Tag Archives: henry kissinger

Kissinger Redux, Again

27 Apr

Protesting KissingerHenry Kissinger is another of those iconic figures whom I alternately despise and admire.

I have been a close friend of Henry Kissinger’s for some time, but my relationship with him as a historical figure began decades ago. When I was growing up, the received wisdom painted him as the ogre of Vietnam. Later, as I experienced firsthand the stubborn realities of the developing world, and came to understand the task that a liberal polity like the United States faced in protecting its interests, Kissinger took his place among the other political philosophers whose books I consulted to make sense of it all. In the 1980s, when I was traveling through Central Europe and the Balkans, I encountered A World Restored, Kissinger’s first book, published in 1957, about the diplomatic aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. In that book, he laid out the significance of Austria as a “polyglot Empire [that] could never be part of a structure legitimized by nationalism,” and he offered a telling truth about Greece, where I had been living for most of the decade: whatever attraction the war for Greek independence had held for the literati of the 1820s, it was not born of “a revolution of middle-class origin to achieve political liberty,” he cautioned, “but a national movement with a religious basis.”

When policy makers disparage Kissinger in private, they tend to do so in a manner that reveals how much they measure themselves against him. The former secretary of state turns 90 this month. To mark his legacy, we need to begin in the 19th century.


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Today’s Singapore Photo

8 Jan
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Angles, originally uploaded by Life in AsiaNZ.

I just got overwhelmed in a couple Asia-related articles today, and so there won’t be a summary.

Eli Lake sent out an e-mailer on China Signals Thaw on Taiwan, and after firing off a quick response in the Comments section, I got trapped in the inner loop of a longer response.

Then, there’s Gordon G. Chang’s China, Sponsor of Hamas Terrorism, where he makes an argument for tracing Hamas’ rockets through Iran to Beijing.

And, if these aren’t provocative enough, mull “one big pimp for the u.s. military” without overheating.

Finally, Foreign Policy – why today? – lauds the opening of “ping-pong diplomacy” in PRC-US relations on April 6, 1971. I think I’ll wait for that day for a special sports and politics feature. But, really, NSC Adviser Henry Kissinger and President Richard Nixon had started communications with Beijing before that.

So, forgive me, my 5 loyal readers, I need to sleep on these stories.

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