Sunday, October 15, 2017

So ... What's With The Millennials? (Part 3)

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Baby Boomers vs. Millennials
TheEllenShow
Published on May 5, 2016
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Michael Savage on Idiot Millennials
GOP Debates
Published on Jun 13, 2015
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What Millennials Think About Politics
ReasonTV
Published on Aug 26, 2014
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The top 20 fears of Millennials reveal an astonishing decline in selfreliance and practical intelligence
by: Jhoanna Robinson
Friday, October 13, 2017
(Natural News) Researchers from Goldsmiths University in London found out that not being able to 
find a WiFi spot and forgetting passwords to different online log-in accounts are among the biggest fears of modern millennials.
If this sounds insane to you, baby boomer, imagine what your reaction will be when you find out that millennials are also afraid that the avocado they just opened will turn out to not be ripe, and that there will be a shortage of Prosecco. (Related: Millennials are totally unprepared for the realities of life, study finds.)
This is vastly different from the concerns of young people from 10 years ago; back in the now ancient 1997, individuals were worried about not finding “the one”, not being able to pay rent on time, and overexposing their photographs. People in 2017, however, are anxious about leaving their phones at home and having to buffer online shows for a long time.
Social media “likes” are also a big thing for today’s millennials – they say they spend an average of around five minutes just to edit a photo that they plan to post and that they won’t be happy until they get at least 44 likes.
The top 20 fears and anxieties – also known as “first world problems” – that millennials in 2017 have are:
  1. Having to wait in the house all day for a delivery because the delivery man did not specifically say what time he would arrive
  2. Forgetting log-in passwords
  3. Leaving your phone at home
  4. No free WiFi at the hotel
  5. The buffering sign when you are streaming something online
  6. Standing in public transport
  7. Running for the bus/train only to have the doors close on your face
  8. Forgetting your umbrella and then finding out it’s raining
  9. Having to get out of bed to turn off the lights
  10. Finding an empty bottle in the fridge that was put there by a lazy roommate
  11. Being unable to find the TV remote just as your favorite show is starting
  12. Being “seen-zoned”: when a friend sees your message but doesn’t bother to reply
  13. Having to put on pants just to open the door
  14. When an avocado isn’t ripe enough
  15. Not having enough hangers that you reach the point where you pile your clothes on one hanger
  16. Running out of toilet paper
  17. When restaurant crew people don’t bring condiments with your food and you have to ask them for some
  18. Your laptop is low on battery but your charger is in another room
  19. Realizing the milk has run out after boiling the kettle
  20. Sat Nav re-routing

Compare this to the top problems of people in the 1990s, which include: 1) finding “the one”; 2) not earning enough to pay the bills; 3) not having enough money to go on a holiday; 4) saving for your first home; and 5) overexposing your photographs.
The survey results show that two-thirds of the country describe their work and social lives as extremely busy, and attribute it to the fact that there are more things to worry about now than 10 years ago. This view is agreed on by three in five people who are over the age of 50, who think 20-year-olds today are so much busier than when they themselves were of that age – probably due to having a fuller work schedule and maintaining a social media life.
What millennials of today fixate on: low-fat avocados, for instance
To cater to a rising breed of health-conscious millennials, various food companies have tried to incorporate the concept of “organic”, “GMO-free”, “all-natural”, among others, to every food item that they release.
Spanish fruit company Eurobanan’s Isla Bonita is jumping in on the bandwagon. They are putting in the market a brand-new product they call “Avocado Light”– a low-fat, low-calorie version of the normal avocado that has 30 percent less fat than most avocados that you find in your regular grocery stores.
The avocado is “naturally grown” and was discovered after experimenting with 32 varieties all over the world, Isla Bonita says, with the Spanish Heart Foundation’s Food Health Programme affirming its lower-calorie content claim. It will be launched this October in Madrid. Manufacturers are mum about whether they will market it to the United States.
Some nutritionists are skeptical about purging the fat out of the avocado, with BetterThanDieting.com creator and “Read It Before You Eat It” author Bonnie Taub-Dix saying, “The fat that is in avocado is actually healthy for your heart and has been shown to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. It also contains fiber that could lower cholesterol and help you feel full.”
For her part, health and nutrition expert and Nourish Snacks founder Joy Bauer said: “Being that fresh avocados are pretty much a perfect, creamy, dreamy, and delicious produce pick, I’m a tad skeptical about fussing with something that’s not broken. That being said, if this new product has all of the same nutrient attributes – without any suspect add-ons needed to reduce some of the fat – perhaps this will be a new way, for those looking to lose a few pounds, to enjoy avocado on the menu…in smoothies, on salads, and of course, hello guacamole!”
Read more stories such as this one at Mind.news
Sources include:
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Millennials should stop moaning. They've got more degrees and low rates
Stephen Koukoulas
Monday 4 April 2016
‘Perhaps it is a time-honoured fact that older generations are richer than the young,’ argues Stephen Koukoulas. Composite: The Guardian
Generation Y is feeling really hard done by. There is massive resentment about Generation X and the baby boomer generation and the free university education they enjoyed, the remarkably low house prices they paid and the generous tax treatment of superannuation the oldies now enjoy.
The angst of the millennials is understandable, to some extent, but it reflects a lack of awareness of some of the issues Gen X and the baby boomers dealt with when they were young. It is fair to say that young generations through time always seem to be doing it tough relative to older generations. I would hazard a guess that when today’s Gen Y turn 50, 60 and 70, they will have a living standard that will exceed today’s Gen X and baby boomers and the youth in 2050 will feel aggrieved.
Millennials would be wise to be a little more reflective whenever they snipe about how unfair life is.
Let’s think back to the 1970s and first half of the 80s, when today’s baby boomers and older Gen Xers were in their 20s and 30s.
Back then, only one-third of the population finished high school. Two-thirds of people were under-educated and therefore skewed towards semi- or low-skilled professions.
Today, more than three-quarters of young people, including today’s Gen Y, have finished high school. They are reaping the financial and other benefits that better education unleashes.
It is a similar issue with university attainment. While a university education may well have been free in the old days, only 3% of the population actually got a university degree in the 70s and a ticket to higher incomes. Today, about 15% of young people get a university education. Sure they have to pay for it, but the trade-off between no tertiary education and a low-skilled job versus a small fee and wonderful career opportunities is one that is easily calculated.
Gen X and the baby boomers, whether they left school early as most did, or went to university as a few did, entered a workforce that, with a few temporary exceptions, had an unemployment rate above 6.5% and was sometimes as high as 10%.
Gen Y see an unemployment rate not much higher than 6%. It has been 13 years since the rate has been above 6.5% and there is a simple correlation between a low jobless rate and the ease of getting a job.
That greater educational attainment – helped by Gen X and baby boomers voting for more university places – could also be why Gen Y are reasonably articulate in venting their anger.
While house prices today are high, it is possible for any Gen X person to go to a financial institution, get a loan and pay a staggeringly low interest rate as they buy their first house.
Those Gen Xers and the baby boomers who took the risk of buying a “cheap” house in the 70s and early 80s were confronted with interest rates that averaged 13% and peaked at 17% in the late 80s. If any Gen Y has ever put that sort of interest rate into their mortgage calculators, they might choke on their skinny soy lattes.
It is important to also recall that in the cloistered banking sector of 30 to 40 years ago, customer loyalty to a bank was important in getting a loan. If you were a Bank of New South Wales customer, it was difficult if not impossible to get a loan with a different bank. Or if you did, they would only lend you about 80% of what you wanted at the mortgage rate (remember, double digits) and the other 20% would be a “cocktail” loan with a personal loan type interest rate. There was minimal competition so it was a take it or leave it offer from the bank.
Research by the Reserve Bank of Australia shows that interest rates and not house prices are the most important determinant of servicing a mortgage debt. At the moment, the average mortgage repayment is a smaller proportion of income than the long-run average. Servicing a big mortgage on an expensive dwelling with low interest rates today is about as easy, if not easier, than managing a smallish loan on a cheap house with very high interest rates in the 70s and 80s.
Perhaps it is a time-honoured fact that older generations are richer than the young. After all, they have had many years to accumulate savings and wealth and young people haven’t.
It is also important to be frank and acknowledge that it is always hard to buy a house. It was in the 70s, in the 80s, 90s and it still is. It requires a huge savings effort and a bit of time with baked beans on toast and glamour-free holidays to get your foot in the door.
And do Gen Y really want zero university fees but fewer university places? Do they really want much lower house prices but 13%+ on their loan?
Moderate university debt is the price the population pays for greater access to university. Anyone who has been in the paid workforce since 1991, including every Gen Y, has been accruing superannuation savings, while many baby boomers had zero superannuation for the first 10 or 20 years of their working lives.
Young people today are facing significant financial challenges, but this is not a new story. Progressive policy makers have, over the past four decades, looked at sustainable ways for the population to have the best possible access to education, housing and retirement savings. Everyone, young and old, has benefited from these policies and it is vital that policy settings do not hinder progress in these areas.
Gen Y commentator Osman Faruqi responded to this article on his blog, and you can read “Choke on my soy flat white, buddy” here. Stephen Koukoulas responded to Faruqi’s assertions on his blog, and you can read “Why Osman Faruqi is wrong” here.
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Millennials at work: five stereotypes - and why they are (mostly) wrong
Generation Y has been labelled a bunch of lazy job-hoppers who expect everything on a plate. The truth is very different
Aisha Gani @aishagani
Tuesday 15 March 2016
Millennials will make up half of the global workforce by 2050. Although generalisations are not helpful, broadly speaking members of this generation, born between 1980 and 1994 and also known as Generation Y, are bound together by the fact they have come of age during a severe financial crisis, have been both the pioneers and guinea pigs of technological change, and are more plugged into a global network than their predecessors.
Now they’re in the workforce, it should be no surprise that they are working differently too. But often those differences are reduced to lazy stereotypes. So what are the myths about millennial workers, and how true are they?
1. Millennials set the bar too high because of a sense of entitlement
“The millennials I know are not willing to settle for mediocre careers – they’re working hard to find work that they are passionate about, even if it means doing a boring low-paid job on the side,” said Sofia Niazi, 29, over a coffee in a small bookshop near Waterloo, London.
Niazi, who is highly qualified with multiple degrees, saw getting a teaching qualification as a pragmatic decision. “For Generation Y, the generation who have lived on precarious zero-hours contracts and are confronting impossibly high rents, there is a lot more insecurity and anxiety,” she said.
As well as working full-time as a teacher, Niazi is a freelance illustrator and co-founder and editor of OOMK, a small, alternative magazine.
She says the fact that work doesn’t pay as well as it used to and no longer guarantees much in the way of security means millennials feel it should at least be fulfilling or it simply isn’t worth it.
“Before, if you were slaving away at a job you didn’t enjoy, at least you could rest assured that you were paying off a mortgage and that eventually there would be some return on your hard work,” she said.
“When you know all the money you earn is not going to guarantee you any security in later life then I think you are less willing to do an unsatisfying job. I think that’s why the idea of ‘playbour’ [work that feels like leisure] is quite important for Generation Y.”
Here then is the paradox of the way work is viewed by many in this generation: they do not want to settle for an unsatisfying job that will barely allow them to get by but, at the same time, they have no choice but to take an unsatisfying job so they can afford to pursue their passion.
It is this desire to match personal values with work that marks out Generation Y, according to Peter Fleming, professor of business and society at Cass Business School in London. “There’s an existential element that is quite prominent in the way Gen Y chooses to work who say: ‘I’m not willing to give up most of my life for this because I’m a person, a human being that wants to be happy.’”
2. Millennials are lazy
When Joel Stein, an American journalist and a member of Gen X, penned his Me Me Me Generation (subscription required) column in Time magazine, he caused a stir. He wrote: “Millennials got so many participation trophies growing up that a recent study showed that 40% believe they should be promoted every two years, regardless of performance.”
Millennials naturally see things slightly differently. Presenteeism doesn’t make sense to people used to working on the move. Why be anchored to your desk for eight hours when you can reply to those emails and start drafting notes during your commute into work, or even in a cafe? That’s not laziness, that’s just working smarter, as millennials may see it.
“I’ve worked 60 hours per week in insane jobs to scrape money together to live in London,” said Annaliisa Asveit, a former office worker turned musician and sheep-cheese seller. “I know what hard work means.”
Yet millennials themselves hold a more negative view of their generation than Generation Xers, baby boomers or other age groups do of their own peer group, according to research by Pew Research Center, the US thinktank. In a poll, 59% of 18- to 34-year-olds described their generation as self-absorbed, 49% said they were wasteful, and 43% described their generation as greedy. On top of this, only 36% of millennials see themselves as hardworking and 24% see themselves as responsible.
This may say more about the problematic nature of the label “millennial” than anything else. As Leigh Buchanan, editor-at-large at Inc magazine, says: “One of the characteristics of millennials, besides the fact that they are masters of digital communication, is that they are primed to do well by doing good. Almost 70% say that giving back and being civically engaged are their highest priorities.”
About half of millennials globally have shunned work, and even potential employers, that conflict with their beliefs, according to Deloitte’s millennial survey. This suggests millennials don’t have a problem with standing their ground when asked to do something that goes against their values.
3. Millennials work to live rather than live to work
As a student, Ann-Victoire Meillant co-wrote From Millennials with Love, a collection of experiences of her peers in the workplace. “What we found in our research and from contributors is that we didn’t like the phrase work/life balance, but instead were talking about work/life integration.”
“I love what I do. If my client calls me at 10 o’clock in the evening, maybe it’ll bother me if it’s every day, but if it’s once in a while, I’m super happy that I’m able to help with something important to them,” said Meillant, a human resources consultant working in Paris.
For Mihalis Monemvasiotis, 29, work life, creative ambitions and social life are intertwined.
“Finish working at five? How can you finish work at five?” asked the young filmmaker, bemused as he sat back in his chair sipping his coffee in a central London cafe. “Some people are just waking up at 5pm – I have to Skype people in New York at that time, and stay up late waiting for people to wake up in Tokyo.”
Monemvasiotis, who is originally from Greece but lives in London, has blended his work and social lives. He is co-founder of a production company, Pied Piper Pictures, and has also founded Eleven Campaign, a non-profit organisation using football to aid social cohesion – and is able to do most of his work at home equipped with only a phone and laptop.
Sometimes he finishes for the day at 9pm; other times it’s midnight. “In order to have jobs, you have to chase them. Freelance is good money when it comes, but I’ve invested all my savings and time in the organisation and am living month to month,” Monemvasiotis said.
4. Millennials are compulsive job-hoppers
Just as millennials enter the workforce in greater numbers, there is a stack of literature characterising them as job-hopping, needy, deluded narcissists. Books such as Generation Me by Jean Twenge and 
Not Everyone Gets a Trophy by Bruce Tulgan suggest that millennials are the worst possible employees.
But while it is true many may have one foot out the door – and according to a Deloitte survey two of every three millennials hope to move on from their current employer by 2020 – young people moving on isn’t exceptional to Generation Y. 
Figures on job tenure for Americans in their 20s today are almost exactly the same as they were in the 1980s. Job-hopping, it appears, is a common feature of being a young worker and not specific to this particular crop.
Different managers deal with Generation Y in starkly contrasting ways, says Prof Susan Murphy, who specialises in leader development at the University of Edinburgh business school.
“Half of managers will say, ‘I really like that millennials demand a different kind of work life’,” said Murphy. “There’s another group who talk old-person style, who think: ‘Those young whippersnappers, I put in tonnes of hours, I can’t understand why they don’t put in tonnes of hours.’”
Tanya de Grunwald, the founder of careers website 
Graduate Fog  and author of How to Get a Graduate Job Now, said attitudes about job loyalty were formed early in a millennial’s career. “I’ve noticed two distinct types emerge,” she said. “If they find a good job fast after graduation, and they feel valued and appreciated in that role, they will typically stay for a long time. They will become institutionalised fairly quickly and be keen to progress within their current organisation, rather than seeking roles externally.
