When all is said and done, society always pays itself
with the counterfeit money of its dreams.
-- Marcel Mauss**--
To understand Henry Kissinger, you have to know where he came from.
His origin can be defined two ways.
(1) Bavaria, Germany was the birthplace of the Nazi Party and Henry Kissinger, aka haɪnts ˈalfʁɛt ˈkɪsɪŋɐ, in 1923. Persecuted by the Nazis because it was Jewish, his family immigrated to the United States when haɪnts was 15 years old.
A portentous question: is the Nazi past past?
Among others, Christopher Hitchens in his book The Trial of Henry Kissinger called for Kissinger´s prosecution "for war crimes, for crimes against humanity, and for offenses against common or customary or international law, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture."
We support calls for a trial; the evidence is probative. An independent, impartial, and international tribunal could put to rest the forty-year-old, international controversy swirling around Kissinger.
If a trial finds Kissinger innocent, he goes from the courtroom to a banquet with family and friends. If he is found guilty, well, things get interesting.
This post is not about a trial, however. We are going to explore unexplored territory with a question that has never been asked before. It flies in the face of everything you ever heard or read about Henry Kissinger. We will present our question in a moment.
On June 19, 1943, Kissinger was naturalized as a citizen of the United States. On that day, haɪnts became Henry.
(2) Harvard is Kissinger´s second birthplace. He entered as a student in 1947, and joined the faculty in 1954.
What is Harvard University? What does it do? Kissinger cannot be understood apart from Harvard´s role in society.
An up-to-the-minute case study takes us straight to the answer...
Washington is engaging in a full court press to counter the growing belief worldwide that China will replace America as the top world power. For the provocative results of the latest international Pew poll on the rise of China, click here.
China as Number 1? Dictating to the U.S.? Pillaging and plundering its precious resources? The mind wobbles. But, no need to panic. In fact, relax:
To the rescue rides Professor Joseph Nye, political scientist and former Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Nye´s white horse: his CNN article "A Key to America´s Power" (June 12, 2015).
Professor Nye calmly takes China in hand:
"A few years before his recent death, I asked Lee Kuan Yew, the former Prime Minister of Singapore and an astute observer of both the United States and China, whether he thought China would overtake the United States as the leading power of the 21st century. He said ´no,´ because the United States is able to re-create itself by attracting the best and brightest from the rest of the world and melding them into a diverse culture of creativity."
No problem. Immigration is America´s salvation. Immigrants will keep America on top.
Professor Nye acknowledges that "Population alone does not determine national power ... " Clear, no? No, because if you read the article you will see he immediately attaches a proverbial but. Incidentally, Professor Nye, population and immigration are not the same thing. More on mental laziness shortly.
In the meantime, thank god for Professor Nye. To help buttress his assuring and self-assured pro-immigration case, I will even offer an evidentiary exhibit: Henry Kissinger.
Here, our primrose path ends exactly as it began: abruptly.
The CNN article is slack-jawed claptrap. A book could be written explaining why that is the case. For our purposes two reasons suffice:
(1) Is there a meaningful correlation between immigration and power? To answer that question, we need to do what Professor Nye did not do: look at international data on immigration. For those data, click here.
To start to get an idea of the impact of immigrants on a national culture, the number that literally counts is not the gross total of immigrants in a country -- the U.S. leads the way -- but rather the percentage of a country´s population which immigrants constitute. At only 14%, the U.S. lags far behind other nations.
If Professor Nye´s argument is correct -- if power is to a significant extent a factor of immigration -- the most powerful state on earth should be Vatican City. 100% of its citizens are immigrants. I think I just heard Pope Francis chuckle in his ristretto. Or, is it that the Vatican´s immigrants are not the best and the brightest?
As noted above, along with immigration, Professor Nye added creativity to his tossed power salad. Are immigration, creativity and power related?
When considering the most powerful and creative nations, we shouldn´t overlook United Arab Emirates where immigrants are 84% of the population, Qatar (73%), Kuwait (70%), Caribbean Netherlands (66%). Gosh, all those movies from the Caribbean Netherlands (Saba, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius) flooding the world market; such great stuff -- everybody loves them ... makes you fear for Hollywood´s survival.
