*Henry Kissinger*

The subtitle is 1923-1968: The Idealist, and the author is Niall Ferguson.  This is really an impressive book and we all should be envious that we did not write it ourselves.

Here is one line from Kissinger, cited by Ferguson:

“Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.”

Over at NYT Andrew Roberts very much likes the book and basically calls it a masterpiece.  Some people are all aflutter over this supposed Greg Grandin Gawker “take down,” but in fact both the book and the review are superb and I am glad the Times stood by it.  Definitely recommended, this is one of the year’s musts.  I know you are all mature enough not to let your opinions on Ferguson’s politics interfere with your assessment of this work.


You know nothin Tyler Chosen.
(Or don't read the comments)

I hate it when spellchecker ruins a good movie reference. ..

Or a good TV show reference?

I don't believe it's ever necessary to say that Gawker is full of nonsense.

Indeed. And, since I'm out of the loop(s), isn't the same true of Slate? I suspect so.

we must all bow before this demi-god of the Military Industrial Complex!

That's a ridiculous thing to say about Ferguson.

His new book is Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman.

So Grandin is annoyed because the Ferguson book came out before his?

NYT statement: "We asked him and he said it was OK?" They should rehire Judith Miller and Jason Blair by that standard.

Hmmm . . . this post was obviously written by computer TC. Author is a well known right wing syncophant? Check. Thesis is that right wing authoritarian was awesome? Check. No chance that TC actually read the book? Check. Substance free endorsement of said author and authoritarian? Naturally.

Oh oh, we've got spam

Exactly right. The Gawker "take-down" may not be completely devastating (though it's bad), but that post is 1000 times more substantive than this nonsense. (Nonsense delivered, of course, in Cowen's inimitable ex cathedra mode). Let that sink in

I meant that "CM" was exactly right.

Who here thinks right wing authoritarianism was a great thing? I doubt that Kissinger has ever said so. Or Roberts. Or Ferguson.

At best all three think that sometimes democracy breaks down and right wing authoritarianism is the least worst option. Something that is impossible to deny. We are all in favor of one authoritarian government or other in the right circumstances. The Left, especially, with its long history of supporting totalitarian movements, is in no position to criticize on this score. They did, after all, come out en masse and made it possible for the Communists to take power in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The Killing Fields are on them.

It is simply not possible now to say that Pinochet was worse than the Marxist Leninist state Allende was trying to construct. Democracy would have been better, but the East German Stasi "advisers" made that impossible.

yeah, its on liberals for the killing fields. glad you havent fallen victim to hyperbole.

Ahhh Niall Ferguson -- isn't he still waiting on that runaway obama inflation?? still waiting.

To read a book about a war criminal from an author/failed economist who lost to krugman in a very public battle. hmmmm...

also his wife looks like the guy from captain philips. i'm the captain now.

tyler - my God, fix this blog. fix it now. also, you have a childs name. change it. where's tyler? has tyler done his homework? did tyler do well on his spelling test?

What hyperbole? Tom Hayden got what he wanted. All those radicals who protested against America's war got what they wanted - a Communist victory. Sitting around the campus bullsh!tting may carry no consequences, or at least back then it didn't, but in the real world, real policies carry real consequences. The consequences of Jane Fonda's support was the Killing Fields. If Kissinger had got his way, no one would have died in Cambodia. Unfortunately for the people of Cambodia, he did not get his way. Tom Hayden did. So millions died. That is not hyperbole. That is the simple truth.

I am sorry but was that a racist smear about Ferguson's wife? Classy.

I think I will find the follow up book more interesting.

Henry Kissinger is the most consequential man in postwar US history.

If that's true, and it's not, it doesn't speak well of the rest of the politicians in the USA. Kissinger was a loose cannon, nothing more. A sort of Oliver North with more scope and authority for mischief. Kissinger meddled in South America, and Africa, which, if he knew any history, he should have realized nothing of any consequence comes from regions that far away from the civilized world.

Bonus trivia: both Kissinger and Nixon were clearly closet Communists, as are most politicians these days as well.

And you fail to nominate 3 others instead of Kissinger. Let's see a little effort.

And Nixon was hardly in the closet with Wage and Price Controls, the EPA, and more.

Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates. Four others.

Ronald Reagan bro? I wanna have what you're having.

Kissinger was a close personal friend of Lee Kwan Yee. Kissinger wept at his funeral.

Was Lee a loose cannon or someone who would abide a loose cannon? Unlikely. Lee also said the U.S. war in Vietnam prevented all of of SE Asia from sinking under the communist tide.

People forget that every country in the region had a communist insurgency.

How many people are alive today because singpore, Malaysia and Thailand didn't go the way of Cambodia?

@Chip -hahaha! Obviously you've never visited SE Asia... which de facto is largely communist. And Vietnam was communist, and so what? Did that turn out so bad? They stayed primitive for a decade or so, until the Berlin Wall fell, now they are exhibiting catch up growth. BTW the USA lost in Vietnam, just FYI.

So what? Only up to 900,000 murdered as they went about land reform and removed those who liked to personally own things..

I've lived in SE Asia on and off for 15 years. But I could be a 10 year old chd from a small town in Iceland and still have the wherewithal to find out if the entire region was communist.

Kissinger made one glaring error. His 90% should be 99.9% of politicians making the other 0.1% look bad. Did Ferguson ask Kissinger how it feels to have been succeeded by clown-car show idiots like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry?

By most accounts he has good relations with both HC and JK.

Don't ruin his fantasy.

T. Shaw's or Kissinger's?

It's too soon to tell.

Re Kerry, whose accounts?

Re Hildebeast: let go of everyone's leg. The only people who have 'good' relations with that creature are on the payroll.

Of course, it's Kissinger who likes to boast that he isn't an economist (as does his one-time protege Tim Geithner).

There is a Crooked Timber thread on this, with complaints that Roberts, the reviewer, was Kissenger's first choice to do his authorized biography, that Roberts is a friend of both Kissenger and Ferguson, that all three are well known right wing authoritarians, and general shock that the New York Times is indulgent of these conflicts of interest.

My own take is that it would have been awesome if Kissinger had reviewed his authorized biography. I would have read that. I'll admit that I'm just not that interested in Roberts' opinion. My expectations as to what appears in the Times has been lowered over the years.


You mentioned Crooked Timber.

I had such high hopes for it, especially since it seemed to be motivated by Kant's most "tory"-pessimistic insight: that we are flawed agents choosing not between the good and the bad but between the middlin' and the worse.

+1. In light of these relationships, Roberts is obviously a poor choice if you want an unbiased review.

I don't want an unbiased review I want a good review. That probably does mean someone with some sort of skin in the game. But perhaps given this focus you could comment on Grandin himself, who appears to have a competing book on the same subject.....

"unbiased review."

Crooked Timber being unbiased of course.

Who best to judge a book about Kissinger? I would say someone who knew him well might have something worthwhile to say about it, right? I agree that the nature of the reviewer's relationship both to the author and the subject ought to be disclosed, though.

I assume that 80% of the hate from the left against Kissinger is because he is Jewish. They wouldn't even know his name if he wasn't Jewish. Think of JFK, Nixon or McNamara as an example, together they don't even get 20% of the hate Kissinger gets.

"The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman."
This book title by Grandin says it all. I hope Ferguson is addressing this issue.

loool wasnt his left-wing counter part also jewish?

I always assumed it was because he was German.

Just kidding, your theory is nuts.

Don't forget that the left also probably hates Kissinger because they eat babies. Its true, leftists kidnap and eat babies every day. Usually white babies, too!

To be fair, everyone needs a hobby.

Day 1. Advocate for violent revolution.
Day 2. Claim message of Day 1 was taken out of context.
Day 3. Rinse and repeat.

I actually gave a reason why so many people are so obsessed with Kissinger: His Jewishness. You guys gave no explanation why he is so much more hated than people like JFK, McNamara, Nixon, Reagan, Bush. Imagine Kissinger as a WASP. Or imagine him as good-looking as JFK. A lot of people would not care as much. Kissinger is to American statesmen what Israel is to nations. Ferguson is a smart guy. I can imagine that he might address this issue.

Christian, you are correct of course.

Bundy [a WASP among WASPs] was national security adviser for the start and escalation of the war, yet he does not get 1/100 of the scorn Kissinger does.

Your premise is largely false. Bush is utterly reviled by the left, as is Rumsfeld and Cheney and they aren't Jewish. Nixon was the great bogey man of the left despite ending the Vietnam war; setting up the EPA; and giving American Indians the right to tribal self determination. Reagan is also despised both for his foreign policy and his economic policy.

I didn't say Bush and Reagan are not hated. They are hated a lot. I'm just saying Kissinger is hated even more if you consider the positions and influence he actually had. Bob's example is just right. People don't talk about McGeorge Bundy. People don't even know who McGeorge Bundy was. Imagine McGeorge Bundy was named Henry Blumenstein, then McGeorge Bundy would be a different story. There would be dozens of books why Henry Blumenstein is "America’s most controversial statesman" with a "very long, hidden reach" that is responsible for basically all the misery in the world.

Nobody knew who Bundy was, even back then. He flew under the radar. In contrast HK always went for the limelight and the press attention, so everybody knew who he was (and still do). And he is not nearly as hated as some of these folks like Cheney. Seriously, Christian List (this is a name?), yoiu are seriously deluded. Want to back up your claim with some polls or anything for that matter?

Kissinger attracts much of the heat because he unapologetically championed developing-world interventionism in the spirit of the Dulles brothers, and because he is still alive and has remained influential long after leaving his official post.

You made the claim that Kissinger gets five times as much "hate" as Nixon. It's up to you to back up that claim with evidence which you have conspicuously failed to do so no "explanation" is needed.

I don't know why JFK should get the hate that Kissinger gets. Nixon certainly should, and does. If the hatred for Kissinger seems to be voiced more often, it's because nobody has the stones to write an ode to Nixon that lauds him as a great American. I don't think the question is why Kissinger gets the hate, but why does he get the love.

"And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern." --Ferguson's and Roberts' and Christian List's hero.

I enjoyed reading Kissinger's On China. I appreciated a lot the perspective on the Korea war and Taiwan conflict. Interesting to know all what happened behind the "bomb the China communists era" in the US. Critics focus on how Kissinger supported dictators and it's well founded criticism. However, the frenemies relationship between the US and China mediated by Kissinger supports the Pax Sino-Americana we enjoy today.

On China was a good book indeed.

"Critics focus on how Kissinger supported dictators and it’s well founded criticism."

Unlike Acheson, Dulles, Bundy, Rusk [and everyone else] who held Kissinger's jobs before him of course. No support of any dictators, nope.

The Kissinger era was before my time. But I am interested in learning more about that crucial period in recent world history. However, this book is going to be biased - that much is clear from the Gawker article. I think the most judicious path for the unbiased is to read this book that Tyler adores with the one recently written by the Gawker reviewer, perhaps with the Hitchens anti-hagiography thrown in for a little spice.


It's funny, the text starts with a lengthy author's self-fellatio.

Later I found the author is not capable of discerning between discourse and results. Discourse "Russians can burn Jews, America does not care". Results: "Help Russian Jews to emigrate to the US in 60 & 70s". How many USSR born Russian speaking Jews live today in the US?


More than you might be aware of. You appear to have stepped into a deep pool without realizing that you have done so.

Why deep pool? Yesterday I tried to find a good estimate of the USSR born Jew population but it does not exist. 100K, 300K, 700K? I'm not a Jew hater, so I can consider the Soviet Jew refugees a happy ending story in spite of Kissinger being taped saying "let them burn". Perhaps this story is just another example of realpolitik.

The "deep pool" is because people associated with crucial people here are in that group.

It's good that you bring up Hitchens. Kissinger and Hitchens have some striking similarities but of course also quite a few differences. For example Kissinger never had this unpleasant arrogant attitude that his morals are far superior than the morals of his opponents. I also can not imagine that Kissinger would try to win arguments by calling other people vile. Another difference is realpolitik. Kissinger's realpolitik looks quite good now compared to Hitchens' cries for interventions in Iraq, Libya etc.

Anyone else who is interested can read this and judge for themselves whether Hitchens "would try to win arguments by calling other people vile" :
I certainly plan to read it.

You linked the slate article in which Hitchens wrote Kissinger is a "vile creature", didn't you? That's Hitchens negative side: Extremly arrogant, childish behaviour. I would never read such a book. And it's not *just* that. Like I said Kissinger’s realpolitik looks quite well now compared to the policies Hitchens demanded during his lifetime.

Gawker is contractually obligated to run a hit piece on any new book by a major white male author.

Who reads anymore? I'll wait for the movie. I hear they're casting Jonah Hill.

David Hasselhof.

He surely belongs to the 90%....

From wikipedia page: " Kissinger sneered at people who “bleed” for “the dying Bengalis” and ignored the first telegram from the United States consul general in East Pakistan, Archer K. Blood, and 20 members of his staff, which informed the US that their allies West Pakistan were undertaking, in Blood's words, "a selective genocide".[39] In the second, more famous, Blood Telegram the word genocide was again used to describe the events, and further that with its continuing support for West Pakistan the US government had "evidenced [...] moral bankruptcy".[40] As a direct response to the dissent against US policy Kissinger and Nixon ended Archer Blood's tenure as United States consul general in East Pakistan and put him to work in the State Department's Personnel Office." In deed a lovely man...

Can't speak for everyone one, but I don't like reading about Kissinger because I think he was a lovely man. And even thought I don't respect his ethics I prefer to read accounts of his life that are written by people who don't hate him. The ones who do hate him go into unhinged territory way to fast. The particular mistake made by most haters of Kissinger is attributing to him a special immorality when really his lack of ethics is a common feature of US policy. The principle difference is that Kissinger was more honest about his lack of ethics then most of his contemporaries. For example, I think the "secret wars" thing was one of the most damaging things that Kissinger did to democracy. But these days, it is practically expected that US forces will run around the world killing people and not acknowledging it.

"I prefer to read accounts of his life that are written by people who don’t hate him. The ones who do hate him go into unhinged territory way to fast."

Too true, doubly so for Wikipedia editors.

I recently read a claim on the internet that the US has special forces in 135 nations, although I am not sure I believe that.

Ah, the sneering objectivity of Wikipedia.

Nobody gives a crap about Bangladesh, and rightfully so.

And I don't think he particularly cared about being lovely:

"Covert action should not be confused with missionary work"
-Kissinger, Henry.

I care about Bangladesh. Not enough to do anything about it, but I care.

Bangladesh probably stands to lose most from rising seas due to global warming.

Also, in opposing extremism among some Muslims (which I believe is a major goal of American policy, although in my opinion it does more to stir the hornet's nest than to resolve anything), Bangladesh should be seen as a natural ally: quite a number of journalists and public figures have been assassinated by extremists in their midst.

Yeah, only half of Bangladeshis support extreme Islamic views. Natural ally!

I'm not sure how you define "extreme", but in any case that's significantly less than in Saudi, one of USA's staunchest allies.

Wow, Observer. And how many other countries with more than 100 millioin people in them do you think that "nobody gives a crap about, and rightfully so"? Please give a complete list and explain, starting with China, India, and of course, the US, third largest in the world.

China India and the US all have nukes.

Indonesia has a lot of people. When was the last time Indonesia mattered for anything other than a brief worthless effort to run the non-aligned movement?

Pakistan has nukes, but do people take it a lot more seriously than either Indonesia or Bangladesh? Maybe because it borders Afghanistan and harbors all sorts of terrorist groups. China and India matter because they are by far the world's largest nations with economies also among the very largest. People may worry about Chinese nukes somewhat, but does anybody besides the Pakistanis give a real hoot about India's nukes? I don't think so.

They left Blood with a job. He should have been dismissed. Minor State functionaries rightfully do not make US policy.

Assuming Wikipedia is correct. A big assumption.

A book was recently written on the topic. Wikipedia didn't dream this up.

If anything, Nixon revealed himself to be a slimy malignant character in this sordid episode. Kissinger was just licking his boss's behind.

I always feel sleazy going to gawker.com.
What a terrible site

Why would you ever go? Is there ever information? Is it ever more than capitalism suck, prices suck, "I would allocate better", men suck, the west sucks and is evil? I guess you need to go once to hear the "arguments" but one article should touch on all of the above "points" and then you are done with it.

I don't deliberately go there, so I'd appreciate warnings on Gawker links.

The most interesting thing I know about Kissinger is his admission, in "Fog of War", that it quite easily was a weather-originated radar blip that was used to justify the first moves which started the Vietnam war.

Instead of verifying what was going on, the first military movements were justified on precisely one blip on a radar.

Did we find those WMDs yet?

We should rewrite history. There weren't communist insurgencies in countries like Vietnam. It was just a weather-originated blip on the radar.

Kissinger was not in government at the time of the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

McGeorge Bundy was national security advisor and Rusk was at State. Not to mention McNamera and LBJ who held influential positions I hear.

Yet, you seem to be blaming Kissinger for the "blip".

I blame Kissinger for nothing. Maybe you should reply to Nathan.

Of course I was referring to Nathan , its a stacking problem. My apologies.

I don't "blame" Kissinger for anything. He was in a powerful position in a tumultuous time and had to make some ginormous decisions. I don't agree with all (or many) of them, but I don't "blame" him ... in the way that I would "blame" GWB for an invasion of Iraq on completely false pretenses - at least in the Cold War, the logic of containment was fairly sound, even if it led to some pretty nasty stuff.

