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Old 11.29.2023, 11:13 PM   #1141
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From Rolling Stone:


GOOD RIDDANCE

Henry Kissinger, War Criminal Beloved by America’s Ruling Class, Finally Dies

The infamy of Nixon's foreign-policy architect sits, eternally, beside that of history's worst mass murderers. A deeper shame attaches to the country that celebrates him

BY SPENCER ACKERMAN
NOVEMBER 29, 2023


Henry Kissinger died on Wednesday at his home in Connecticut, his consulting firm said in a statement. The notorious war criminal was 100.

Measuring purely by confirmed kills, the worst mass murderer ever executed by the United States was the white supremacist terrorist Timothy McVeigh. On April 19, 1995, McVeigh detonated a massive bomb at the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, including 19 children. The government killed McVeigh by lethal injection in June 2001. Whatever hesitation a state execution provokes, even over a man such as McVeigh — necessary questions about the legitimacy of killing even an unrepentant soldier of white supremacy — his death provided a measure of closure to the mother of one of his victims. “It’s a period at the end of a sentence,” said Kathleen Treanor, whose 4-year old McVeigh killed.

McVeigh, who in his own psychotic way thought he was saving America, never remotely killed on the scale of Kissinger, the most revered American grand strategist of the second half of the 20th century.

The Yale University historian Greg Grandin, author of the biography Kissinger’s Shadow, estimates that Kissinger’s actions from 1969 through 1976, a period of eight brief years when Kissinger made Richard Nixon’s and then Gerald Ford’s foreign policy as national security adviser and secretary of state, meant the end of between three and four million people. That includes “crimes of commission,” he explained, as in Cambodia and Chile, and omission, like greenlighting Indonesia’s bloodshed in East Timor; Pakistan’s bloodshed in Bangladesh; and the inauguration of an American tradition of using and then abandoning the Kurds.

“The Cubans say there is no evil that lasts a hundred years, and Kissinger is making a run to prove them wrong,” Grandin told Rolling Stone not long before Kissinger died. “There is no doubt he’ll be hailed as a geopolitical grand strategist, even though he bungled most crises, leading to escalation. He’ll get credit for opening China, but that was De Gaulle’s original idea and initiative. He’ll be praised for detente, and that was a success, but he undermined his own legacy by aligning with the neocons. And of course, he’ll get off scot free from Watergate, even though his obsession with Daniel Ellsberg really drove the crime.”

No infamy will find Kissinger on a day like today. Instead, in a demonstration of why he was able to kill so many people and get away with it, the day of his passage will be a solemn one in Congress and — shamefully, since Kissinger had reporters like CBS’ Marvin Kalb and The New York Times‘ Hendrick Smith wiretapped — newsrooms. Kissinger, a refugee from the Nazis who became a pedigreed member of the “Eastern Establishment” Nixon hated, was a practitioner of American greatness, and so the press lionized him as the cold-blooded genius who restored America’s prestige from the agony of Vietnam.

Not once in the half-century that followed Kissinger’s departure from power did the millions the United States killed matter for his reputation, except to confirm a ruthlessness that pundits occasionally find thrilling. America, like every empire, champions its state murderers. The only time I was ever in the same room as Henry Kissinger was at a 2015 national security conference at West Point. He was surrounded by fawning Army officers and ex-officials basking in the presence of a statesman.

Seymour Hersh, the investigative reporter who was the most prominent exception to the fawning coverage of Kissinger, watched journalistic deference take shape as soon as Kissinger entered the White House in 1969. “His social comings and goings could make or break a Washington party,” Hersh wrote in his biography The Price of Power. Reporters like the Times’ James Reston were eager participants in what Hersh called “an implicit shakedown scheme” — that is, access journalism — “in which reporters who got inside information in turn protected Kissinger by not divulging either the full consequences of his acts or his own connection to them.” Kissinger’s approach to the press was his approach to Nixon: sniveling obsequiousness. (Although Kissinger could vent frustration on reporters that he never could on his boss.) Hersh quotes H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s chief of staff, remarking that Kissinger was the “hawk of hawks” inside the White House, but “touching glasses at a party with his liberal friends, the belligerent Kissinger would suddenly become a dove.”

Reviewing one of Kissinger’s litany of books, Hillary Clinton in 2014 said Kissinger, “a friend” whose counsel she relied upon as secretary of state, possessed “a conviction that we, and President Obama, share: a belief in the indispensability of continued American leadership in service of a just and liberal order.” Kissinger told USA Today within days that Clinton, presumed then to be a president-in-waiting, “ran the State Department in the most effective way that I’ve ever seen.” The same story noticed a photograph autographed by Obama thanking Kissinger for his “continued leadership.”

It’s always valuable to hear the reverent tones with which American elites speak of their monsters. When the Kissingers of the world pass, their humanity, their purpose, their sacrifices are foremost in the minds of the respectable. American elites recoiled in disgust when Iranians in great numbers took to the streets to honor one of their monsters, Qassem Soleimani, after a U.S. drone strike executed the Iranian external security chief in January 2020. Soleimani, whom the United States declared to be a terrorist and killed as such, killed far more people than Timothy McVeigh. But even if we attribute to him all the deaths in the Syrian Civil War, never in Soleimani’s wildest dreams could he kill as many people as Henry Kissinger. Nor did Soleimani get to date Jill St. John, who played Bond girl Tiffany Case in Diamonds Are Forever.

KISSINGER’S ASCENT OCCURRED THROUGH AN OBSCENITY THAT TIME CANNOT DIMINISH. In 1968, Lyndon Johnson agreed to peace negotiations with the North Vietnamese in tacit recognition of the nightmare he, building on the works of his two immediate predecessors, brought to life in Vietnam. Kissinger, an influential Cold War defense intellectual at Harvard, had access to members of the diplomatic delegation to the Paris talks. He used it to feed information from the negotiations to Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign — a campaign whose defeated GOP rival, Nelson Rockefeller, Kissinger advised — and despite Kissinger’s closer political ties to the coterie around Hubert Humphrey, Nixon’s Democratic rival.

Nixon ran for president claiming to have a secret plan to end the war. His advisers told Hersh they were deeply afraid that Johnson and Hanoi would reach an accord before the election. It would save lives in Vietnam, American and Vietnamese, but it would undermine Nixon’s hopes of exploiting the explosion in domestic antiwar sentiment. Nixon gratefully took what Kissinger gave him to make the U.S.’ proxy regime in Saigon, whose regime peace would destabilize, more intransigent. No agreement was reached until 1973, and the war ended in American humiliation with Hanoi’s 1975 victory.

“It took some balls to give us those tips,” Richard Allen, a foreign policy researcher on the Nixon campaign, later reflected to Hersh. After all, it was “a pretty dangerous thing for [Kissinger] to be screwing around with the national security.”
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Old 11.29.2023, 11:15 PM   #1142
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Every single person who died in Vietnam between autumn 1968 and the Fall of Saigon — and all who died in Laos and Cambodia, where Nixon and Kissinger secretly expanded the war within months of taking office, as well as all who died in the aftermath, like the Cambodian genocide their destabilization set into motion — died because of Henry Kissinger. We will never know what might have been, the question Kissinger’s apologists, and those in the U.S. foreign policy elite who imagine themselves standing in Kissinger’s shoes, insist upon when explaining away his crimes. We can only know what actually happened. What actually happened was that Kissinger materially sabotaged the only chance for an end to the war in 1968 as a hedged bet to ensure he would achieve power in Nixon’s administration or Humphrey’s. A true tally will probably never be known of everyone who died so Kissinger could be national security adviser.

Once in the White House, Nixon and Kissinger found themselves without leverage to produce a peace accord with Hanoi. In the hopes of manufacturing one, they came up with the “Madman Theory,” the idea that North Vietnam would negotiate peace after they came to believe Nixon was adventurous and bloodthirsty enough to risk anything. In February 1969, weeks after taking office, and lasting through April 1970, U.S. warplanes secretly dropped 110,000 tons of bombs on Cambodia. By the summer of 1969, according to a colonel on the Joint Staff, Kissinger — who had no constitutional role in the military chain of command — was personally selecting bombing targets. “Not only was Henry carefully screening the raids, he was reading the raw intelligence,” Col. Ray B. Sitton told Hersh for The Price of Power. A second phase of bombing continued until August 1973, five months after the final U.S. combat troops withdrew from Vietnam. By then, U.S. bombs had killed an estimated 100,000 people out of a population of only 700,000. The final phase of the bombing, which occurred after the Paris Peace Accords mandated U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, was its most intense, an act of cruel vengeance from a thwarted superpower.

Cambodia, like Laos before it, was a formally neutral country, meaning that bombing it was an illegal aggression under the United Nations Charter. But beyond the control of Prince Sihanouk, the North Vietnamese used Cambodian territory for the Ho Chi Minh Trail, a weapons pipeline not unlike the one America is currently operating for Ukraine. In April 1970, following a coup by American client Col. Lon Nol that overthrew Sihanouk, Nixon ordered U.S. troops in Vietnam to invade Cambodia outright. In the air or on the ground, they were unable to destroy the trail, only human beings. Those who survived reacted. “Sometimes the bombs fell and hit the little children, and their fathers would be all for the Khmer Rouge,” a former Khmer Rouge cadre told historian Ben Kiernan, founder of Yale University’s Genocide Studies Program.

Nixon and Kissinger’s failure in Cambodia prompted in 1971 the U.S.-South Vietnamese invasion of Laos, another failure. Kissinger later blamed defeat on the U.S.’ clients, rather than, say, people like himself. “In retrospect, I have come to doubt whether the South Vietnamese ever really understood what we were trying to accomplish,” Kissinger wrote in his memoirs.

At the time, the secret bombing of Cambodia was a startling offense that prompted substantial political backlash when it became public. One of the articles of impeachment against Nixon prepared by the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 held that bombing Cambodia was a constitutional usurpation of Congress’ war powers. But on July 30, the committee ended up rejecting the article, 26 votes to 12, and it never became part of the coalescing impeachment effort that stopped with Nixon’s resignation.

Forty years later, and likely as a consequence, U.S. presidents routinely bomb countries the U.S. is not at war with. They provide the barest minimum of disclosure that the bombs have fallen, and often not even that. When the U.S.’ declared wars fail, as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan, their architects and stewards blame the client militaries and governments they propped up. They cover their troop withdrawals with futile bombing campaigns that kill people so American statesmen can save face. Whether he realized it or not, when President Biden in July 2021 blamed the Afghans for losing the Afghanistan war — “the Afghan military collapsed, sometimes without trying to fight” was a typical line — he was reaching for Nixon and Kissinger’s template.
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Old 11.29.2023, 11:16 PM   #1143
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KISSINGER PLAYED A ROLE IN THE DEATHS OF SO MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLES that treating each with due consideration requires writing a book. Here is one example among many of the sort of carnage Kissinger inflicted indirectly rather than by edict. In 1971, the Pakistani government waged a campaign of genocide to suppress the independence movement in what would become Bangladesh. Pakistan’s Yahya Khan, an architect of the genocide, was valuable to Nixon’s ambitions of restoring diplomatic relations with China. So the U.S. let Khan’s forces rape and murder at least 300,000 people — and perhaps three million. “We can’t allow a friend of ours and China’s to get screwed in a conflict with a friend of India’s,” Nixon quoted Kissinger shrugging.

That perspective typified Kissinger. The Cold War was a geopolitical balance among two great powers. The purpose of Cold War statecraft was to maximize American freedom of action to inflict Washington’s will on the world — a zero-sum contest that meant restricting the ability of the Soviet Union to inflict Moscow’s — without the destabilization, or outright armageddon, that would result from pursuing a final defeat of the Soviets. That last part explains much right-wing hostility toward Kissinger. Kissinger represented anticommunism without ideological zeal. He was an energetic, even relentless practitioner of the Cold War, the theater of anticommunist conflict. But like George Kennan before him, Kissinger thought viewing the Cold War in ideological terms missed the point. The point was American geopolitical dominance, something measured in impunity and achieved by any means necessary. That permitted Nixon and Kissinger the creativity to reopen China, something Nixon would have demagogued anyone else for attempting.

Reopening China was by far the greatest achievement of Nixon’s foreign policy. It was the rare geopolitical initiative where Kissinger was a mere facilitator. Sy Hersh, in The Price of Power, calls Nixon “the grand theoretician” of rapprochement with Beijing, with Kissinger Nixon’s “occasional operative.” Kissinger’s dramatic, secret July 1971 trip to Beijing in advance of Nixon’s visit probably renders that description parsimonious. But, writes Hersh, “there is no evidence that Kissinger seriously considered the question of an American-Chinese rapprochement before his appointment as Nixon’s national security adviser.” Once it happened, Kissinger became an overnight celebrity, the sort of person destined to be shrouded in myth and apology.

Kissinger might not have been motivated by hatred of communism. But he was a reactionary who empowered and enabled the sort of reactionaries for whom anticommunism was a respectable channel for America’s racist and exploitative socio-economic traditions. His chief aide on the National Security Council was a rabid anticommunist militarist, Army Col. Alexander Haig, a future secretary of state for Ronald Reagan. When Kissinger came under attack from neoconservatives and others on the right who couldn’t tolerate detente with the Soviets and rapprochement with the Chinese, neither he nor they recognized that both of them were driven by the Cold War forces that Kissinger stoked when convenient.

Most important of all the reactionaries was Nixon, without whom Kissinger would have lacked power, and from whom Kissinger would withstand any indignity.

Nixon was one of the original Cold War demagogues, the men who never hesitated to identify communism with Black people and the “Eastern Establishment” liberals who postured as allies. His escalation in Vietnam, along with the secret bombing in Cambodia he revealed in a televised address, prompted a resurgence of the antiwar movement. Nixon exploited the mass protests by contrasting them with the “silent majority” of loyal Americans. Instead of ending the war, as he had campaigned on doing, and silencing or co-opting the antiwar movement in the process, Nixon inflamed a culture war to distract from it. It was an echo of his infamous “Southern Strategy” to harness for the Republican Party the electoral benefits of white backlash to the civil rights movement.

Nixon was not subtle about who he meant by the Eastern Establishment. When the media seized upon the U.S. massacre at My Lai, Nixon remarked, “It’s those dirty rotten Jews from New York who are behind it.” Nixon’s White House counsel, John Erlichman, recalled Nixon talking about “Jewish traitors” in front of Kissinger, including “Jews at Harvard.” Kissinger would assure the boss he was one of the good ones. “Well, Mr. President,” Erlichman quoted him responding, “there are Jews and Jews.”

Kissinger maintained his standing in part by savaging the Eastern Establishment from which he emerged. It was not entirely cynical. Kissinger shared with Nixon a contempt for the “defeatism” and “pessimism” of those who flinched at the unsavory Vietnam War they once supported. He rationalized his purges of the National Security Council bureaucracy and his marginalization of the State Department — measures that made him indispensable to foreign policy, and to Nixon — as protecting American power from those who lacked the confidence to wield it. It is revealing that among those who make U.S. foreign policy, Kissinger’s perspective is not considered ideological.

Kissinger’s consolidation of bureaucratic control was punitive and paranoid. He used the fear of internal leaks to get the FBI to wiretap his staff and the journalists he suspected of receiving their information. Yet the Eastern Establishmentarians around Kissinger, on his staff or in the press, followed him like a puppy seeking an ear scratch. His coldblooded American exceptionalism was the perfect tone for speaking to a shaken ruling class. Anthony Lake, who would go on to become national security adviser to Bill Clinton, finally quit in May 1970, alongside his colleague Roger Morris. Their breaking points were the Vietnam escalation, Nixon’s alcoholism, and the surreptitious White House wiretaps that Nixon also pursued to enforce loyalty. But Lake and Morris opted not to go public. “I consider the failure to do so to be the biggest failure of my life,” Morris told Hersh for The Price of Power. “We didn’t do so on the single calculation that it would destroy Henry.” Weeks later, Kissinger, via Haig, had the FBI wiretap Lake.
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Old 11.29.2023, 11:23 PM   #1144
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IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, KISSINGER DESTROYED. But in Chile, he helped build a template for the world in which we currently live.

On September 4, 1970, Chileans elected the democratic socialist Salvador Allende president. Allende’s program was more than redistributionist. It demanded reparation from the U.S. for exploiting it. Chile is rich in copper, and by the mid-1960s, 80 percent of its copper production was controlled by American corporations, particularly the firms Anaconda Copper and Kennecott. When Allende nationalized mining assets held by the two companies, Allende informed them he would deduct estimated “excess profit” from a compensatory package he was willing to pay the firms. It was this sort of unacceptable policy that prompted Kissinger to remark, during an intelligence meeting about two months before Allende’s election, “I don’t see why we need to stand idly by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people.”

Kissinger meant that there must never be an example of a country in America’s sphere of influence delivering socialism through the ballot. “Henry saw Allende as being a far more serious threat than Castro,” Kissinger staffer Morris told Hersh. “Allende was a living example of democratic social reform in Latin America.”

Kissinger and the CIA had decided to overthrow Allende just days after Allende’s election. Upon learning what was in motion, the U.S. ambassador in Santiago, Edward Korry, who was second to none in opposing Allende, cabled Kissinger that “to actively encourage a coup could lead us to a Bay of Pigs failure.” An “apoplectic Kissinger” told Korry to stay out of the way, according to Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes: The History of The CIA. When the CIA failed at what Korry termed a Rube Goldberg gambit to get the Chilean Congress to stop Allende from taking office — that’s right, the CIA tried a January 6 in Chile — Haig urged his boss to purge “the key left-wing dominated slots” in the agency.

Korry was wrong in the end. Kissinger’s policy of overthrowing Allende — “Why not support extremists?” he spitballed in a December 1970 White House meeting with the CIA’s covert-operations chief, Tom Karamessines — paid off on September 11, 1973, when a military junta took power, prompting Allende’s suicide. He would be among the first of 3,200 Chileans to die violently under the 17-year regime of Augusto Pinochet and his Caravana de la Muerte, to say nothing of the tens of thousands tortured and imprisoned. “In the Eisenhower period, we would be heroes,” Kissinger told Nixon in a telephone conversation days after the coup. The same week he denied at his Senate confirmation hearings that the U.S. played any role in it.

The coup was only the beginning. Within two years, Pinochet’s regime invited Milton Friedman, Arnold Harberger, and other economists from the University of Chicago to advise them. Chile pioneered the implementation of their agenda: severe government budgetary austerity; relentless assaults on organized labor; privatization of state assets, including health care and public pensions; layoffs of government employees; abolition of wages and price controls; and deregulation of capital markets. “Multinationals were not only granted the right to repatriate 100 percent of their profits but given guaranteed exchange rates to help them do so,” Grandin writes in his book Empire’s Workshop. European and American bankers flocked to Chile before its 1982 economic collapse. The World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank loaned Pinochet $3.1 billion between 1976 and 1986. As Corey Robin has documented, Friedrich von Hayek’s neoliberal Mont Pelerin Society held a 1981 meeting in the very city where the junta plotted the replacement of democratic socialism with a harbinger of today’s global economic order.

Pinochet’s torture chambers were the maternity ward of neoliberalism, a baby delivered bloody and screaming by Henry Kissinger. This was the “just and liberal world order” Hillary Clinton considered Kissinger’s life work.

He was no less foundational in pushing the frontiers of where American military power could operate. It turned out the secret bombing of Cambodia and Laos, which lasted years, represented a template. When Nixon in 1970 revealed the secret bombings, it was a step too far even for Thomas Schelling, one of the Pentagon’s favorite defense academics, who called them “sickening.” As Grandin writes in Kissinger’s Shadow, the Cambridge-to-Washington set was not prepared in 1970 to accept that the U.S. had the right to destroy an enemy “safe haven” in a country it was not at war with and to do it all in secret, thereby shielding a war from basic public scrutiny. After 9/11, those assertions became accepted, foundational pillars of a War on Terror permitting four presidents to bomb, for 20 years, Pakistanis, Yemenis, Somalis, Libyans, Syrians, and others.

Kissinger met with Pinochet in Santiago in June 1976. It was a time of rising U.S. congressional anger at Pinochet’s reign of terror. Kissinger informed the general that he was obliged to make an anodyne criticism of Pinochet to forestall adverse legislation. “My evaluation is that you are a victim of all left-wing groups around the world,” Kissinger said, according to a declassified cable, “and that your greatest sin was that you overthrew a government which was going Communist.” Three months later, U.S. diplomats warned Kissinger about Operation Condor, an international campaign of right-wing assassinations pursued by the anticommunist regimes of Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay. Kissinger “has instructed that no further action be taken on this matter,” according to a September 16, 1976 cable. Five days later, a car bomb emplaced by Pinochet’s agents detonated along Washington D.C.’s Embassy Row, killing Orlando Letelier, Allende’s foreign minister, and his American co-worker, Ronni Moffitt.

In 1999, Pinochet was arrested in London through an effort by Baltazar Garzón, a Spanish judge investigating Operation Condor. Kissinger urged the British not to extradite the general. “​​I would be very happy if Pinochet was allowed home,” he told an interviewer. “This episode has gone on long enough and all my sympathies are with him.” Two years later, the administration of George W. Bush responded contemptuously to the Chilean Supreme Court’s efforts to compel Kissinger to testify. “It is unjust and ridiculous that a distinguished servant of this country should be harassed by foreign courts in this way,” an official told the Daily Telegraph. The paper noted that Kissinger was an “informal adviser” to Bush, as he was to many presidents.

The Bush administration’s declaration of protection for Kissinger, coupled with his rejection of the Rome Treaty on the International Criminal Court, extinguished a glimmer of hope that Kissinger would someday join Pinochet under arrest. It was always a fantasy. The international architecture that the U.S. and its allies established after World War II, shorthanded today as the “rules-based international order,” somehow never gets around to applying the same pressure on a hegemonic United States as it applies to U.S.-hostile or defiant powers. It reflects the organizing principle of American exceptionalism: America acts; it is not acted upon. Henry Kissinger was a supreme architect of the rules-based international order.
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Old 11.29.2023, 11:24 PM   #1145
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In that regard, Kissinger was singular but was by no means unique. Kissinger built upon foundations constructed by Henry Morgenthau, Dean Acheson, George Kennan, Paul Nitze, the Dulles brothers, the Bundy brothers, JFK — you could go back to Albert Thayer Mahan and Teddy Roosevelt if you wanted; or James Monroe; or, depending on how fundamental you think empire is to America, 1619. He and Nixon chose to escalate in Vietnam and pursue the destruction of Cambodia. But the Pentagon Papers showed that the Vietnam War was the result of compounding decisions made in the Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson administrations. The Vietnamese guerilla and justice minister Truong Nhu Tang writes in his Viet Cong Memoir that Kissinger, whose intellect he praises, “inherited a conceptual framework from his American and French predecessors … that led him to disaster.”

Kissinger and Nixon turned that into Watergate — as Grandin pointed out earlier in this story, Watergate began with a demand for vengeance on Daniel Ellsberg, the anti-Kissinger, for leaking the Pentagon Papers. Watergate was a grim demonstration, for neither the first nor the last time, that the crimes America commits abroad have a dialectical relationship with the crimes that America commits at home. Infamy has as many fathers as victory.

That, ultimately, is why Kissinger died a celebrity, with the wealth necessary to get taken in by Theranos. It is why Roger Morris and Anthony Lake opted against telling the country that the commander-in-chief was an alcoholic who was secretly surveilling his real and imagined critics. Whatever Kissinger’s origins, whatever rants about Jewboys he had to endure, Kissinger was an exemplar of the self-confident geopolitical potency that America’s elites, whatever they might personally think of Henry Kissinger, want America to make the world respect. When the Roger Morrises and Anthony Lakes and Hillary Clintons see Henry Kissinger, they see, despite what they will rotely and euphemistically acknowledge as his flaws, themselves as they wish to be.

Kissinger lived for over half a century in the world he had made. He was its hubris. He could see that the Iraq war would be a disaster, but he went along with it anyway, declaring: “the case for removing Iraq’s capacity of mass destruction is extremely strong.” Kissinger’s calculation, expressed in the noblest possible way, is that acceptance of an impending disaster is the price of influencing and hence mitigating it. His accommodation to the inevitability of political decisions he thought were folly hearkened back to his 1968 embrace of Nixon. What were the lives of Vietnamese, Cambodians, or Iraqis compared to Kissinger’s opportunity to help shape history?

But Iraq, and the broader War on Terror that Kissinger wanted expanded lest it “pete[r] out into an intelligence operation while the rest of the region gradually slides back to the pre-9/11 pattern,” presaged the world Kissinger made coming apart at the foundations. The man who repositioned U.S. foreign policy as a wedge between Russia and China lived long enough to see the February 4 Declaration uniting Moscow and Beijing. The reactionary forces he encouraged at home and abroad are showing the world that the rules-based international order is about capitalism, not democracy.

Whatever bitterness Kissinger, in his final days, experienced over the erosion of his enterprise is little comfort to his millions of victims. America denied them the closure Kathleen Treanor experienced when America, declaring justice, ended Timothy McVeigh.
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From Rolling Stone:


GOOD RIDDANCE

Henry Kissinger, War Criminal Beloved by America’s Ruling Class, Finally Dies

The infamy of Nixon's foreign-policy architect sits, eternally, beside that of history's worst mass murderers. A deeper shame attaches to the country that celebrates him

BY SPENCER ACKERMAN
NOVEMBER 29, 2023


thanks for the copypasta, it was an entertaining read, although a bit deranged and riddled with inconsistencies.

still, it made some good points , and it sent me in search of other critiques from the left, because they are well deserved after all. so i found a great one in "the nation"

check it out: https://www.thenation.com/article/wo...nger-obituary/

early on it says this:

Kissinger has many devotees, and many of his obituaries will no doubt urge balance. Transgressions, they’ll say, need to be weighed against accomplishments: détente and subsequent arms treaties with the Soviet Union, opening up Communist China, and his shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East. It’s at this moment that the consequences of many of Kissinger’s policies will be redefined as “controversies” and consigned to opinion rather than to fact. In the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency, with the world convulsed by new wars of conquest, Kissinger’s “sober” statesmanship is, several commentators have recently claimed, needed more than ever.



hahaha, it's true of course. he uses the meta-obituary approach repeatedly in the piece to bring up the current mainstream take on kissinger. then he makes some really great analysis of all those points, and after much excellent arguing it all ends with this:



Kissinger is, of course, not singularly responsible for the evolution of the US national security state into the perpetual motion machine that it today has become. That history, starting with the 1947 National Security Act and running through the Cold War and now the War on Terror, comprises many different episodes and is populated by many different individuals. But Kissinger’s career courses through the decades like a bright red line, shedding spectral light on the road that has brought us to where we are now, from the jungles of Vietnam and Cambodia to the sands of the Persian Gulf to deadlock in Ukraine to moral bankruptcy in Gaza.

At the very least, we can learn from Kissinger, who unhesitatingly supported Gulf War One and Gulf War Two, and every war between and since, that the two defining concepts of United States foreign policy—realism and idealism—aren’t necessarily opposing values; rather, they reinforce each other. Idealism gets us into the quagmire of the moment; realism keeps us there while promising to get us out; and then idealism returns anew both to justify the realism and to overcome it in the next round. So it goes.




that's a great conclusion, and it suprised me. and everything before and between those paragraphs is well worth reading though. 100% recommended reading

anyway there is a link from that article with another earlier one by the same author, with a similar headline to the rolling stone article:

"Henry Kissinger, War Criminal—Still at Large at 100"

https://www.thenation.com/article/wo...mes-watergate/

goddamit, i fucking love "the nation".

-

eta: there is an article on chile memos that might interest you. unfortunately i can't access right now
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Old 11.30.2023, 05:44 PM   #1147
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It was this sort of unacceptable policy that prompted Kissinger to remark, during an intelligence meeting about two months before Allende’s election, “I don’t see why we need to stand idly by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people.”

Motherfucker. You know what, fuckit, I wish I had the military and economical power and influence to say, today, "I don't see why I need to stand idly by and watch the United States turn the world into an unlivable shithole due to the irresponsibility of its own people to elect Donald Trump" - then act on it with all my fucking might, and however many die, DIE. Trump himself didn't care how many of his "fellow American" died of Covid, so why should I give a flying fuck how many of them die in order to save the Earth. How's my realfuckingpolitik.
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Old 11.30.2023, 05:51 PM   #1148
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Motherfucker. You know what, fuckit, I wish I had the military and economical power and influence to say, today, "I don't see why I need to stand idly by and watch the United States turn the world into an unlivable shithole due to the irresponsibility of its own people to elect Donald Trump" - then act on it with all my fucking might, and however many die, DIE. Trump himself didn't care how many of his "fellow American" died of Covid, so why should I give a flying fuck how many of them die in order to save the Earth. How's my realfuckingpolitik.
yeah. that's basically how empire works. since way back when

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Nation
Kissinger’s existentialism laid the foundation for how he would defend his later policies—policies that brought death, destruction, and misery to millions of people. If history is already tragedy, and life is suffering, then absolution comes with a world-weary shrug. There isn’t much any one individual can do to make things worse than they already are.

reminds me in another way of the bhagavad gita, not sure if you've read...
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Old 11.30.2023, 06:02 PM   #1149
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reminds me in another way of the bhagavad gita, not sure if you've read...

I have. And I've heard it, in this scene from Oppenheimer which... Oh, I can't describe it , just watch it.
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Old 11.30.2023, 06:12 PM   #1150
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By the way, Nikki Haley said that if she becomes President , the US is out of every international organization you can imagine. Way to draw a line between you and the MAGAs, dumb bitch.
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Old 11.30.2023, 09:13 PM   #1151
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Old 12.01.2023, 08:37 AM   #1152
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"team parents" hahahaaaaaaaa

seems like he was the unwanted excuse for the 2 women to liberate their mamas

but don't say gay. oh no no
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Old 12.01.2023, 11:42 AM   #1153
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Originally Posted by !@#$%!
seems like he was the unwanted excuse for the 2 women to liberate their mamas

Yeah. Fascist Barbie there is several points above him.
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Old 12.01.2023, 12:12 PM   #1154
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George Santos Did the Unthinkable—He Made the GOP Finally Embarrassed for Itself

The expelled congressman was a walking clown show, but the Republican Party’s been a mortifying circus for years.
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Old 12.03.2023, 08:11 PM   #1155
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Originally Posted by _tunic_
R.I.P. Netherlands too

From Zakaria's newsletter:

Is the Far Right Now Mainstream?

That has been an open question since the electoral successes of Donald Trump, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Brazilian former President Jair Bolsonaro, and others. Further discussion has been spurred by vote results in the Netherlands, where far-right politician Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) won the most legislative seats (a projected 37 out of 150) on Nov. 22. Wilders has been the most-prominent far-right Dutch populist off and on for more than a decade, rising to prominence with sharp anti-Islam rhetoric.