“I’ve noticed that graduates whose career gets off to a bumpier start – say with a string of internships, temp work or freelance work – tend to develop a tougher, more casual attitude towards their employer, and be more likely to switch jobs more regularly,” she said.
Speaking under the glass towers of Canary Wharf, Patrice Thompson, 23, an LSE graduate and a sales support associate in the City, said going to university just after the financial crisis showed her peers that loyalty didn’t always pay off – people who had worked for a company for decades were made redundant.
“I think, as millennials, we’re cautious. This job might not be for ever and we need to develop ourselves, grow, and pursue self-employment so we’re not just reliant on one particular institution.”
This feeling of lack of certainty could make them anxious, said Thompson, who gave a TED talk on intergenerational harmony in the workplace. “They are constantly connected and can see see what everyone else is doing. What’s Kim Kardashian doing? What’s Justin Bieber doing? What’s Beyoncé doing? We’re constantly comparing ourselves with our peers, family members.”
Patrice Thompson. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian
The characterisation of Generation Y as needy employees who crave constant positive feedback may not be far from the truth, however. Of those millennials who said they planned to leave their company in the next two years, 71% said it was because their ”leadership skills were not being fully developed”.
5. Millennials have little time for experienced colleagues
Other things millennials value in the workplace are “reverse mentoring” – the opportunity to teach skills to older colleagues as well as learn from them – and more time spent discussing new ways of working, mentoring and developing leadership skills.
It is this that Chris Gale, 21, has found so enjoyable about his job as a public sector auditor at Grant Thornton, the financial consultants.
He is able to offer social media coaching to older colleagues, which he sees as valuable experience: “I mean for someone my age it’s rare to be in a position where I’m sat down with a senior partner showing them how to develop their online profile, and I just don’t think that kind of role reversal would have happened a few years ago.”
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Also See:

So ... What's With The Millennials?

(Part 1)
10 August 2017
https://arcticcompass.blogspot.ca/2017/08/so-whats-with-millennials.html
and

(Part 2)
21 August 2017
and

Older White Generation Voted Trump!

12 November 2017
and

The Me-Generation is Growing Up!

13 June 2016
and

The Precarious World of Teenagers!

02 April 2009
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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Should Henry Kissinger Be Tried For Crimes Against Humanity?

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Trump & Kissinger Meet - 10/10/2017
Published on Oct 10, 2017
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Part 1
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Henry A. Kissinger
Written by: The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica
Last updated: 7-27-2017
Henry A. Kissinger, in full Henry Alfred Kissinger (born May 27, 1923, Fürth, Germany), American political scientist, who, as adviser for national security affairs and secretary of state, was a major influence in the shaping of foreign policy from 1969 to 1976 under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. In 1973 he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace with Le Duc Tho of North Vietnam for their efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the Vietnam War.
Kissinger’s family immigrated to the United States in 1938 to escape the Nazi persecution of Jews. He became a naturalized citizen in 1943. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and in the postwar U.S. military government of Germany. After leaving the service, he entered Harvard University, where he received a B.A. (1950) and a Ph.D. (1954). In 1954 he joined the faculty as an instructor, becoming professor of government in 1962 and director of the Defense Studies Program from 1959 to 1969. He also served as a consultant on security matters to various U.S. agencies from 1955 to 1968, spanning the administrations of Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Kissinger’s Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy (1957) established him as an authority on U.S. strategic policy. He opposed Secretary of State John Foster Dulles’s policy of planning nuclear “massive retaliation” to Soviet attack, advocating instead a “flexible response” combining the use of tactical nuclear weapons and conventional forces, as well as the development of weapons technology in accordance with strategic requirements. That book and The Necessity for Choice (1960), in which Kissinger limited his concept of flexible response to conventional forces and warned of a “missile gap” between the Soviet Union and the United States, had a significant impact on the activities of the Kennedy administration.
Kissinger’s reputation as a political scientist led to his role as an adviser to New York governor and Republican presidential aspirant Nelson Rockefeller. In December 1968 Kissinger was appointed by President Nixon as assistant for national security affairs. He eventually came to serve as head of the National Security Council (1969–75) and as secretary of state (September 1973–January 20, 1977).
Kissinger soon emerged as an influential figure in the Nixon administration. His major diplomatic achievements involved China, the Soviet Union, Vietnam, and the Middle East. He developed a policy of warmer U.S. relations with the Soviet Union, détente, which led to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) in 1969. He established the pro-Pakistan policy in the India-Pakistan war of late 1971, helped negotiate the SALT I arms agreement with the Soviet Union (signed 1972), and developed a rapprochement between the United States and the People’s Republic of China (1972), the first official U.S. contact with that nation since the Chinese Communists had come to power.
Although he originally advocated a hard-line policy in Vietnam and helped engineer the U.S. bombing of Cambodia (1969–70), Kissinger later played a major role in Nixon’s Vietnamization policy—the disengagement of U.S. troops from South Vietnam and their replacement by South Vietnamese forces. On January 23, 1973, after months of negotiations with the North Vietnamese government in Paris, he initialed a cease-fire agreement that both provided for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and outlined the machinery for a permanent peace settlement between the two Vietnams. For this apparent resolution of the Vietnam conflict, Kissinger shared the 1973 Nobel Prize for Peace with the North Vietnamese negotiator, Le Duc Tho (who refused the honour).
After the Arab-Israeli War of 1973 (see Yom Kippur War), Kissinger used what came to be called shuttle diplomacy in disengaging the opposing armies and promoting a truce between the belligerents. He was responsible for the resumption of diplomatic relations between Egypt and the United States, severed since 1967. He remained in office after Nixon’s resignation in 1974, directing the conduct of foreign affairs under President Ford. After leaving office in 1977, Kissinger became an international consultant, writer, and lecturer. In 1983 President Ronald W. Reagan appointed him to head a national commission on Central America. In the 1980s he also served on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and the Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy. Kissinger’s later books include American Foreign Policy (1969), The White House Years (1979), For the Record (1981), Years of Upheaval (1982), Diplomacy (1994), Years of Renewal (1999), Does America Need a Foreign Policy?: Toward a Diplomacy for the 21st Century (2001), Ending the Vietnam War: A History of America’s Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War (2003), Crisis: The Anatomy of Two Major Foreign Policy Crises (2003), On China (2011), and World Order (2014).
Kissinger was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1977), the United States’ highest civilian honour, and the Medal of Liberty (1986), which was given to 10 of America’s most important foreign-born leaders.
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The following book review gives some insight on Kissinger.
World Order by Henry Kissinger – review
No clash of civilisations or end of history – this argument for a balance of power is the summation of Kissinger's thinking
Rana Mitter
Wednesday, 1 October 2014
Kissinger argues that history is central to societies’ percep­tions of themselves. Photograph: Eric Thayer/Getty Images
Western politicians who last year advocated bombing Syria now ask whether Damascus should be treated as a tacit ally against Islamic State. John Kerry talks of Iran as a possible partner in that war, while David Cameron meets the country's president in New York. The quote of the summer from the president of the United States was that "we don't have a strategy" on how to prevent a conflagration in the Middle East. Yet as old enmities and alliances dissolve and re‑form at high speed, we are having to develop one, and fast.
One person who has never lacked a strategy is the former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, now 91. However, his thoughtful new book aims not so much to advocate specific policies as to portray the shape of the world over the past 2000 years or so, with reflections on where it will go in the next 50.
The book circles much of the globe, covering India, Europe, China and the Middle East. Four specific conceptions of "order" attract most of his attention: the European system, specifically its Westphalian model of sovereign states with equal status within the system; an Islamic system based on a wider idea of an ummah, or community; a Chinese system based on traditional ideas of the Middle Kingdom as a great regional power; and the American order, finding a new purpose a century ago under Woodrow Wilson, eventually dominant across the globe, and now under unprecedented pressure.