As a representative of the general institutional environment at the time, I found it to be a breath of fresh air to hear someone basically say that there might have been some mistakes. However, I think I may have misunderstood the situation somewhat, given that you mention that Kissinger was not in government at the time of the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

If you visit the Vietnam Wall in Washington, you will observe that the first US death listed there was in 1959, before Bundy or Rusk was in power. You may want to blame Ike, but then he was following on an earlier decision that the US should support the French over our WW II allies, Ho and his gang. Although many think it was Truman who made that decision, it was FDR, one of the last he made about a month before he died, reportedly as a sort of guilt trip penance for all the scheiss we and the Brits gave de Gaulle while he was in exile, basically a gift to de Gaulle, although our OSS guys on the ground working with Ho were not told of this for another six months until the war was over, during which time they worked together to defeat the Japanese. Funny thing about history...

That was McNamara, not Kissinger.

Kissinger inflation is always around the corner ...

Ferguson probably thinks victory in Vietnam is right sound the corner, too. He has zero credibility.

Victory (if you want to call it that) has been long achieved. Vietnam today is one of the most pro-American countries in Southeast Asia, with around 78% of Vietnamese people viewing the U.S. favorably in 2015. The US-Vietnam relations are surprisingly good with cooperation on nearly all fields. The natural rival of Vietnam has always been China for thousands of years. This is even more true today. Vietnam needs the US more than the US needs Vietnam.

All of this would still be true even if we hadn't wasted huge amounts of money, human life, and political credibility on the war.

That's just not true. People make this fallacy all the time. History and time do not work this way. You can not take the results that you like today without taking the events that lead to those results as well.

You seriously believe that they like us because we carpet bombed them for years? Or maybe it has something to do with leaving them alone afterwards to sort out their own messes?

If we're arguing Vietnam 50 years later, what will be said about the Iraq War in 2053?

The Original D October 1, 2015 at 3:54 pm

You seriously believe that they like us because we carpet bombed them for years?

Yes. The Vietnamese can look around and see America sacrificed its young men and large amounts of money in an effort to keep Vietnam free - and the genocidal nuts in their cafes in Paris. They failed. The Vietnamese, and more especially the Cambodians, can see what America's enemies were like. Naturally they choose America in part because of that generous, selfless, humanitarian effort.

Indeed, and Vietnam is reportedly likely to be the biggest gainer from the TPP.

Did Kissinger start the war or help end it?

He ended its beginning and commenced its ending.

I suppose that those of the libertarian persuasion with a utilitarian bent (someone such as, perhaps, Cowen) would view Kissinger favorably, since Kissinger separated morality from policy and based his decision-making on the utility of the policy. Kissinger may have been fond of claiming that he wasn't an economist, but his mode of decision-making was purely economics.

the kind of textbook economics that has lost us Russia and Latin America in the neoliberal era

Kissinger created a lot of bloodbaths in irrelevant places (tho not necessarily more than his colleagues, before and after). it's ez for me to say they were unnecessary, tho, because I grew up after Communism flopped, and it's easy in hindsight to see that some more bananas and friendship would not have saved them

Is this the same Andrew Roberts who wrote the Napoleon biography last year?

Yes, same Roberts. He also wrote a good biography of the Marquess of Salisbury, who was a rather interesting figure, as British Prime Ministers go.

Napoleon was one of my favorites from last year. Great writer.

However, the paragraph in this review which tries to show that Ferguson isn't writing "hagiography" is weak. The criticisms of Kissinger that he cites in the book are hardly anything that substantial. If that was an attempt to show that Ferguson isn't completely in the Kissinger camp, it was a failure.

Pretty obvious that both Roberts and Ferguson strongly approve of Kissinger's foreign policy. That's fine, but its something to keep in mind when reading this one.

At least Kissinger got one thing right: he told Nixon to resign.

Lots of people told Nixon to resign. HK was one of the more reluctant ones. Reportedly the one whose advice he finally took was Barry Goldwater, who basically told him he would not win in the Senate if he contested a trial on his impeachment there.

Kissinger was a terrible person. And this book is clearly painting him as some sort of American hero while glossing over his guilt in murder and genocide. "The idealist" would be a funny joke title if it wasn't meant with full seriousness. It's frankly distasteful that he is still revered, including in this review by Tyler, who I otherwise think has a good moral understanding of history.

What guilt? What did Kissinger actually do that involved any involvement in murder and genocide?