Wilders “will still struggle to form a coalition government and to become prime minister” of the Netherlands, writes Financial Times columnist Gideon Rachman. But “(h)is success is part of a clear Europe-wide pattern. Political groups that were once dismissed as fringe far-right parties are gaining popularity—and in some places power.” Rachman cites Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, and Sweden. “The far right is also gaining ground in Germany and France. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) now regularly tops 20 per cent support in the polls, making it the second most popular party in Germany. On a recent trip to London, François Hollande, the former French president, told me that in his country ‘the far right have devoured the traditional right’. Polls suggest (far-right politician) Marine Le Pen may finally win the French presidency in 2027.”

In some cases, center-right parties now imitate their far-right competititors. Of the Dutch election, Alexander Clarkson writes for the World Politics Review: “In addition to emulating far-right rhetoric over migration, center-right and even some liberal leaders also echoed the far-right’s posture toward supposedly ‘woke’ issues involving gender and culture. In such an environment, much of what once defined the PVV (Wilders’ Dutch party) as radical and dangerous had become mainstream political discourse.”

The trend cuts both ways. As Caroline de Guyter writes for Foreign Policy, Wilders and other far-right European political leaders no longer seem so enamored of leaving the European Union, heeding lessons from Brexit and softening their stances.

As for why far-right support has become so prevalent, at Foreign Policy in Focus, John Feffer points to economic inequality, suggesting the structural driver of far-right affinity is well in place. Feffer writes: “The desire for profound change is surely understandable. The conditions that generated victories for the far right that I describe in my 2021 book Right Around the World have not changed in any substantial way. Economic globalization, after all, continues to benefit the few and burden the many. … Note that the far right has prospered in precisely the countries that have experienced this rising income inequality: Donald Trump in the United States, Narendra Modi in India, and Vladimir Putin in Russia, as well as Giorgia Meloni in Italy, Viktor Orbán in Hungary, and now Geert Wilders in the Netherlands.”
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Old 12.06.2023, 12:39 AM   #1156
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The latest chapter in the epic saga of Krugflation:

 


Inflation, disinflation and vibeflation

Maybe we could all be a little more optimistic about inflation

By Paul Krugman
Opinion Columnist


Over the past six months, the personal consumption expenditure deflator excluding food and energy — I know that’s a mouthful, but it’s the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of underlying inflation — has risen at an annual rate of only 2.5 percent, down from 5.7 percent in March 2022.

The Fed’s inflation target is 2 percent, so we’re not quite there yet. And you shouldn’t expect the Fed to declare victory any time soon. As I can tell you from personal experience, anyone suggesting that inflation is more or less under control can expect an avalanche of hate mail and hostile commentary on social media. In fact, I believe that the vehemence with which some Americans insist that inflation is still running wild distorts coverage in conventional media, too, because journalists are deterred from saying anything positive. And the Fed has to be especially careful, because it would lose credibility if inflation went back up after sounding too optimistic. The truth, however, is that inflation is looking very much like yesterday’s problem.

But wait — don’t real people have to buy food and energy? Well, there are good reasons for policymakers to look at “core” measures excluding components that jump around a lot, but in case you’re interested, prices including food and energy have risen at an annual rate of … 2.5 percent, the same as core inflation.

The more familiar Consumer Price Index is rising a bit faster, by 3 percent, but that’s entirely because it puts a higher weight on housing, which at this point is very much a lagging indicator.

What’s remarkable isn’t just the fact that we’ve made so much progress against inflation, but also the fact that this progress has seemed to come without any visible cost. So far, this has been “immaculate disinflation,” requiring neither a recession nor a large rise in unemployment.

Here’s a chart I find helpful for telling the story of inflation in recent years. The horizontal axis shows the fraction of adults between 25 and 54 who are employed, an indicator that is closely correlated with the unemployment rate but has seemed to be a bit better at measuring how “hot” the labor market is running. The vertical axis shows core inflation:

 


The blue dots at the bottom are annual numbers from 2000 to 2019, while the red line above shows the path since January 2021. Prepandemic, there was on average a modest positive relationship between employment and inflation, shown by the dotted line. But inflation went far higher than this relationship would have led you to expect, then rapidly came down without any significant loss in jobs.

So what explains this history, and how does it compare with economists’ predictions?

There were some big disagreements among economists here. Almost everyone, I think, was surprised by how easily we reduced inflation. But some were more surprised than others.

Here’s a schematic picture with three arrows starting from the high inflation, fairly high employment position we were in midway through 2022:

 


The curve labeled “LS” shows the very pessimistic view held by economists who believed that we would need to go through a period of large job losses and very high unemployment to get inflation down, the way we did after the 1970s. Yes, L.S. stands for Larry Summers, the most prominent advocate of that view, although he had plenty of company.

The arrow labeled “PK” shows the much more optimistic — but as it turned out, insufficiently optimistic — view held by economists who believed that getting inflation down would have some cost in terms of unemployment, but nothing like the stagflation of the 1970s and 1980s. P.K. stands for the obvious: In August 2022 I put out a newsletter explaining why I thought the analogy with the aftermath of the 1970s was all wrong. I was, in fact, baffled by the extreme pessimism I was hearing. More on that later.

But I didn’t think disinflation would be painless. I believed that the U.S. economy was overheated, with demand exceeding supply, and expected that correcting this imbalance would involve some pain. “Getting inflation down,” I wrote, “requires cooling the economy down, but not putting it through an extended slump.”

