Kevin Basl
Time to Rethink That POW/MIA Flag
Nicky Reid
Pledging Allegiance to the Divided States of America
Louis Proyect
A Second Look at Neflix
Martin Billheimer
Closed Shave: T. O. Bobe, the Girl and Curl
David Yearsley
Hard Bop and Bezos’ Balls
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail