Book Review: Whitewashing Kissinger

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9 Responses

  1. Will Banyan says:

    And lo, the so-called “idealist” is to meet with Trump! The Washington Post reports Trump and Kissinger are to meet in New York on Wednesday and that they have been having “weeks of phone conversations…” According to the Post:

    “Trump’s conferring with Kissinger underscores not only how he is building relationships with Republican elders but how he leans toward a more realist view of international affairs, which has long been the bailiwick of Kissinger’s work.

    While Trump does not describe himself as a realist, which is a worldview lacking in idealism, he has edged closer to that wing of the foreign-policy community. His impulses and comments have often had a hardheaded and non-hawkish tilt, and he has been a critic of extensive U.S. intervention abroad.”

    This will be might be a bitter pill for Ferguson, for his hero to prove to be as always, an opportunist…

    • Niels says:

      Hi Will,
      Great book review, as always. Firm but fair and with a pinch of sarcasm and humor to top it off. I would suggest calling the good man D-Niall Ferguson from now on.

      On Kissinger: Do you think that for him at his age still ‘opportunities’ are the prime reason that he seeks contact with Trump? CNN argues that Kissinger is ”the man every nominee has to meet to get a blessing from history”, suggesting that all candidates are expected to receive him sooner or later?

      What is possible too, is that the people at the top really don’t fully control Trump and that they therefore have sent one of their main good shepherds to reel in that lost sheep. And that his mission is to try to influence Trump into better towing the one-party line, so to speak. It even seems to be working too.
      Maybe it is the last chance Trump gets, in order for not to be ‘Kennedyd’. Believe it or not, but even here in The Netherlands on prime-time TV in one of the most popular late-night talkshows recently an American singer or actress who was famous in the 1990s and who dated Trump [can’t remember her name] literally suggested that she regretted that she didn’t killed him back then. It was very clear in her body language that she hoped that it happens now instead, and she looked around into the public to find confirmation. That was the most remarkable of all, that she expected to find agreement or endorsement. I knew that on American TV this openly has been discussed and suggested, but it is allegedly such a common talking-point that they also export it abroad! If you take a worldmap and a maginifying glass then you might be able to find The Netherlands. So if even here already some Americans consciously take effort to convey this message, then it has to be something that really is hoped for. I will try to find a video clip of the talkshow. It was truly remarkable to see that happening here, because such things don’t ever happen here.

      • Ferguson was made aware of this review.

      • Will Banyan says:

        Hi Niels,

        Thanks for the kind words. Kissinger is too old to be seriously considering a full-time job working for any administration. That’s not his aim; his objective is to be the one giving advice from the sidelines. He’s still a kibitzer at heart, although he is now the sideline commentator that everyone stops to listen to.

        The opportunism is evident in how Kissinger has responded to Trump thus far. Before the phone calls and last week’s meeting Kissinger had made just some brief and fairly mild criticisms about Trump on Fox News I think. There have been no vociferous op-eds denouncing Trump as a dangerous fascist or just unsuited to high office. Niall Ferguson has done that and so have quite a few of the leading neo-cons, particularly Max Boot, Robert Kagan and William Kristol. Kissinger was also careful not to sign the “Open Letter to Trump from GOP National Security Experts” that appears on the War on the Rocks website. There are 121 signatories, including many prominent neo-cons; Kissinger is not among them:

        I thought it odd that Kissinger had avoided making strongly anti-Trump comments and realised it was likely he was positioning himself to be in a position to influence the winning team (a charge that Conrad Black makes in his latest memoir). It looks less hypocritical for both if they have not denounced each other to then have a quiet chat…

        I’m not sure or convinced that Trump is anybody’s stooge or puppet. I think right now having gamed the primaries quite well in terms of popular support, Trump is trying to mainstream himself with the GOP establishment and the US foreign policy establishment. Kissinger is a perfect exemplar of the latter.

        There is also something else at work here. Way back in 1999 after the seeming debacle of Kosovo, there was premature talk in some quarters that the neo-con approach of using force to defend freedom and democracy would have to make way for a return to Kissingerian realpolitik. Bush Jr’s admin with its invasion of Iraq proved that was an inaccurate assumption. Now, though, there are signs of realignment, or a split within the foreign policy establishment, away from the dominance of the neo-cons. The realist school, who see order through the pragmatic balance of power and acting only when the benefits are clear, rather than to spread democracy, seem to be obtaining allies. There’s been some talk of Trump hewing to the realist school; the neo-cons really don’t like him; and the Koch brothers have started up a think-tank with mostly realists providing the foreign policy output.

        We live in interesting times…

        • Niels says:

          Hi Will,
          Yes, we certainly live in interesting times.

          I’ve read the Open Letter. Especially the statement ”His admiration for foreign dictators such as Vladimir Putin is unacceptable for the leader of the world’s greatest democracy” is quite amusing to read, but that might be because I’m not from the US. I recognize a name or two in the list who have made a lot harsher remarks than Trump ever did.

          I’ve found the video cip. I was Ruby Wax. Not everything is in this clip unfortunately, and some of the worst statements are left out as far as I remember. But you get the message. I wonder how many Americans are spreading the word like this.

  2. Will Banyan says:

    Kissinger’s comments in December last year, as reported in US News & World Report highlight his careful fence-sitting, the tactic carefully honed and utilized for decades that Niall Ferguson struggles to hide:

    “I don’t think we can build a wall that excludes everybody,” Kissinger said in December. “I do not favor an exclusion based on religion.”

    At the time he added if Trump became the nominee, he would “urge him not to make such a blanket exclusion.” He also said at the time that while he would prefer another candidate, he was withholding a formal endorsement.

    “I think the best contribution I can make is to contribute to the thinking about foreign policy. And I would not like to get into a fight between the various [candidates],” Kissinger said.

    The last line in particular neatly encapsulates his overwhelming to desire to leave his door open to any presidential candidate…

  3. Frank says:

    Thiѕ is a tоpic that’s near to my heart… Thank you! Εxactly whrre are yojг contact details though?

  4. Will Banyan says:

    I really should put it up:

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