We realize we have not disabused Professor Nye of his belief that immigration begets power/creativity. As will be shown below, we are fully cognizant of the marching orders he has received concerning China: facts be damned; full speed ahead.
Whoa. Wait a second, Professor Nye ...
It is necessary to introduce an entirely new concept to the faculty of Harvard: spurious correlation. Simply because two items are significantly related statistically does not mean there is a cause-effect relationship between them. When I was an expert witness in federal court on politics, time and again our legal team confronted out-of-state Ivy Leaguer expert witnesses on statistics with the possibility that their correlations were spurious. Without exception, they gazed off into space. Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered.
If you think spurious correlations are exceptional, click here; you will find a trainload of them to enlighten and delight you. I especially like the one between the number of people who drowned in swimming pools and the films Nicolas Cage starred in. Nicolas, if you´re out there, for the sake of pool-goers everywhere, don´t you think it´s time to change careers, maybe take up directing?
(2) I will now do the unexpected. I rush to Professor Nye´s defense by saying he may not have written the CNN article bearing his name. If that is what happened, the only question is whether the real author was a sidekick research assistant or a budding b-squadder undergrad student.
I phrase the issue in those terms because, among other things, the CNN article amateurishly mixes and matches immigrants with foreign-born people. They are not the same. If you, dear reader, are 100% American from Ohio -- you were born in Dayton, your mom is a member of the Daughters of The American Revolution and your dad belongs to The Mayflower Society -- go on vacation in France where you/your wife gives birth, your child will forever be foreign-born but never an immigrant. Your offspring will also -- presumably -- never be president.
Putting your name on somebody else´s work is of course stealing. For readers who believe no university professor, let alone one from Harvard, would ever possibly do such a thing, all I can say is, get thee not to a nunnery but to graduate school. Your naivete will strike the faculty´s fancy in days, if not hours. Think: buzzards on a gut truck.
In reality, I doubt Professor Nye takes seriously his own argument. Don´t be surprised if one Sunday morning when pressed on Meet The Press, he de-Nyes it. Why, then, did he bother to present it? We will answer that question shortly; it is truly basic.
Why I believe Professor Nye is not fully committed to his pro-immigration position:
Last year there were 51 million refugees worldwide. Especially poignant these days are news broadcasts showing thousands of Africans risking their lives to escape by boat to Europe. If Professor Nye took seriously his contention that immigration begets power, he would be stalking the halls of Congress, button-holing politicians to accept the greater part of the 51 million refugees. After all, the more immigrants, the more power for America. Or is it that the Africans are not among the best and the brightest?
The best thing is, 51 million is only the start. In 2013, according to the UN, there were 213 million migrants in the world. Imagine all that power out there just waiting to be scooped up. It´s all so simple ... makes you wonder why nobody thought of it before.
The simple truth is Professor Nye is nowhere to be found among the legions of lawyers, lobbyists and other wall-leaners in the White House and Capitol Building. For that matter, unlike Angelina Jolie, he isn´t even lending a hand on UN World Refugee Day.
Sidebar: Henry Kissinger is not the only Harvard professor who is an immigrant and possible criminal. Working at Harvard right now is Jamil Mahuad, former president of Ecuador, who rubber-stamped the greatest corruption scandal in Latin American history. The Ecuadorian Government is demanding his extradition.*** So much for the best and the brightest from the rest of the world.
Obviously, factors other than immigration are involved in making a country powerful. Stuck on campus, imprisoned in the library, Professor Nye is unaware of them, or gives them short shrift. Especially noteworthy: he knows nothing of the recent change of, not in, the political system governing his own nation. To wit:
In 2008-9, the Second American Revolution took place.
The polity -- the oligarchy/democracy hybrid system created by the Founding Fathers in 1789 -- was replaced by the oligarchical system governing America today. That Second American Revolution reduced the polity´s democratic component to a residue; to ornamentation; to accessory hats and gloves. To counterfeit money.
Why Professor Nye looks the other way: he knows what is good for him when it comes to keeping his job at Harvard. We are about to develop that point.
The Second American Revolution means any quantitative and qualitative information from the period 1789-2007 -- the years of the polity -- regarding patents, immigration, founding of companies and so forth, should be viewed with extreme caution when applied to today. It is a new world out there. An oligarchy. By the way, its favorite rendezvous, watering hole and marriage market is Harvard. America´s den of inequality.
We come to the crux of the matter:
Best and the brightest; diverse culture of creativity: why would Professor Nye write (or put his name on) such an insipid, slab-dab article?
Answer: for the same reason CNN published it.
We come to the inner essence of Harvard -- what it does; why it exists.
50 years ago, the anthropologist Jules Henry identified the Ivy League´s raison d´être:
"All great cultures, and those moving in the direction of greatness, have an elite which might be called the cultural maximizers whose function is to maintain or push further the culture’s greatness and integration…The functions of a cultural maximizer include organization (i.e., maintaining the level of integration of the culture as it is) and contributing certain qualitative features necessary to the continuance of the cultural life. His function is never to alter the culture radically. He may help to give more intense expression to features that already exist, but he never wants to bring about a fundamental change. Thus, those who have the capacity to maximize culture in this sense are among the elite in all highly developed civilizations." (Culture Against Man, p. 31)
A cultural maximizer, in short, legitimizes the status quo and with it the powers that be. That is who Harvard is. In a word, a wordsmith. It peddles ideological wares, specifically democratic ornamentation.
When viewed in those terms, whether or not the CNN article is accurate or profound or even fits common sense is completely beside the point. By plastering a happy face on China overtaking America, Nye and CNN fulfilled their function. Shucks, if a big smiley button doesn´t make you feel all warm and gooey inside, nothing will. Have a nice day.
The above background brings us to this point:
What happens when a cultural maximizer/legitimizer leaves his sheltered life in a Ivory Tower in Boston and assumes another role -- not lecturing to bright-eyed 18-year-olds but confronting real leaders in the hard-knocks world?
Hard knocks actually understates the case because, unlike Kissinger, many of those leaders -- Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, Ho Chi Minh, Josip Broz Tito, Enver Hoxha, Houari Boumediene -- had to shoot their way to the top. No chickens there.
On September 22, 1973, Henry Kissinger left the Harvard nest. He became Secretary of State.
It was a fateful day. Henry became Henery.
* * *
I sense, dear reader, you are burning with curiosity. Why Henery?
For readers not familiar with Henery -- sometimes misspelled as Henry -- Hawk, Looney Tunes provided this summary:
"Henery's personality is that of a blustery loudmouth with an oddball accent, which makes him a somewhat odd foil for Foghorn ... In the typical Henery/Foghorn cartoon, Henery has struck out on his own for the first time, eager to capture (and presumably consume) a chicken. Having led a rather sheltered life, however, he doesn't know what a chicken looks like, only that chicken hawks eat them. Foghorn presumes that this diminutive, naïve troublemaker is no real threat to anyone; however, seeing the potential for annoyance, he points Henery in the direction of The Barnyard Dog. The remainder of the cartoon is usually consumed by the Dog and Leghorn alternately assuring Henery that the other is a chicken and encouraging him to attack mercilessly."****
Looney Tunes characters such as Bugs Bunny should not be dismissed as puerile kiddie fun; they are rooted in archetypes in the unconscious. The personage of Henery Hawk is profound indeed. It leads us straight to our question that has never been asked before:
Was Kissinger incompetent?
My initial suspicions about him emerged during the Vietnam peace talks in Paris, 1968-1973. Kissinger conducted the main negotiations with Lê Đức Thọ, veteran Vietnam politburo member. As I watched Henery waddle -- why not? The weight of the world, Western Civilization, freedom, peace, justice, truth, beauty, and democracy rested on his tiny shoulders -- in the courtyard of a French chateau, the entire mise en scene suddenly disintegrated into a cloud of fowl/foul dust in the wind. What does he have to negotiate: do we pull the troops out now or do we pull them out later?
Kissinger was acting out a dream concocted by the mainstream media -- Time and Newsweek in particular -- and relayed by overtly-covert cameras with telephoto lenses to TV new broadcasts back home. No backwater airport, no gaslight motel was exempt from the nightly barrage. For his part, Henery was never happier than in his self-assigned role of Noah in a New Flood.
The American dream began on October 27, 1972, when Kissinger dramatically informed the world that "peace is at hand." The pronunciamiento, made less than two weeks before the presidential election -- oh happy coincident -- was greeted with euphoria. Henery´s patron Richard Nixon won re-election in a blowout. The peace treaty with North Vietnam was signed on January 27, 1973.
Two years later, payment for The American Dream came due in real -- not counterfeit -- money. Kissinger´s entire jerry-rigged shebang crashed on April 30, 1975, when North Vietnamese troops entered Saigon.
Sidebar: After the defeat of America, the normal thing to do would be to off-ramp Henery as quickly as practicable. It didn´t happen. Richard Nixon rivaled if not exceeded Henery in weak/weaker/weakest common sense, a fact that is easily shown ...
On June 17, 1972, the Watergate Break-in occurred; five perpetrators were caught attempting to steal Democrat Party files and wiretap phones. We have all heard there are no absolute truths. However, it is absolutely true that the break-in was absolutely unnecessary. At the moment, Nixon was trouncing McGovern by almost 20% in the polls.
My observations and doubts about Kissinger in Paris were in no way original. 500 years ago, Shakespeare voiced them. A walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage ... a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Nothing. We will discuss later why there was never any need for a Paris peace conference in the first place. No need, either, for 1,313,000 deaths in Vietnam.
No need for Henery.
* * *
I think you will agree that it would be intriguing to have been in the room when Kissinger talked with foreign governments. What did he say? Sound like? Thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, today we can do exactly that.
Click here to download the transcript of a top secret State Department Memorandum of a luncheon held November 26, 1975, between Kissinger and the Foreign Minister Chatchai Chunhawan (or Chatichai Choonhavan) of Thailand. The meeting indeed was top secret; the word NODIS at the top of the memorandum means No Distribution, i.e., the memo is for the eyes only of the people on the distribution list.
We will now pass in review 10 items of the meeting. What you are about to read is based on my many years of experience as legislative assistant to a governor and as chief of staff to a Majority Floor Leader (read: second most powerful person) in a mean-as-snakes state House of Representatives. My duty for the Leader was -- mostly by building alliances on legislation but also a plethora of tricks, traps and maneuvers known in the trade as movidas -- to destroy a far-rightist coalition that had seized control of the House by one vote. It took us two years, but we succeeded.
Please do not attempt to compare my political trench warfare and Henery´s Harvard and State Department world. There isn´t any.
To set the stage for the Chatichai-Kissinger meeting: (i) only seven months had passed since North Vietnam won the war and the genocidal Pol Pot**** came to power in Cambodia. (ii) President Nixon had quit in disgrace 13 months earlier; former Vice-President Gerald Ford was president. (iii) Finally, Chatichai/Thailand had been staunch U.S. allies during the war; from 1966-75, U-Tapao Airfield served as a base for B52s to bomb Vietnam.
1. Chatichai told Kissinger that Ieng Sary had recently flown to Thailand in search of salt and fish. Ieng Sary was Foreign Minister and Brother Number 3 in Pol Pot´s regime. Arrested in 2007, he was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Was there a hidden affinity between Ieng Sary and Kissinger? As indicated, the definitive answer awaits the decision of an independent, impartial, and international tribunal.
One thing is certain. Thanks to the secret memorandum, if he is ever brought to trial Kissinger cannot plead ignorance of Cambodian genocide. At the outset -- remember, the meeting was held in 1975 -- Kissinger knew what Pol Pot was doing. He asked Chatichai about Ieng Sary: "How many people did he kill? Tens of thousands?"
At this point Philip Habib, Kissinger´s Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, chimed in: "Nice and quietly!!" I must say, sometimes it sure is hard to get noticed. As we shall see, Habib´s vain attempt at humor was not the only clumsy and naive American effusion the secret memo exhibited.
America´s full knowledge of Pol Pot´s genocide is acknowledged: that is a juridical turning point. In that respect, Habib, supposedly a diplomatic whirlwind wunderkind and expert poker player, pointlessly laid his hole card face up on the table.
