If she wins, its ‘war-without-end’ globally!



by Selvam Canagaratna

"There are two kinds of realists, those who manipulate facts and those who create them. The West requires nothing so much as men able to create their own reality."

– Henry Kissinger,

The Other America. 1962.

During the recent New Hampshire debate between the Democratic rivals in the November 2016 presidential race, Bernie Sanders and the ‘all-too-apparent’ front-runner Hillary Clinton, the latter’s ‘trump’ card to prove her ‘true progressive’ credentials was to announce: "I was very flattered when Henry Kissinger said I ran the State Department better than anybody had run it in a long time."

Hillary was visibly taken aback by Bernie’s instant, unusually vociferous, and prolonged, outburst: "Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive Secretaries of State in the modern history of this country," he shouted, adding, "I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is NOT my friend. I will NOT take advice from Henry Kissinger. And in fact, Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia, when the United States bombed that country, overthrew Prince Sihanouk, created the instability for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some three million innocent people, was one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. So count me in as somebody who will NOT be listening to Henry Kissinger."

Highly-acclaimed author and New York University History Professor Greg Grandin’s latest [and timely] book, Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman, shows how Nixon’s top foreign-policy adviser helped to revive a militarized version of American exceptionalism centred on an imperial presidency, "even as he was overseeing defeat in Vietnam and a disastrous, illegal war in Cambodia."

Grandin’s response to the New Hampshire debate was to ask readers to "consider some of Kissinger’s 10-point ‘achievements’ during his tenure as Richard Nixon’s top foreign policy-maker". Wrote Grandin:

"He (1) prolonged the Vietnam War for five pointless years; (2) illegally bombed Cambodia and Laos; (3) goaded Nixon to wiretap staffers and journalists; (4) bore responsibility for three genocides in Cambodia, East Timor, and Bangladesh; (5) urged Nixon to go after Daniel Ellsberg for having released the Pentagon Papers, which set off a chain of events that brought down the Nixon White House; (6) pumped up Pakistan’s ISI, and encouraged it to use political Islam to destabilize Afghanistan; (7) began the US’s arms-for-petrodollars dependency with Saudi Arabia and pre-revolutionary Iran; (8) accelerated needless civil wars in southern Africa that, in the name of supporting white supremacy, left millions dead; (9) supported coups and death squads throughout Latin America; and (10) ingratiated himself with the first-generation neocons, such as Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, who would take American militarism to its next calamitous level."

Grandin conceded that a full tally hadn’t been done as yet, "but a back-of-the-envelope count would attribute 3, maybe 4 million deaths to Kissinger’s actions, but that number probably undercounts his victims in southern Africa. Pull but one string from the current tangle of today’s multiple foreign policy crises, and odds are it will lead back to something Kissinger did between 1968 and 1977. Over-reliance on Saudi oil? That’s Kissinger. Blowback from the instrumental use of radical Islam to destabilize Soviet allies? Again, Kissinger. An unstable arms race in the Middle East? Check, Kissinger. Sunni-Shia rivalry? Yup, Kissinger. The impasse in Israel-Palestine? Kissinger. Radicalization of Iran?  ‘An act of folly’ was how veteran diplomat George Ball described Kissinger’s relationship to the Shah. Militarization of the Persian Gulf?  Kissinger, Kissinger, Kissinger.

"And yet Clinton continues to call his name, hoping his light bathes her in wisdom," noted Grandin.

Last year, Hillary reviewed Kissinger’s book World Order for The Washington Post, and said that "Kissinger is a friend" and admitted that she "relied on his counsel" and that he "checked in with me regularly, sharing astute observations about foreign leaders and sending me written reports on his travels." The "famous realist," she said, "sounds surprisingly idealistic." Kissinger’s vision is her vision: "just and liberal."

Hillary’s cozy relationship to Kissinger shouldn’t come as a surprise, wrote Grandin. "Both Clintons have excelled at exactly the kind of fudging of their public-private roles that Kissinger perfected. Kissinger, the private consultant, profited from the catastrophes he created as a public figure. Beyond his role in brokering NAFTA, in Latin America his consulting firm, Kissinger and Associates, was a key player in the orgy of privatization that took place during Clinton’s presidency,

enriching itself on the massive sell-off of public utilities and industries, a sell-off that, in many countries, was initiated by Kissinger-supported dictators and military regimes.

"The Clintons, too, both as private philanthropists and private investors, are neck deep in corruption in Latin America (especially in Columbia and Haiti) – corruption made worse, à la Kissinger, by the policies they put into place as public figures, including the free trade treaties and policies that Hillary helped push through, first as Senator and then as Secretary of State."

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK, chose to keep her focus on Kissinger’s leading role in a series of horrendous coups he engineered while being President Nixon’s Secretary of State.

She recalled that on September 11, 1973, Kissinger engineered the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende that brought to power the ruthless Augusto Pinochet in Chile. As some 5,000 people were being detained and tortured in Chile’s National Stadium, Kissinger told Pinochet: "You did a great service to the West in overthrowing Allende." The Pinochet dictatorship, which lasted for two decades, left over 3,000 people dead or missing, thousands tortured and hundreds of thousands driven into exile.

On August 9, 1974, President Nixon resigned in disgrace (before he was impeached over the Watergate scandal) and was succeeded as President the same day by Gerald Ford. Kissinger stayed on as Secretary of State. Medea Benjamin’s next focus is on Kissinger’s role in the brutal 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor, which took place just hours after Kissinger and President Ford had visited Indonesia.

"They [meaning the Kissinger-Ford duo] had given the Indonesian strongman the US green light – and the weapons – for an invasion that led to a 25-year occupation in which over 100,000 soldiers and civilians were killed or starved to death," wrote Medea, and noted that the report of the UN Commission on Human Rights had described the horrific consequences of that invasion: gang rape of female detainees following periods of prolonged sexual torture; placing women in tanks of water for prolonged periods, including submerging their heads, before being raped; the use of snakes to instill terror during sexual torture; and the mutilation of women’s sexual organs, including insertion of batteries into vaginas and burning nipples and genitals with cigarettes."

Medea recalled that the late Christopher Hitchens, in his book The Trial of Henry Kissinger, "skewered Kissinger for ordering or sanctioning the destruction of civilian populations, the assassination of ‘unfriendly’ politicians and the kidnapping and disappearance of soldiers, journalists and clerics who got in his way.

"Kissinger should have the door shut in his face by every decent person and should be shamed, ostracized, and excluded," wrote Hitchens. "No more dinners in his honour; no more respectful audiences for his absurdly overpriced public appearances; no more smirking photographs with hostesses and celebrities; no more soliciting of his worthless opinions by sycophantic editors and producers."

Hitchens, said Medea helpfully, "could have added another category of people who shouldn’t solicit Kissinger’s dangerous opinions: presidential candidates!" – especially, we might add, the one K unquestionably considers "a realist able to create her own reality!"


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