Today the New York Times has a debate about Henry Kissinger between Niall Ferguson and Todd Gitlin – a follow up on a confrontation about Kissinger a few days ago between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Ferguson describes Sanders as having made a "gratuitous broadside" against Kissinger, Ferguson writes:
For Bernie Sanders to call Henry Kissinger "one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country," is a reminder that, for all his appeal to younger Democrats, Sanders is a throwback to a bygone era.
Todd Gitlin, a professor of sociology and journalism at Columbia University, describes Kissinger as having risen to power "as a banal, obsequious and sometimes hysterical cold warrior." Gitlin writes,
Kissinger went on about America's "margin of survival" having "narrowed dangerously" to the point that "national disaster" loomed and the United States was "in "mortal danger" of a Soviet surprise attack.'" Such hysteria moved the world to within a hair's breadth of not-so-limited war during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Repeatedly crying wolf over Soviet power, obsessed by a black-white view of the world, failing to understand that Communist-led insurgencies like Vietnam's were crucially nationalist and anticolonial, Kissinger propelled himself simplemindedly into the heights and depths of a career as courtier-in-chief.
Gitlin describes Kissinger as having
supported Pakistan's military dictatorship during the 1971 Bangladesh war, colluding in what American diplomats in Dakka considered "moral bankruptcy" in the face of "atrocities" and "a reign of terror." In 1976, he told Chile's murderous dictator Augusto Pinochet, in the words of his own memorandum: "My evaluation is that you are a victim of all left-wing groups around the world and that your greatest sin was that you overthrew a government that was going Communist."
Copyright © 2018 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.