And who’s R.W.? That’s the real world, where getting inflation down didn’t require any job losses at all. How was that possible? Demand may have exceeded supply in 2022, but the gap appears to have been closed not by reducing demand but by increasing supply, as lingering disruptions from the pandemic were resolved.

I think those of us who weren’t quite optimistic enough can be forgiven for not seeing this coming, although I would say that, wouldn’t I? And I did believe that the Fed was justified in raising interest rates given what we knew at the time, although I’m quite worried now that the Fed has overdone it and should start cutting soon.

But where did the extreme pessimism of some of my colleagues come from?

Several economists had warned that the American Rescue Plan, the large spending bill passed early in the Biden administration, would be inflationary, warnings that appeared to be vindicated by the inflation surge of 2021-22. In retrospect, these economists may have been right for the wrong reasons, since inflation eventually surged, not only in America but almost everywhere:

 


This suggests that inflation may have had less to do with overspending than it did with pandemic-related disruptions; see the article by Claudia Sahm in “Quick Hits” below. But my big question is why so many economists predicted that the rapid initial rise in inflation would be followed by protracted stagflation.

The thing is, we have a standard story about why ’70s inflation was so hard to end, which relies on the way persistent inflation had become entrenched in expectations. But this clearly wasn’t the case in 2022. So while predictions of inflation in 2021 more or less reflected textbook macroeconomics, predicting stagflation after 2022 meant throwing out the textbook in favor of novel arguments for pessimism.

Furthermore, what struck me in 2022 was that the arguments that leading pessimists were making for persistent high inflation had no logical connection to the arguments they had made for a surge in inflation back in 2021. They were predicting the same thing but for completely different reasons. There was nothing linking the inflationist views of 2022 to those of 2021 except a shared pessimistic vibe.

And vibes are a poor basis for economic analysis. Indeed, vibe-based predictions of stagflation — vibeflation? — turn out to have been completely, you might say epically, wrong.


Quick Hits

Claudia Sahm on the vindication of the American Rescue Plan.

White House economists on how supply chain issues — and their resolution — explain a lot of what we’ve gone through.

Supply-side disinflation.

Bad feelings about a good economy? Only in America.
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Old 12.06.2023, 04:23 PM   #1157
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mccarthy is quitting congress!

yay
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Old 12.06.2023, 10:55 PM   #1158
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Maduro is annexing a huge chunk of Guyana to Venezuela. No, seriously. This is one of the craziest news I've read lately...
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Old 12.06.2023, 11:22 PM   #1159
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From Wonkette:

Quote:
Mike Johnson Will Show You J6 Tapes Once He’s Done Drawing Dicks On The Terrorists’ Faces AKA Destroying The Evidence

It's not terrorism when white fascist Christians do it.


Lunatic extremist House Speaker Mike Johnson is supposed to be releasing the SECRET January 6 tapes, the ones that don’t show a terrorist attack by MAGA pigfucks incited by Donald Trump to help overthrow the government. He’s got the SECRET tapes. The REAL ones. The tapes Mike Johnson has are full of patriots making out with Constitutions and Bibles and asking Capitol Police to show them how a bill becomes a law.

Just really nice tapes.

But he can’t show you them yet. He’s busy blurring out the faces of all the innocent patriotic Constitution Bible Kissers, and it’s taking FOREVER. He has to protect them from the tyrannical Joe Biden Justice Department that keeps indicting them like common terrorists, because Biden’s DOJ clearly doesn’t understand that if white Christian landowners do it, it’s not a crime.

Johnson explained yesterday that he’s very sorry it’s taking so long to blur out faces and draw mustaches and funny glasses on ‘em so Joe Biden can’t GIT ‘UM.

“As you know, we have to blur some of the faces of persons who participated in the events of that day because we don’t want them to be retaliated against and to be charged by the DOJ, and to have other concerns and problems. So, that’s a slow process to get it done; we’re working steadily on it. We’ve hired additional personnel to do that But all of those tapes ultimately will be out so everybody can see them and draw their own conclusions.”

‘Kay.

As Mediaite reminds us, Johnson had previously said all his secret tapes “provide millions of Americans, criminal defendants, public interest organizations, and the media an ability to see for themselves what happened that day, rather than having to rely upon the interpretation of a small group of government officials.”

Or their own lying eyes, if they happened to be watching the attacks play out live on television.

He said yesterday he wants to “trust the American people to reach their own conclusions.” Or, you know, whatever limited subset of the population Mike Johnson actually considers Americans. (All the fathers and sons who have an app to confess their devil boners to each other, you guys to the front!)

Of course it didn’t work when Kevin McCarthy gave all the tapes to Tucker, who spent literal days in his Unabomber she-shed trying to find footage to exonerate all Trump’s terror cell members.

Johnson’s got 44,000 hours of tape. He’s released 90. (Total patriots totally exonerated: zero.)
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Old 12.06.2023, 11:57 PM   #1160
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Maduro is annexing a huge chunk of Guyana to Venezuela. No, seriously. This is one of the craziest news I've read lately...
the bastards ran out of things to steal at home and want to go next door to expand their ruin!

fucker is like saruman or something...

also reminiscent of the malvinas fiasco in the 80s when the failing argentinisn junta was looking for a distraction from domestic problems...

brazil seems to be supporting guyana but it's lula not bolsonaro, so... idk. bolsitas was more aggressive towards maduro
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