This may sound like Samuel Huntington's idea of the "clash of civilisations", but actually it is more like a bracing mixture of Metternichian pragmatism and – more unexpectedly – Edward Said's critique of "Orientalism". Kissinger notes that when he told Chinese premier Zhou Enlai that China seemed mysterious, Zhou pointed out that China was not at all mysterious to 900 million of his compatriots. "In our time the quest for world order will require relating the perceptions of societies whose realities have largely been self-contained," Kissinger argues. In other words, cultural (a preferable term to civilisational) aspects shape societies' worldviews, but culture is not an impermeable barrier to a wider model of order that can bring different regimes together. In that sense, this is a distinctly anti-Huntingtonian book in that it recognises the need to engage with civilisations rather than asserting the inevitability of their clashing; it also diverges from 
Francis Fukuyama's famous thesis about the "end of history" by arguing strongly that history and identity are central to societies' perceptions of themselves today. Kissinger also takes on critics who accuse him of stressing realism above all other considerations, a characterisation he regards as simplistic: "idealists do not have a monopoly on moral values; realists must recognise that ideals are also part of reality."
The book draws on a wide range of historical examples to make points about present-day issues. Unsurprisingly, Kissinger spends considerable time on the position of China in the international order, noting its central place in Asia for all but the past century or two. He characterises China's historical role in east Asia as "conceptual", whereas that of the US is "pragmatic", the former shaped by a long history of external attacks on its borders. Certainly the historical basis to Chinese behaviour has emerged ever more clearly in the past few years, as leaders in Beijing have expressed a desire for a prominent global influence based on longstanding ideas of China as a great power. However, there is plenty of pragmatism in Chinese behaviour, too. Today, Beijing feels that Washington is weak and that its commitment to the region is hedged; as a result, China and Japan's leaders each now claim that the other's military ambitions in the region are a reason to stockpile arms.
Iraq 2003
Kissinger uses his "adaptive cultural" thesis to criticise the nation-building project of George W Bush in Iraq. He notes that he was supportive of the original invasion of Iraq 2003 in, but expresses scepticism about the value of Bush's vision, which "proved beyond what the American public would support and what Iraqi society would accommodate". In the end, withdrawal from Iraq resembled "Vietnamisation" in 1973-5, with equally dispiriting results. Since the book went to press, the collapse of the al-Maliki government has left Iraq on the brink of dissolution and the new government under Haider al-Abadi is dependent on the success of western air strikes to consolidate power.
The author's own orchestration of the opening of relations with China gives an extra piquancy to his views on Iran: if the US can engage with one isolated regional superpower, why not another? Yet although he gives a detailed and nuanced account of Iran's sense of its own imperial heritage over the centuries, he argues unequivocally that Tehran today is not Beijing in 1972. The China of the cultural revolution was vulnerable to the USSR and therefore needed to befriend the US to balance its enemies: "No such incentive is self-evident in Iranian-western relations." Perhaps, but the kaleidoscopic changes of this summer may have changed the situation with regard to Iran, too, as Islamic State in Iraq and Levant is a threat to Tehran as well as to the west. Furthermore, the Iranian regime, however nasty it is, has the capacity for change (as the election of President Rouhani makes clear), and also shows no signs of collapsing (unlike Syria or Iraq). Realism might mean seizing the opportunity for a reorientation in the region that was not evident even a short while ago.
The book is described as "the summation of Henry Kissinger's thinking about history, strategy and statecraft". What, then, is the worldview that emerges from these pages? Readers of this newspaper may associate Kissinger with the exercise of American power to impose outcomes preferred by Washington, a view expressed forcefully in Christopher Hitchens's polemic The Trial of Henry Kissinger (2001). However, the nature of American power as a whole has become much clearer in the past half century, revealing different strengths and flaws as regards international intervention. Lyndon Johnson and George W Bush were perhaps the presidents most unsuited to compromise with local realities in the developing countries (in Vietnam and Iraq respectively), and Ronald Reagan the most willing to confront the USSR in the emergence of the "new cold war" of the early 1980s. Over the same sweep of time, Truman and Acheson, Nixon and Kissinger, and George W Bush and James Baker now seem more considered and pragmatic practitioners.
That changing perspective explains why the book accords with liberal sensitivities in a way that would have seemed unlikely in the 1970s. The view that an international order cannot be created simply in a monochrome western image would find little resistance from the left. There is a wistfulness too for an era when the compelling power of governments and individuals could change the path of international relations (something harder to do in an era of flighty capital and transnational corporations), and a reminder that if broadly liberal regimes do not create order, there are plenty of illiberal ones that will.
The book also enables us to assess Kissinger's own era in government in historical perspective. Few would now dispute the wisdom of ending China's isolation from the "family of nations". He reminds us of the importance of 1972-3, Nixon's high point in foreign policy (Kissinger was national security adviser, before becoming secretary of state): as well as the opening to China, this year saw the end of the American troop presence in Vietnam, detente in eastern Europe, and peace agreements in the Middle East (after an Arab-Israeli war that could have led to major conflagration). There were of course darker aspects of that era, including the bombing of North Vietnamese strongholds in Cambodia that worsened a domestic crisis and allowed the murderous Khmer Rouge to come to power, and the overthrow of the Allende government in Chile. Yet when we look back at the 1970s as an era of crisis both domestic and international, it is remarkable how much of the international politics of that decade has come out on the positive side of the ledger and how a wider crisis was averted. Kissinger notes that "nuclear weapons must not be permitted to turn into conventional arms". This statement seems unexceptionable until one recalls that the 1964 Republican candidate for US president was Barry Goldwater, who advocated using atomic bombs in Vietnam. In contrast, it was the Nixon and Ford administrations that negotiated the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks talks in 1969-72 that reduced nuclear tensions in Europe.
Kissinger was a key shaper of a world order that remained stable for a quarter century or more until our own post-cold war era. This urgently written book is a fine account of world order in the longue duree, and also a memorandum to future generations of policymakers that the next half-century will be no easier to manage than the most recent one.
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Part 2

Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Kissinger - His Crimes Against Humanity
MLordandGod
Published on Jul 19, 2014
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Christopher Hitchens - Discussing the crimes of Henry Kissinger
James V
Published on Aug 31, 2013
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Henry Kissinger: ‘Terrorists’ Just ‘People Who Reject the New World Order’
by Edward Morgan
January 27, 2017
Kissinger’s definition of terrorism might surprise you.
Then again, it might be exactly what you thought it would be.
The clip below is from a 2007 AKBank convention in Instanbul, Turkey held right before the annual Bilderberg Meeting which took place there that same year. In it, former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, (as well as member of the Bilderberg Group, Council on Foreign Relations,  Trilateral Commission, and Bohemian Grove among others) Henry Kissinger can be seen giving the following speech:
“In the Middle East, we live in a different world. The nations do not represent historic entities in the same sense that European nations did. Turkey of course does, and Iran in a considerable extent does. But in the region in between, the borders were drawn by the victors of World War I on the basis largely of what would facilitate their influence. So therefore, the identities of these countries, and of their borders, can be challenged more easily.”
“What we in America call terrorists are really groups of people that reject the international system, and they’re trying to regroup it to a radical Islamic fundamentalists kind.”
Clearly Kissinger is saying that, because many Middle Eastern countries do not have what appears to be in his view the ‘historical significance’ of older countries, they are wide open for attack, regime change and re-ordering.
Only a few years later, we have witnessed the Western-backed Arab Spring, which has turned over numerous North African and Middle Eastern nations. After nearly two years of semi-covertly arming al Qaeda fighters in Syria, most recently Western support and provision of arms for Syrian Rebels (who admittedly used their own chemical weapons) are becoming public knowledge now that a mythical ‘red line’ has supposedly been crossed by Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
Remember how America ‘freed’ Egypt and Libya? Well Syria is wash, rinse, repeat.
On top of that, Kissinger is also saying the word “terrorist” is really someone who would reject the “international system” — a new world order. Part of that order appears to be American empire building and the spreading of our nation’s brand of “democracy” throughout the rest of the world…whether they like it or not.
How do you think someone with Kissinger’s perspective would see American patriots who reject the United Nations or central banking system? Surely, he sees them as “terrorists” as well. Further, if the State held similar views and used the “terrorist” label — which is used in this country like screaming “fire!” in a theater to circumvent the Constitution on a daily basis — such resistors to the new world order would be instantly criminalized, marginalized and marked for imprisonment or death.
