An interview with Richard Nixon’s Secretary of State during the Vietnam war was recently aired on More4. Henry Kissinger was speaking to the conservative historian Nial Ferguson. Two quotes stuck in my mind, the first about Nazi Germany, namely how his father was ‘paralysed’ by the evil the Nazis represented and the second how he was ‘unreconstructed’ in his belief that ‘we did Vietnam to ourselves.’
Those who blame the Harvard Professor for unnecessarily delaying the end of the Vietnam War – at the cost of countless human lives in Vietnam and Cambodia – will have plenty to think about also about his version of events in Chile one September 11, 1973, when the democratically president was overthrown by General Augusto Pinochet.
He had no knowledge of this before and was not involved.
It was, however, to ‘our’ advantage that the Communist President was overthrown.
By drawing in Cambodia, a bombing campaign was launched against a defenceless Buddhist country, which was America believed suppyling the Vietcong – Pakistan’s so-called tribal region may relate to those actions with the current drone campaign being waged against her.
This was a logical extension of the war, according to Kissinger, which did not kill thousands of people, as his critics claimed.
And the final bombing of the north, after isolating her by signing deals and opening doors to her two her main patrons – the Soviet Union and China – had the desired effect of making the Vietcong sign on the dotted line.
The interviewer did not ask him whether the Vietcong had really moved from the position they had taken before all that bombing and destruction.
So how does someone who clearly suffered under the Nazis, square that with all the death he unleashed in South Asia, and south America.
Probably, quite easily – it is common place for the Holocaust to be called a crime against the Jewish people, it was of course that on one level, but in a deeper sense it was a crime against all humanity, clear proof of what happens when one set of human beings believe they are superior to another.
Perhaps, those words should be written on the eighty-something year-old professor’s tombstone, rather than ‘power is the ultimate aphrodisiac’.