A more tactful phrasing when dealing with probable but unproven crimes: "We hear that ... " or "Our sources indicate ... " In most nations any individual, including Ieng Sary, is innocent until proven guilty (and he was) -- a civilized protocol of which Henery may need to avail himself someday.
Chatichai attempted to bring back something about Cambodia that was drifting away: common sense. He yanked Kissinger´s chain: "Not more than 10,000. That´s why they need food. If they had killed everyone, they would not need salt and fish."
Chatichai´s basic perception of Kissinger is thereby revealed. Henery´s inflation required an inflated response to deflate it. Having served as Cambodia´s Military Attaché in Washington and been trained at the Army Armor School in Fort Knox -- his classmates were Alexander Haig and Spiro Agnew -- Chatichai knew that subtlety would get him nowhere with the man sitting in front of him. It must have grieved him deeply.
2. Blissfully unaware of the ddduuuhhh slap in the face he received, Kissinger forged on: "What do the Cambodians think of the United States? You should tell them we bear no hostility toward them. We would like them to be independent as a counterweight to North Vietnam." Brother, indeed.
(i) Chatichai knew a throwaway question when he saw one and did not bother to answer it. Kissinger could have cared less about Cambodian opinion of America; on the other hand, he cared -- deeply so -- about something else. We will see what it was in a moment.
(ii) No hostility meant Pol Pot´s genocide was, for Henery, a nonissue. No problem; you can almost see Kissinger wave his hand in the air. He subsequently repeated his position in even more straightforward terms: "You should also tell the Cambodians we want to be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won´t let that stand in our way. We are prepared to improve relations with them."
(iii) Counterweight to North Vietnam: there it is. Henery disclosed what he wanted. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you; in case Chatichai missed it and needed to be hit over the head, Henery repeated three times his desire -- make that, craving -- for a counterweight to Vietnam.
Kissinger thus followed Habib´s lead and turned his hole card face up. In the rough and tumble political world a universe away from Ivy Leaguers and ivory towers, you have to deal every day with people who have the following watchword: tell me what a man wants and I will tell you his weakness. Had Henery been real quiet -- something which was not in his repertoire of responses -- he would have heard Chatichai chortling inwardly.
(iv) You should tell Pol Pot and his henchmen ... It becomes apparent that Henery was not shy about telling other people what they should say, what they should do. Call it what you will, it still remains the same: a blustery loudmouth.
"We would not oppose ...", "It would be constructive if ...": more tactful and effective ways of saying the same thing are numerous. It is sad that Henery was ignorant of them. Diplomatically tone deaf. Even so, Chatichai was probably not shocked by Henery´s imperial manner. He knew from experience that American diplomats are among the least diplomatic persons on the planet. The reason is an open secret: they represent property, not people.
3. Chatichai: "Are you a member of the Domino Club?"
Kissinger: "I am."
The Domino Theory was that if the North Vietnamese communists won in South Vietnam they would go on to invade other countries, eventually conquering all Southeast Asia.
The Domino Theory consisted of two deep, learned, philosophical precepts that govern American foreign relations. They are simultaneously the tap root and extent of Henery´s tactical "thinking" about international affairs.
(i) If you give ´em an inch, they´ll take a mile.
(ii) My enemy´s enemy is my friend. I defy any reader to engage in an hour-long conversation with a State Department employee without hearing that precept at least once. You just saw a vintage example: Vietnam is our enemy. Pol Pot is Vietnam´s enemy. Therefore, Pol Pot is our friend. Such impeccable logic from a Harvard professor.
I will now belabor the obvious. The post-1975 world has proven The Domino Theory to be utter hogwash. However, it sold the Vietnam War to the American public who bought the theory lock, stock, and barrel ... up to a point. In August 1968, for the first time a majority of Americans thought sending troops to Vietnam was a mistake.
Kissinger´s embrace of The Domino Theory brings to light a fundamental truth about him:
In politics, there are two groups of men: those who seek symbolic/abstract rewards and those who want concrete ones.
