Has Trump Been Reading Kissinger?

With a name like Trump, well, how can he not keep trumping himself? His most recent comment? You must’ve heard; did he imply (or was it inferred?) that the “Second Amendment people” – that is, gun nuts – could or should knock off Clinton? (Incidentally, isn’t there a double, phallic irony in the term gun nuts?) Anyway, you just know that those gun nuts, or gun enthusiasts, are, like most people, exceedingly impressionable. And, consequently, it isn’t hard to imagine that they could infer from Trump’s vague pronouncement that, yes, they should get their guns and “deal with Clinton.”

Now, as Obama might say, let me be clear; nearly everything Trump says is toxic nonsense (I say nearly everything because he has, on a couple of occasions, made a sane statement – such as when he suggested that we should respect the rights of Palestinians, or not antagonize Russia, or scrap NAFTA), however, as with that ‘gun nut’ syntagma, there’s more than a little irony in the uproar over Trump’s ostensible encouragement of using violence to knock off a political opponent. Why? Because that is just what characterizes so much of the statecraft of Hillary’s idol, Henry Kissinger.

Responsible for illegal bombing campaigns that caused millions of deaths throughout Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, Kissinger also fomented genocide in East Timor, and Bangladesh. In addition to abetting murder in southern Africa, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Argentina, he also notoriously enabled and supported the Pinochet regime in Chile, which seized power in a military coup – a coup that led to the deaths of thousands, including the democratically-elected president Salvador Allende in the presidential palace.

This is hardly arcane knowledge. And, yet, Hillary Clinton openly emulates this man. Not only has she verbalized her admiration for Kissinger, as she did in the Democratic debates this year, in her 2014 review of Kissinger’s World Order (which, if I recall correctly, Mark Zuckerberg read aloud to his newborn daughter) Clinton wrote that Kissinger is “a friend,” and that she “relied on his counsel,” and consulted with him regularly when she was Secretary of State.

Aside from words, though, or theory, Clinton emulates Kissinger in practice, in deeds. Her support of the coup d’etat in Honduras in 2009, for instance, when she was Secretary of State, came right out of Kissinger’s playbook – as was her support of launching strikes against Libya, not to mention her plans to bomb Syria. None of this, of course, is to suggest that Trump is by any means somehow right in threatening Clinton with violence. On the contrary, it’s to say that, like Trump, Hillary Clinton is horribly wrong.

Elliot Sperber is a writer, attorney, and adjunct professor. He lives in New York City and can be reached at elliot.sperber@gmail.com and on twitter @elliot_sperber