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Was Henry Kissinger a War Criminal? Christopher Hitchens on the Controversy (2001)
The Film Archives
Published on Jun 2, 2013
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How Henry Kissinger Conspired Against a Sitting President
Watch out, Donald Trump: This could happen to you, too.
By Zach Dorfman
January 06, 2017
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who has counseled numerous American presidents and statesmen since he left government in early 1977, is back in the halls of power once again. Since the election, he’s positioned himself close to Donald Trump, advising the president-elect on key appointments and praising him in public. And Kissinger, who has maintained close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, is now positioning himself as an intermediary between the Kremlin and the incoming Trump administration.
But previously undisclosed documents that I discovered while poring through the archives at Stanford’s Hoover Institution should give us serious pause about Kissinger’s resurgence. The storied former diplomat is not above using his considerable foreign policy credibility to further his private objectives, even to the detriment of the U.S. national interest. Indeed, on at least one occasion since he left public office, Kissinger used his influence with foreign leaders—in this case, the Pinochet regime in Chile—to undermine his domestic political opponents, including a sitting president of the United States.
It all began on September 21, 1976, when, during the final months of the Gerald Ford administration and Kissinger’s tenure as secretary of state, Chilean President Augusto Pinochet ordered the assassination of Orlando Letelier, a prominent Chilean dissident and former ambassador to the United States who was then working at a think tank in Washington, D.C. At 9:30 a.m. on that drizzly Tuesday, a group of Cuban anti-communist extremists allied with Pinochet’s intelligence services detonated a remote-control bomb placed on the underside of Letelier’s Chevrolet while it rounded Sheridan Circle—a 20-minute walk from the White House. Letelier and his American co-worker, Ronnie Moffit, were killed in the explosion. The first known act of state-sponsored terrorism ever to take place in the American capital, the assassination and its aftermath were national front-page news for years. Investigators and prosecutors tried to crack a case that took them across three continents, all while facing significant pushback from elements within the U.S. government who preferred not to rattle Cold War alliances.
In August 1978, after a long and tortuous investigation, U.S. federal prosecutors indicted three Chilean intelligence agents for masterminding the assassination, including the former head of Pinochet’s intelligence services, Manuel Contreras, and his director of operations, Pedro Espinoza. In a shocking repudiation of a major American ally in the hemispheric battle against communism, President Jimmy Carter’s administration formally requested that Chile extradite the three men to the U.S. to stand trial.
In a six-page memo that he cabled back to Chile, Foreign Minister Cubillo detailed his October 3, 1979 meeting with Henry Kissinger. (Click to see a translation.) New Window
By 1979, the Letelier case threatened to sour relations between the U.S. and the Pinochet government. On October 1, 1979, the Chilean Supreme Court, intimidated by members of the Chilean military (and a bombing campaign targeting the judiciary), rejected the U.S. government’s extradition request. Carter equivocated about how hard of a line to take with Chile in response. U.S. liberals wanted the president to break diplomatic relations entirely; staunch anti-communists were far more forbearing toward Pinochet, who had become president after a coup that Kissinger had helped orchestrate as national security adviser, overthrowing the democratically elected Marxist Salvador Allende.
That was when Kissinger, then a private citizen, decided to weigh in. Two days after the Chilean high court rejected the U.S. demand for extradition, Kissinger hosted Chilean Foreign Minister Hernan Cubillos at his longtime Manhattan residence, the River Club.
Over a 70-minute-long breakfast, the two men embarked on a wide-ranging discussion, all detailed in an extraordinary memo Cubillos wrote after the meeting and that I discovered in Cubillos’ personal papers at the Hoover Institute archives. According to the record, which the foreign minister sent as a high-level secret diplomatic cable back to Chile, they discussed the recent election of Pope John Paul II (Kissinger was “not completely convinced he will be good for humanity”); Carter’s recent speech on Cuba (which Kissinger called “a disaster”); and Kissinger’s forthcoming memoirs (which the former secretary of state said would “cause great discomfort among liberal circles”). Kissinger denigrated certain prominent State Department officials as “stupid” and “fanatical,” and offered Cubillos advice on whom to lobby in D.C. and New York to improve U.S.-Chilean relations. The Carter administration’s treatment of the Pinochet regime was “a disgrace,” he said. (Kissinger did not respond to requests for comment.)
According to Cubillos’ recounting, the two men also discussed the Letelier case extensively. First, Kissinger told Cubillos he believed that the Chileans made the “correct” decision in rejecting the U.S. government’s extradition request. And then, Kissinger went on to advise the Pinochet regime on how to get what he wanted from Carter. You have to be tough, he told Cubillos—in fact, you must treat the Carter administration “with brutality.” This, Kissinger said, “is the only language they understand.” This was no idle slip of the tongue; according to Cubillos, Kissinger “repeated this same idea several times during the conversation.”
Kissinger then said that Chile would not be able to improve its relations with the U.S. until after the 1980 election, when he believed that the Republican Party (more specifically either Gerald Ford or John Connally) would win the presidency. Until a friendlier regime took power in Washington, Kissinger advised, Chile needed to hold firm.
As the meeting ended, Cubillos invited Kissinger to visit Chile, and Kissinger volunteered to continue the conversation through the Chilean ambassador in Washington. All in all, Cubillos wrote, his meeting with Kissinger was a “fruitful and interesting” one.
Indeed, after this fruitful meeting, Cubillos travelled to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York to meet with State Department officials, including Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, later that same day. In yet another memorandum I discovered at the Hoover Archives, Cubillos recounted the difficult conversations he had with different U.S. officials about the extradition case, some of whom chastised Cubillos harshly over Chile’s unwillingness to turn over the three officials. In the memo, sent back to Chile as a secret telegram, Cubillos noted how his conversation with Vance “confirms the positive assessment” Kissinger gave of Vance during their conversation that morning. (According to Cubillos, Vance even told him he would “try to reduce the pressure” over the case.)
In November 1979, the Carter administration announced that it would punish Chile for its intransigence by banning trade assistance to the country through the Export-Import Bank. This was a far weaker response than many had hoped for, given the seriousness of the crime, and the thoroughness of the obstruction on the part of the Chileans. For another decade, the Pinochet regime remained implacably opposed to extraditing those responsible for the killing. (When democracy returned to Chile in 1990, however, both Contreras and Espinoza were eventually given long jail sentences for their crimes.)
There are those—including me—who believe that Carter should have reacted more forcefully to Chile’s refusal to extradite those responsible for Letelier and Moffit’s murder. Extradition of the three Chileans, if it had been successful, would have provided a powerful deterrent to other state actors considering financing or sponsoring acts of terrorism in the United States, or those considering attacks on U.S. targets abroad. And it would have signaled the lengths to which the U.S. government was willing to go in order to bring terrorists to justice.
Still, there were and are those who believed the opposite. Kissinger might genuinely have believed that the Carter administration had committed a geostrategic error by conducting a thorough murder investigation into high-ranking military officials in a friendly anticommunist regime. And he might genuinely have believed that Chile’s complying with the request would further destabilize a crucial alliance; after all, one of the indicted co-conspirators, Contreras, had previously even served as a CIA informant. There were close, if covert, ties between the two countries.
But the breakfast with Cubillos was never as simple as an unofficial, frank conversation. Hanging over the whole discussion was the unspoken implication that Kissinger himself might soon regain his old job as secretary of state, where he would once again be in charge of shaping U.S. foreign policy towards Chile. Ford, whom Kissinger predicted (incorrectly) would win the presidency in 1980, had remained close to his former top diplomat. (In fact, at the 1980 Republican Convention, Kissinger led a team of Ford loyalists in negotiations with the Ronald Reagan camp. The deal, which would have brought Ford back as vice president in an unusual power-sharing arrangement, would have returned Kissinger to his position at state.)