I think the Left hates Kissinger so much because Kissinger, and the Right, turned out to be right. They said the Vietnamese and Khmer Communists were mass murderers. The Left insisted they were all misunderstood. But mass murderers they were. Rather than admit they were wrong, they try to pin the Killing Fields on the people who tried to prevent it.

Kissinger bears no guilt for the Khmer Rouge. Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden do.

So much for subtlety indeed. The Khmer Rouge were mass murderers and thus kissinger can't be?

For the record I'm not by any stretch of the word "the left".

It's rather clear that Kissinger played an important an unrepentant part in multiple morally unacceptable decisions. These include personal orders of bombings of civilians in Cambodia and Vietnam, organisation of the assassination of a democratically elected leader in Chile, and enabling of the genocide in East Timor.

Hitchens' The Trial of Henry Kissinger contains a good account, that I have not seen refuted anywhere.

Jane Fonda, in contrast, has never made any shady diplomatic talks with Indonesia or military orders for bombings of innocent civilians.

The Khmer Rouge were mass murderers and thus kissinger can’t be?

That is beside the point and a distraction as well. If you have any evidence that Kissinger ever had anyone murdered, much less 2 or 3 million people like Pol Pot, bring it out. You don't do you?

For the record I’m not by any stretch of the word “the left”.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

It’s rather clear that Kissinger played an important an unrepentant part in multiple morally unacceptable decisions. These include personal orders of bombings of civilians in Cambodia and Vietnam, organisation of the assassination of a democratically elected leader in Chile, and enabling of the genocide in East Timor.

It is not clear to me or to any unbiased person. Kissinger bombed a lot of rainforest in Cambodia. Name three people who ordered to be bombed in Indochina. At best innocent people died while the USAF tried to bomb Khmer Rouge targets. That is not remotely similar to bombing innocent civilians. The American bombing campaign in Indochina was more moral than their bombing campaign in Germany. A lot more moral.

There is no evidence of any American involvement in the Chilean coup much less in the killing of Allende. If you have any, let's see it. Nor is Kissinger to blame because the Chilean Parliament, Courts and Army had enough of Allende's Marxism. They would have carried out a coup whatever the Americans did.

How did Kissinger enable the Indonesians to do anything?

Hitchens’ The Trial of Henry Kissinger contains a good account, that I have not seen refuted anywhere.

Yeah not on the left at all. You just rely on drunken Trots and their polemics.

Jane Fonda, in contrast, has never made any shady diplomatic talks with Indonesia or military orders for bombings of innocent civilians.

There is as much evidence she did as he did.

I thought that people with actual knowledge of Cambodia/Laos knew that the US bombed with absolute impunity.

I know there is very little public knowledge of these conflicts, the main interest having been in Vietnam where there were boots on the ground.

Might I point out that making unfounded allusions to known communist thinkers and dictators does not itself constitute any sort of rational argumentation whatsoever? (Trots and their polemics ...)

Dropped more bombs on Laos, one of the poorest countries on the planet, then were used by ALL sides in ALL of WWII, in a secret war that most Americans still don't even know ever happened.

I've always been glad that Kissinger, an extremely ambitious and effective individual, wound up on our side rather than on the side of the Soviet Union or Israel.

Soviet Union, had their Kissinger. He's still alive and Mikhail Gorbachev.


“I heard a parallel story from an acquaintance who happened to know Henry Kissinger’s brother and asked him why he, the brother, had no trace of a German accent whereas Henry sounded like he’d just bounced in from Munich.

“The brother replied that ‘unlike Henry, I listen to other people.’”

China, Russia, nukes. Those are the three forces the US actually has to address.

Everything else- Chile, Cambodia, terrorism, human rights, etc - is all just noise, or adjunct to the three listed issues.

Nixon/Kissinger was able to accomplish SALT (nukes), recognition of PRC (China) and detente (USSR). Arms control/reduction, relations with PRC, and stability with Russia are all (still) the cornerstones of our security.

Arab terrorism is the biggest red herring to ever come our way. A single Russian MIRV'd ICBM would kill more people in one day of warfare than every single American victim of Arab terrorism ever. Any losses incurred in the Middle East are trivial compared to the losses which have been prevented by preventing a World War since 1945.

well said

I think HK was (not uniquely, of course) guilty of overreacting to peripheral, soft lefties; that said, it would have been hard to know that when the USSR seemed so strong and the events were so numerous

as u say, tho, he played the big ones well. we're still here

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