Henery was squarely in Group 1. In seeking a counterweight to Vietnam, he was preoccupied with power relationships among nations. Those relationships are in no way comparable to tactile objects in the world of sense-experience.
Such men are easily handled. A baked potato at the palace and an autographed picture with Mr. Big, and off they go, self-assured, satisfied. I have seen it hundreds of times.
Group 2 men are literally harder to deal with. They are brick and mortar guys. Ieng Sary was an example; he wanted salt and fish. Nothing abstract there; no ideological wares to peddle. No counterfeit money.
Chatichai was also in Group 2. We will see in a minute what he wanted.
In a showdown, brick and mortar men win. The reason is not hard to find. If their project -- a hospital, a highway, an army base -- happens, it is there for all to see. Case closed; over and out. Game over. The closure of tangible asset projects means such men can be manipulated but not controlled.
To the contrary, because what they seek is intangible, men who pursue symbolic rewards can be both manipulated and controlled. Their project never ends because the lures never cease; friends and foes alike make sure of it. The upshot is that seekers of symbolic rewards are trapped in a ceaseless present without past or future; of just one more step if you really want to be free.
(4) Henery spelled out his symbolic/abstract goal:
Kissinger: "We would prefer to have Laos and Cambodia aligned with China rather than with North Vietnam. We would try to encourage this if that is what you want."
Chatichai: "Yes, we would like you to do that."
Henery: "And then after we do it you can kick us around. You can call [Thailand´s] Ambassador Anan home and thereby keep the students happy."
(i) Kissinger´s wise-cracking manifested itself at the start of the meeting in jokes about China giving away Mongolia and comparing China´s airlines to Eastern Airlines -- "Eastern" Airlines, get it? Like Obama, his idea of a statesman is not Mahatma Gandhi or Winston Churchill, Pericles or Abraham Lincoln, but a hybrid Johnny Carson and Julius Caesar.
Henery´s misconception of a statesman is readily understandable; it was what he saw all around him. He had inherited a State Department -- personified by the hapless Habib -- which was an Amateur Hour in search of a Ted Mack.
(ii) After we do it. Henery considers an abstract relationship -- a political alignment -- to be something that can be finalized like a brick and mortar project, e.g., a new hospital. In reality, a political alignment is better compared to doing the dishes: it never gets "done."
For his part, Chatichai with an almost audible shrug gave a throwaway answer -- it´s o.k. with us -- to Kissinger´s abstract offer. As we shall see, unlike Henery, he was hunting tangible game.
(iii) Kissinger´s joke about the Cambodian students showed he was a man concerned above everything else with appearances. I will say it again: politically tone-deaf. He did not see or hear what everybody else saw and heard two feet behind him. Via massive street demonstrations, college students changed American public sentiment and forced Nixon and Henery out of Vietnam. Kissinger´s total disregard of public opinion is explained below.
The line between wise-cracking and being a smart ass is difficult to walk. The secret memo demonstrated that Henery´s attempts to navigate it were not always successful.
Chatichai already knew that Kissinger was blinded by appearances.
In 1973, Kissinger and Le Duc Tho were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Henery grabbed his award and the money that went with it, whereas Le Duc Tho refused them, noting that peace had not yet come to Vietnam. By the way, in the Kissinger peace prize affair, Le Duc Tho wasn´t the only one to behave with integrity and substance; two members of the Nobel Committee resigned in protest. If one picture is worth a thousand words, one act is worth a thousand pictures.
As we will show shortly, Chatichai received loud and clear Henery´s message that appearances are what count, and used it.
(5) Henery: "The North Vietnamese have to be the meanest people in the world. The North Koreans and Albanians are pretty difficult, but the North Vietnamese are by far the worst. They can lie to you effortlessly."
Kissinger´s sheltered existence as a Harvard cultural maximizer comes roaring to the foreground. Gosh, you mean politicians sometimes ... lie? How awful. Who ya´ gonna call? His righteous indignation fell on deaf ears; there was no follow-up by Chatichai. The Bill Murray Ghostbusters dictum, "We came, we saw, we kicked its ass," thus went by the wayside.
Being 90% controlled by his unconscious, Kissinger´s petty moralizing revealed more about him than about the North Vietnamese. He didn´t just tip his hand; he shoved it in Chatichai´s face. Ours, too ...