By October 1979, Cubillos very likely believed that Kissinger was on the cusp of a comeback. And the Pinochet government also knew that relations would improve if a Republican were elected president. (Indeed, according to the American ambassador to Chile at the time, members of the Chilean military danced in the streets upon news of Reagan’s electoral victory. And in 1981, against the howls of liberals, Reagan lifted Carter’s trade restrictions. Pinochet remained president for nine more years.)
There is also no doubt that Kissinger, and the Republican Party more broadly, stood to benefit from the sort of Chilean intransigence that Kissinger urged on Cubillos. Greater cooperation by Chile in the case could have handed the Carter administration a major diplomatic victory during a period of great economic and political turbulence. In other words, whether or not Chile’s compliance with the extradition request was in our national interest, it was certainly not in Kissinger’s. And in his icy, amoral advice to the Chilean government, he definitively showed whose interests he was most concerned with.
Consider, too, how inappropriate, how borderline subversive, Kissinger’s counsel to Cubillos was. Not only did he laud Chile’s decision to stymie a murder trial related to a major act of international terrorism carried out in the U.S. capital, but the former secretary of state also actively encouraged the regime ostensibly responsible for that crime to take a hard line with the U.S. government, in order to further stonewall U.S. prosecutors—that is, the Justice Department.
To the best of my knowledge there has never, before now, been proof of Kissinger’s secret interference in U.S. politics after he left public service. The paper trail for Kissinger dries up; there are no more U.S. government documents subject to declassification. Indeed, we know very, very little about Kissinger’s political affairs after 1977. Since 1983, he has run an international consulting firm, Kissinger Associates, that has facilitated contacts between major corporations and a number of authoritarian regimes. During much of this time, he or other members of Kissinger Associates have sat on the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, a little-known civilian panel tasked with intelligence oversight duties where members have access to highly classified data.
What, then, has Kissinger been advising corporate clients or representatives of foreign governments behind closed doors since 1977? Has his counsel been in the best interests of the United States? At least in the case of Letelier and Moffit—in bringing to justice the perpetrators of one of the most audacious acts of terrorism ever conducted on American soil—the answer is a resounding, and disquieting, no. And if the Letelier case is part of a larger pattern, we should be extremely circumspect about Kissinger’s private intercession in our country’s public affairs today.
Zach Dorfman is senior fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. 
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Henry Kissinger - Good or Evil?
10 historians assess the controversial statesman’s legacy
By Politico Magazine
October 10, 2015
When Niall Ferguson’s Henry Kissinger, 1923 to 1968: The Idealist (excerpted here in Politico Magazine) came out last month, it sparked a new discussion about the controversial statesman’s role in shaping the history of the 20th century: Whether Henry Kissinger—for so long considered an iconic realist of our era—all this time has been, as Ferguson suggests, a misunderstood idealist. But the book also reinvigorated another, more timeless debate: Is Kissinger, idealist or not, worthy of the continued praise that gets heaped on him in certain Washington and international circles?
Politico Magazine decided to ask top historians and Kissinger experts to evaluate the statesman, his role in history and his legacy. Is he best characterized as America’s greatest statesman, capable of making smart sacrifices for the greater good? Or has he been a careless and callous leader, responsible for perpetuating war and great crimes against humanity to the detriment of U.S. national security? Is Kissinger simply a vastly overrated diplomat—no more original in his ideas than any other Cold War intellectual? And, ultimately, has he been a force for good—or for evil? Here’s what they had to say.
‘Henry Kissinger is one of the worst people to ever be a force for good.’
By Nicholas Thompson, editor of newyorker.com and author of The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan and the History of the Cold War
Henry Kissinger is one of the worst people to ever be a force for good. He manipulated colleagues and nations. He faked the beginning of a nuclear war in order to advance some perverse personal game theory. He callously perpetrated international crimes. But he was a man of ideas at the center of an American strategy that ultimately benefited the world in some grand sense. His China policy was one of America’s great Cold War achievements. He deserves to be honored and to be given a medal—but one with the image of a man who is scowling and holding a knife. Henry Kissinger was a success—a true, American success—but he can only be called an idealist if he can be called despicable too.
‘The best to be said for him was that he was creative in his diplomacy.’
By James Mann, author of About Face: A History of America’s Curious Relationship With China and resident scholar at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
The notion that Kissinger was fundamentally an idealist is, to me, utterly preposterous. Indeed, during his period in office he reveled in his realism.
The best to be said for him was that he was creative in his diplomacy, shaking up old patterns and relationships across the globe. Inside Washington he was also, along with Donald Rumsfeld, one of the two or three most skillful bureaucratic warriors of modern times; his most consistent trait was to amass as much power and control as possible in his own office and person. But his claims to brilliance often fell apart on closer scrutiny. (The China initiative, for example, began with Richard Nixon, not Kissinger—and Kissinger concealed for years some of the concessions he made in Beijing.) On the whole, he was and is vastly overrated as a statesman.
‘He was not particularly original or bold.’
By Mario Del Pero, professor of international history at Sciences Po and author of The Eccentric Realist: Henry Kissinger and the Shaping of American Foreign Policy
I think that Kissinger has been a quintessential 1950s U.S. Cold War intellectual. He was not particularly original or bold, once we scratch away from his writings the deliberately opaque and convoluted prose he often used, possibly to try to render more original thoughts and reflections that were in reality fairly conventional. He certainly loved to present (and represent) himself as the no-nonsense, realist thinker who could teach naïve and hyper-idealist America how to behave in the brutal arena of international politics. And post-1968 America loved, for a while, that kind of message, which appeared to offer the solution necessary to get out of Vietnam and finally abandon quixotic crusades in the name of democracy, modernization and development.
Was he a war criminal? I am afraid that by the standards some of his critics have applied to Kissinger numerous post-1945 U.S. statesmen could be accused of crimes against humanity (and that applies perhaps to the vast majority of modern great powers’ leaders). What the archival record has so far revealed is that Kissinger was often simplistic, binary and even uninformed during his tenure as national security adviser and secretary of state. His often broadcasted realism notwithstanding, he tended to adhere to a dogmatic, zero-sum-game of the international game. In short, he wasn’t a war criminal, he wasn’t a very deep or sophisticated thinker, he rarely challenged the intellectual vogues of the time (even because it would have meant to challenge those in power, something he always was—and still is—reluctant to do), and once in government he displayed a certain intellectual laziness vis-à-vis the intricacies and complexities of a world that he still tended to see in black-and-white.
‘Nowadays, we could use a much larger dose of Kissingerian realism in our discussions of foreign policy.’
By Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute and author of Kissinger: A Biography
I think it’s useful that Niall Ferguson has produced a well-researched revisionist perspective on Henry Kissinger. History benefits from layers and layers of new brush strokes. My own view (and it will be interesting to see if Niall reflects this in his second volume) is that when Kissinger comes to power he is more of a classic realist in his outlook. He focuses on an unsentimental assessment of national interests and is able to balance smartly relations with Russia and China. I think that approach was not perfectly suited to the impulses of the American public of that time, and it caused problems with both neo-conservatives and the left. But I believe that nowadays, we could use a much larger dose of Kissingerian realism in our discussions of foreign policy.
‘Kissinger’s policies were not only morally flawed but also disastrous as Cold War strategy.’
By Gary Bass, professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University and author of The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide
In at least one crucial part of the world, Kissinger’s legacy is fixed: In South Asia, Indians and Bangladeshis widely remember Kissinger as an unusually cruel and cold-hearted person. As they bitterly recall, he and Richard Nixon firmly supported Pakistan’s military dictatorship throughout its bloody crackdown in 1971 on what today is Bangladesh, sending some 10 million Bengali refugees fleeing into India. In one of the worst atrocities of the Cold War, Pakistan’s junta brushed aside the results of a democratic election, killed awful numbers of Bengalis and targeted the Hindu minority among the Bengalis. (Bangladesh is now the eight-largest country in the world, with a population larger than Russia or Japan, as well as a major Muslim country with considerable strategic importance in South Asia.) On the White House tapes, Kissinger sneered at Americans who “bleed” for “the dying Bengalis.”
