Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Solzhenitsyn Re-Affirms My Low Opinion of Henry Kissinger

My low regard for Henry Kissinger began when I was waking up to what was happening in the world in my later youth. Kissinger was an insider in the Nixon White House, end of story. I was biased, no doubt influenced by a strong feeling that Vietnam was an injustice, and that Nixon corruption was real.

Still, I knew little of the depth of Kissinger's badness. The movie Missing--Jack Lemmon, Sissy Spacek--gives a glimpse of the dark side of our State Department in Central and South America during the 50s and 60s. Kissinger was a major player in the Chile debacle.

Years later, reading Sy Hersh's autobiography Reporter added new dimensions to the kind of malodorous influence Kissinger was. The press seemed to love him, seduced perhaps by his sonorous accent. Yes, he projected something, much like our fascination with British accents and Irish brogue.

The manner in which Hersh was ambushed by Ted Koppel when his book on Kissinger, was released is eye-opening. The establishment, and mainstream media, still loved the guy, decades after the Nixon-Ford era. It's pretty revealing that neither Koppel nor either of the guests who lacerated Hersh in front of a national audience had read Hersh's The Price of Power, the topic of discussion. Hersh had dared to criticize this iconic figure and had to be publicly flogged for it.

More recently I found myself absorbed by Paul Thomas Chamberlin's The Cold War's Killing Fields and who should come up again repeatedly as a scoundrel? Yes, Henry K. When Bangladesh was suffering after a devastating cyclone, and West Pakistan did nothing, Kissinger advised that Nixon and the U.S. do nothing to alleviate the suffering because it would "make the Pakistan government look bad."

And because their government did nothing to help the traumatized East Pakistanis after the monsoons and flooding that caused so much death and destruction, the East Pakistani people voted for the opposition party in nearly every voting district. This pissed off the ruling party, so they sent in the army and slaughtered the masses using U.S. supplied armaments. Millions fled to India.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Kissinger's response to the behavior of West Pakistan toward its Bengali brethren.

Kissinger sneered at people who "bleed" for "the dying Bengalis" and ignored the first telegram from the United States consul general in East Pakistan, Archer K. Blood, and 20 members of his staff, which informed the US that their allies West Pakistan were undertaking, in Blood's words, "a selective genocide" targeting the Bengali intelligentsia, supporters of independence for East Pakistan, and the Hindu minority. In the second, more famous, Blood Telegram the word genocide was again used to describe the events, and further that with its continuing support for West Pakistan the US government had "evidenced [...] moral bankruptcy".

Makes one ill to think about it, but Kissinger was the influencer who again moved the hand of power.

* * * *
And so... As I was last night reading the Writings of Aleksandr Solzenitsyn, edited by Michael Loyd Chadwick, and once again came across some barb comments regarding this man. A chapter titled Henry Kissinger begins on page 75. It's not pretty, and only confirms what I have previously only sensed.

The style of this book is somewhat different. Solzhenitsyn divides each thought into a headline and then a little text, like a news story with more details. I am going to share here only the headlines from this four page article.

Failure of U.S. Judicial Authorities to Uncover the Real Assassins of Kennedy*
Need to Speak Bluntly about the Activities of Kissinger
Kissinger's Policy of Unending Concessions to World Communism Demonstrate THat He Is Anything But a Diplomat
Kissinger Attempts to Put Diplomacy at Its Lowest Level
The Art of Diplomacy Has a Wide Spectrum of Possibilities
The Great Diplomats of the Past
Kissinger's Endless Obscuring of Facts
Kissinger's Opponents Are Always Winning and He Is Always Yielding
Should the U.S. Surrender Its Position to the World?
Kissinger Does Not Possess the High Diplomatic Intellect Ascribed to Him
It Is Not Diplomacy to Negotiate Continual Concessions
The Vietnam Peace Agreement Prepared the Way for the Quiet Surrender of Three Countries in Indo-China
Kissinger's Nobel Peace Prize Was the Ultimate in Political Pornography
Disregard By Israeli Leaders of Kissinger's Shuttle Diplomacy in the Middle East
The Real Goal of Future Convergence of the U.S with the USSR Is Kept Hidden from the American People
Surrender of the West Approaches an Avalanche Stage
The U.S. Government Will have No Emergency Exit
Genocide In Cambodia And Vietnamese Prison Camps Is Not Peace
The Peace Aimed At by Kissinger and His Associates Has No Moral Loftiness

In short, Solzhenitsyn had a pretty low opinion of this "Golden Boy" who loved the spotlight in his time, and the Nobel laureate doesn't mince words.

* * * *
The title of this book of Solzhenitsyn's writing is World Communism: A Critical Review. It begins with an intro by Michael Loyd Chadwick, who edited this volume.

In 1975, a year after Solzhenitsyn had been exiled from the Soviet Union, the author had been invited to Washington D.C. to speak to the AFL-CIO. The became a grave problem for then sitting president Gerald Ford. Shouldn't this great advocate for freedom be invited to the White House? Should we not welcome the man who put his life on the line to reveal to all the cold brutality of Soviet totalitarianism?

But no, Henry Kissinger stepped in and beseeched President Ford to not do such a thing. Why? Because befriending Solzhenitsyn would be bad for detente, and evidently Detente was Kissinger's life force.

Not only did Kissinger interfere with (ultimately blocking) the White House visit, he also said it would be "diplomatically inadvisable" for the president to attend the banquet at which Solhenitsyn was speaking. Members of the State Department and NSC whom had been invited were quietly pulled away and did not attend either.

Much more can be said, but I think you get the picture. It's only a small section of the book but when I entered into it, the story leaped off the page.

Related Links
George Harrison & Friends: The 1971 Concert for Bangladesh 
Reporter by Seymour Hersh is a Must Read for all young journalists
*Murder Most Foul: Dylan Dishes Up a New Meal with a Feast of References
Solzhenitsyn Indictment of the West Still Stands


LEWagner said...

My first experience of Henry:
In 1975 the USA sent up an SR-71 to overfly Chinese airspace, and we were told to "listen for any reaction and report it".
I heard a reaction, and reported it.
The next day the Stars and Stripes reported that China had accused the USA of overflying its airspace, but Henry Kissinger "categorically denied it".

Ed Newman said...

Yes, thanks for sharing that.
Just one more confirmation.
I was in two riots while young. The second occurred when I was at Ohio U. There was a meeting in the student union (Baker Center) in which either Woodward or Bernstein had come to speak. This was during Watergate and it drew a crowd of perhaps a thousand packed in the ballroom, and open space with no seats but packed, standing.
While he was talking someone came and said something to the moderator of this gathering, that Nixon was illegally bombing Cambodia at that moment.
What followed was chaos... and subsequent arrests. (Athens 77)
But what is significant is that the next day it was categorically denied by the Nixon White House, which in retrospect was the Nixon-Kissinger White House.
Thanks for the comment and first hand details.

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