Kissinger’s actions in 1971 were clouded by his own ignorance about South Asia, his emotional misjudgments and his stoking of Nixon’s racism toward Indians. Kissinger’s policies were not only morally flawed but also disastrous as Cold War strategy. As U.S. government officials presciently warned him, a Pakistani crackdown would result in a futile civil war with India sponsoring the Bengali guerrillas, creating the conditions for Soviet-backed India to rip Pakistan in two—a strategic defeat for the United States and a strategic victory for the Soviet Union. And don’t forget that Kissinger knowingly violated U.S. law in allowing secret arms transfers to Pakistan during the India-Pakistan war in December 1971. Despite warnings from White House staffers and State Department and Pentagon lawyers that such arms transfers were illegal, Nixon and Kissinger went ahead, with Kissinger saying that doing so was “against our law”—a scandal of a piece with an overall pattern of lawlessness that culminated with Watergate.
‘Henry Kissinger may be the most overrated public figure of our times.’
By David Greenberg, professor of history, journalism and media studies at Rutgers University and author of Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image
Henry Kissinger may be the most overrated public figure of our times. He is overrated, first, by some foreign policy jocks, who wrongly credit him with being the mastermind behind Nixon’s foreign policy achievements. In fact, Nixon drove his own foreign policy and very much wanted to open relations with China and achieve détente with the Soviet Union. Nixon was the grand strategist, Kissinger the tactician. (Those achievements, moreover, are counterbalanced by Nixon’s needless prolongation of the Vietnam War.)
Kissinger is overrated, second, by Washington society and the punditocracy, which treat him as some kind of great mind. In fact, most of his ideas have been fairly conventional. His ideas have never exerted great influence in the academic world, and in foreign policy he often just goes with the Republican flow, as when he counseled Bush to avoid withdrawals from Iraq, lest the public become addicted to them “like salted peanuts.” Yet he appears on Charlie Rose to discuss the World Cup.
Kissinger is overrated, finally, by his enemies on the hard left, who use shrill and absurdly inapt labels like “war criminal” because they don’t like his foreign policy decisions. Nixon and Kissinger deserve severe condemnation for many elements of their foreign policy, but to suggest that Kissinger is the equivalent of Hitler or Milosevic is to engage in juvenile sloganeering. Kissinger’s worst crime was apparently testifying falsely to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about his involvement in Watergate—specifically his authorization of illegal wiretaps of the phones of journalists and government officials. Watergate was the scandal of the century, and Kissinger’s key role in it should be what history will remember him for most.
‘Henry Kissinger’s record as a statesman is surely mixed.’
By Fredrik Logevall, Laurence D. Belfer professor of international affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School and author of Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam
Henry Kissinger’s record as a statesman is surely mixed. As national security adviser and then secretary of state he understood the need to adapt U.S. foreign policy to a more even distribution of global power, and he shared with his boss Richard Nixon an ability to think in broad conceptual terms about America’s place in the world. Some genuine diplomatic successes resulted, notably, in the miracle year of 1972, when remarkable summit meetings in Beijing and Moscow were followed by a preliminary peace settlement in Vietnam. Armed with a winningly self-deprecating sense of humor as well as a deep German accent and slow delivery that seemed to add authority to his pronouncements, Kissinger proved adept at drumming up media support for the administration’s initiatives.
But the “Grand Design” in foreign policy that Nixon and Kissinger implemented was neither as grand nor as original as they and their admirers—both then and later—claimed it was. Important groundwork on détente and on the opening to China had been laid by the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, respectively, while on Vietnam both men were longtime hawks who upon taking office seemed no less determined than the Johnson team had been to achieve an “honorable” exit from the war, i.e., one that preserved, for the indefinite future, an independent, noncommunist South Vietnam. Or if not indefinitely, at least through the 1972 election—a remarkable feature of Kissinger’s statecraft was its intense interest in the domestic political implications of his policy prescriptions. Publicly he claimed otherwise, of course, insisting that U.S. foreign policy had always been, and continued to be, made on a bipartisan footing in the national interest. But the internal record makes clear that Kissinger and Nixon always saw foreign policy options through the lens of domestic politics. Confident of the fundamental security of the American homeland, they were willing to play politics with foreign policy, often with deleterious consequences. (Credibility was the watchword, all right, as Kissinger often stressed, but it was partisan and personal credibility in addition to U.S. international credibility.) In this regard, too, the two men resembled their predecessors and successors in the White House more than they stood apart from them.
‘His sense of ‘grand strategy’ is too crabbed and narrow.’
By Elizabeth Borgwardt, associate professor of History at Washington University in St. Louis
Henry A. Kissinger’s personal and professional sense of ethics has long inspired passionate responses from across the political spectrum. I am more interested in Kissinger’s statecraft than in his personality, however. My sense as a historian, international lawyer, and conflict specialist is that this canny diplomat’s sense of what some analysts like to call “grand strategy” is too crabbed and narrow.
Kissinger’s nostalgic harking-back to the European balance-of-power system—the subject of his doctoral dissertation—is as unworkable as it is undesirable, and this is even more the case today than it was in the 1970s. Kissinger’s assumptions about diplomacy’s players, rules, and the bounds of the playing field itself are historically contingent and increasingly irrelevant.
This critique of Kissinger’s approach is a fundamental one: his overarching vision of the role of power in American foreign policy as a stack of poker chips in a “geostrategic” game of nations (one of his favorite words). His framing downplays the role of game-transforming moves in favor of point-scoring moves. This orientation is in effect the opposite of Suzanne Nossel’s more capacious vision of “smart power.” Nossel’s approach favors a much more wide-ranging set of strategies for advancing the U.S. national interest, by advancing policies that embody American values such as human rights, the rule of law and women’s equality.
Busting out of old realist/idealist binaries means that conflict in the international sphere is neither the default condition among naturally antagonistic nations and individuals nor an aberration in an otherwise harmonious world. This alternative orientation takes the historian Simon Schama up on his delightfully expressed advice to Kissinger, that the statesman should concentrate his gaze on that juncture “where the beady-eyed meets the starry-eyed.” Conflict is an inevitable by-product of the interaction of states and other entities that can be managed wisely and creatively. As Anne-Marie Slaughter and others have pointed out, those headings that are missing from the index of Kissinger’s books—and books about Kissinger—such as non-governmental organizations, activists, women and human rights ideas and institutions—light the way to a new pragmatism that could transcend Kissinger’s stale realism.
‘Hero or villain, he remains a larger than life figure, in part, because he mattered.’By Luke Nichter, associate professor of history at Texas A&M University and co-editor of The Nixon Tapes
We Americans overly idealize our leaders. We like to think they’re John F. Kennedy, but they’re really more like Richard Nixon or Henry Kissinger. In his relatively short time in government, Kissinger played a leading role in creating the world we live in—a post-Cold War world, a globalized world and a more diffuse world. We are divided on his legacy because he remains so relevant today; we’ve spent nearly five times longer debating his accomplishments than he spent accomplishing them. Hero or villain, he remains a larger than life figure, in part, because he mattered. And as more records are released by the National Archives, we’ll continue to debate his impact on our nation and our world.
‘Asking whether Kissinger is either a realist or an idealist misses a more interesting aspect of Kissinger’s philosophy of history: his radical subjectivism.’
By Greg Grandin, professor of history at New York University and the author of Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesmen.
Niall Ferguson is correct to identify Henry Kissinger as influenced by the idealist philosopher Immanuel Kant. But he misses how Kissinger revised Kant to embrace a relative, rather than an absolute, morality. The point is made in a story from Kissinger’s graduate schools days at Harvard that didn’t make it into Ferguson’s lengthy book. Kissinger’s adviser, William Elliott, often urged his protégé to live his life by Kant’s famous ethical imperative: “treat every human being, including yourself, as an end and never a means.” During one seminar in 1953, Elliott pushed Kissinger to acknowledge that “reality,” and hence ethics, must exist. “Well, now wait a minute, Henry,” Elliott said, in reaction to Kissinger’s argument that there was no such thing as truth, “There must be a metaphysical structure of reality which is the true structure.” Kissinger’s responded by quoting Kant’s moral imperative back to Elliott, with an addendum: “What one considers an end, and what one considers a mean, depends essentially on the metaphysics of one’s system, and on the concept one has of one’s self and one’s relationship to the universe.” This is a complete perversion of Kant, a standing of Kant on his head.
Asking whether Kissinger is either a realist or an idealist misses a more interesting aspect of Kissinger’s philosophy of history: his radical subjectivism, his belief, first voiced as a young scholar and repeated throughout his career (including in his latest book, World Order), that there is no such thing as absolute truth, no truth at all other than what could be deduced from one’s own solitary perspective. “Meaning represents the emanation of a metaphysical context,” he wrote; “every man in a certain sense creates his picture of the world.” Humans create their truth, they come to understand their “purpose” (a very Kissingerian concept) though action. Such subjectivism had policy implications. For instance, Kissinger’s five year bombing of Cambodia (which, by credible estimates, killed 100,000 civilians), along with his “savage” (Kissinger’s word) bombing of North Vietnam, was motivated by the opposite of realism: to try to bring about a world Kissinger believed he ought to live in (one in which he could, by the force of military power, bend peasant-poor countries like Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam to his will) rather than reflect the real world they did live in: one in which, try as he might, he was unable to terrorize weaker nations into submission. “I refused to believe that a little fourth-rate power like North Vietnam does not have a breaking point,” Kissinger once complained.
It should be pointed out that Ferguson shares Kissinger’s relativism. Though Ferguson won’t deal with the many crimes Kissinger is accused of committing until the second volume of his biography, in the introduction to his first volume he concedes that Kissinger’s policies resulted in a high body count. But, Ferguson argues, any moral judgment one might make of Kissinger’s means must be balanced by the greater good of his ends, and by weighting the relative value of lives in “important” countries to those found elsewhere. Ferguson writes: “Arguments that focus on loss of life in strategically marginal countries—and there is no other way of describing Argentina, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chile, Cyprus, and as Timor—must be tested against this question: how, in each case, would an alternative decision have affected U.S. relations with strategically important countries like the Soviet Union, China, and the major Western European powers?”
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Why is Henry Kissinger Walking Around Free?
By Andy Piascik
Global Research, March 12, 2015
On September 11, 2013, hundreds of thousands of Chileans solemnly marked the 40th anniversary of their nation’s 9/11 terrorist event. It was on that date in 1973 that the Chilean military, armed with a generous supply of funds and weapons from the United States, and assisted by the CIA and other operatives, overthrew the democratically-elected government of the moderate socialist Salvador Allende. Sixteen years of repression, torture and death followed under the fascist Augusto Pinochet, while the flow of hefty profits to US multinationals – IT&T, Anaconda Copper and the like – resumed. Profits, along with concern that people in other nations might get ideas about independence, were the very reason for the coup and even the partial moves toward nationalization instituted by Allende could not be tolerated by the US business class
Henry Kissinger was national security advisor and one of the principal architects – perhaps the principal architect – of the coup in Chile. US-instigated coups were nothing new in 1973, certainly not in Latin America, and Kissinger and his boss Richard Nixon were carrying on a violent tradition that spanned the breadth of the 20th century and continues in the 21st – see, for example, Venezuela in 2002 (failed) and Honduras in 2009 (successful). Where possible, such as in Guatemala in 1954 and Brazil in 1964, coups were the preferred method for dealing with popular insurgencies. In other instances, direct invasion by US forces such as happened on numerous occasions in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and many other places, was the fallback option.
The coup in Santiago occurred as US aggression in Indochina was finally winding down after more than a decade. From 1969 through 1973, it was Kissinger again, along with Nixon, who oversaw the slaughter in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. It is impossible to know with precision how many were killed during those four years; all the victims were considered enemies, including the vast majority who were non-combatants, and the US has never been much interested in calculating the deaths of enemies. Estimates of Indochinese killed by the US for the war as a who le start at four million and are likely more, perhaps far more. It can thus be reasonably extrapolated that probably more than a million, and certainly hundreds of thousands, were killed while Kissinger and Nixon were in power.
In addition, countless thousands of Indochinese have died in the years since from the affects of the massive doses of Agent Orange and other Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction unleashed by the US. Many of us here know (or, sadly, knew) soldiers who suffered from exposure to such chemicals; multiply their numbers by 1,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 – again, it’s impossible to know with accuracy – and we can begin to understand the impact on those who live in and on the land that was so thoroughly poisoned as a matter of US policy.
Studies by a variety of organizations including the United Nations also indicate that at least 25,000 people have died in Indochina since war’s end from unexploded US bombs that pocket the countryside, with an equivalent number maimed. As with Agent Orange, deaths and ruined lives from such explosions continue to this day. So 40 years on, the war quite literally goes on for the people of Indochina, and it is likely it will go on for decades more.
Near the end of his time in office, Kissinger and his new boss Gerald Ford pre-approved the Indonesian dictator Suharto’s invasion of East Timor in 1975, an illegal act of aggression again carried out with weapons made in and furnished by the US. Suharto had a long history as a bagman for US business interests; he ascended to power in a 1965 coup, also with decisive support and weapons from Washington, and undertook a year-long reign of terror in which security forces and the army killed more than a million people (Amnesty International, which rarely has much to say about the crimes of US imperialism, put the number at 1.5 million).
In addition to providing the essential on-the-ground support, Kissinger and Ford blocked efforts by the global community to stop the bloodshed when the terrible scale of Indonesian violence became known, something UN ambassador Daniel Patrick Moynihan openly bragged about. Again, the guiding principle of empire, one that Kissinger and his kind accept as naturally as breathing, is that independence cannot be allowed. That’s true even in a country as small as East Timor where investment opportunities are slight, for independence is contagious and can spread to places where far more is at stake, like resource-rich Indonesia. By the time the Indonesian occupation finally ended in 1999, 200,000 Timorese – 30 percent of the population – had been wiped out. Such is Kissinger’s legacy and it is a legacy well understood by residents of the global South no matter the denial, ignorance or obfuscation of the intelligentsia here.
If the United States is ever to become a democratic society, and if we are ever to enter the international community as a responsible party willing to wage peace instead of war, to foster cooperation and mutual aid rather than domination, we will have to account for the crimes of those who claim to act in our names like Kissinger. Our outrage at the crimes of murderous thugs who are official enemies like Pol Pot is not enough. A cabal of American mis-leaders from Kennedy on caused for far more Indochinese deaths than the Khmer Rouge, after all, and those responsible should be judged and treated accordingly.
The urgency of the task is underscored as US aggression proliferates at an alarming rate. Millions of people around the world, most notably in an invigorated Latin America, are working to end the “might makes right” ethos the US has lived by since its inception. The 99 percent of us here who have no vested interest in empire would do well to join them.
There are recent encouraging signs along those lines, with the successful prevention of a US attack on Syria particularly noteworthy. In addition, individuals from various levels of empire have had their lives disrupted to varying degrees. David Petraeus, for example, has been hounded by demonstrators since being hired by CUNY earlier this year to teach an honors course; in 2010, Dick Cheney had to cancel a planned trip to Canada because the clamor for his arrest had grown quite loud; long after his reign ended, Pinochet was arrested by order of a Spanish magistrate for human right violations and held in England for 18 months before being released because of health problems; and earlier this year, Efrain Rios Montt, one of Washington’s past henchmen in Guatemala, was convicted of genocide, though accomplices of his still in power have since intervened on his behalf to obstruct justice. And Condoleeza Rice was forced to cancel her commencement appearance at Rutgers this past spring because of student outrage over her involvement in war crimes.
More pressure is needed, and allies of the US engaged in war crimes like Paul Kagame should be dealt with as Pinochet was. More important perhaps for those of in the US is that we hound Rumsfeld, both Clintons, Rice, Albright and Powell, to name a few, for their crimes against humanity every time they show themselves in public just as Petraeus has been. That holds especially for our two most recent War-Criminals-in-Chief, Barack Bush and George W. Obama.
Andy Piascik is a long-time activist and award-winning author who writes for Z, Counterpunch and many other publications and websites. He can be reached at andypiascik@yahoo.com
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