Meanest people in the world. Lie to you effortlessly. I am personally embarrassed by the Vietnam war. I was not pleased with the Vietnam War. All that in the course of a short luncheon.
Personally embarrassed is a euphemism for humiliated. We now know Kissinger´s innermost secret.
Henery hated North Vietnam for having won the war against America. However, he more than let a personal grudge guide him. He was obsessed with revenge. The tragedy was that America unknowingly tagged along. The ultimate consequence could yet turn out to be among the greatest catastrophes in world history (more to follow).
The hidden core of Henery´s foreign policy should come as no surprise. Forget the ballyhooed Kissinger realpolitik -- balance of power; spheres of influence; pragmatism; objective practical exigencies. All were covers, rationalizations. In truth, Henery sat around all day and hated. For all we know, he still does.
You doubt what I just said? In the following dialogue, Kissinger´s loathing of the Vietnamese boils over. I almost fell out of my chair when I read it.
Chatichai: "We talked with Phan Haen and he asked about you."
Chatichai: "Do you remember Phan Haen? He is the Vice Foreign Minister now ... He was on the North Vietnamese delegation to Paris. He was the one with the smooth black hair."
Before continuing the dialogue, I feel compelled to interject an ironclad rule. If you want to make it in politics, you have to be able to remember names. Henery´s forgetfulness shows that he was not focusing on the players -- "tracking" as politicians call it. A fatal fault -- here is why:
In dealing with political allies and enemies, you must know for starters who the other person is in instrumental terms, i.e., what he values. His Who? demonstrates Kissinger was not interested in getting the psychological lay of the land. He had other priorities.
Sadly, Henery´s Who? dialogue demonstrates something else ...
When the meeting occurred, Henery was working for President Gerald Ford, that is to say, the Republican establishment. That fact invited a certain assumption. Was it true or false?
Chatichai sought verification/rejection. He got it in spades. In the process, we did too.
To understand where Chatichi was headed with his smooth black hair observation, I evoke a French expression: tendre la perche. You hold out a perch to see if a bird will alight on it.
On laughter-silvered wings, Henery flew straight to it.
Kissinger: "Oh, that´s really helpful. You mean there are Vietnamese with curly hair?"
Chatichai: "No. He was the one with the really smooth hair. He had it slicked back like Rudolph Valentino."
Kissinger: "Are there any blond Vietnamese?"
I grew up in the racist South. Henery´s kewpie phraseology doesn´t fool me for a second. He was engaging in a double discourse that attempts to pass off hurtful as harmless.
Crypto-racism must be (i) recognized for what it is and (ii) immediately, directly confronted. I am pleased to say that, as evidenced in last month´s Donald Trump/Mexican rapists affair, the world has come a long way in learning both lessons.
Why beat around the bush? What is coming next is best expressed by a Spanish word, sobreentendido. It means over-understood, i.e., not just understood by one person but understood by many people over space and time, without having to be expressed verbally. In other words, an open secret. The fact that you already know what I am about to say is a perfect example.
Henery´s over-understood reference point: once you´ve seen one slanty-eyed gook, you´ve seen ´em all.
I don´t know about you, dear reader, but for me Henery´s obvious disguise (think: dark glasses indoors), the whole disgraceful double entendre, give rise to a disquieting question. What does Kissinger think of all the rest of us goyim out there when he turns out the lights, fluffs his pillow?
Sidebar: If you believe that Jews -- who should know better given what they have been through -- are incapable of racism, click here for last month´s black-and-weak joke by the wife of Silvan Shalom, the Interior Minister of Israel.
There is nothing like a solid contrast to help put things in perspective:
Compare Henery´s bitterness at having been out-maneuvered and defeated by North Vietnam with the forgiveness expressed by Kim Phuc, the napalm-burned girl in the iconic 1972 Vietnam war picture.
I don´t know if racism on the part of a Jew who personally experienced hatred and discrimination by Nazis in Germany is a sin. I do know it makes him small. An annoyance.
I close this sad point with two quick notes:
(i) Henery´s regrettable discourse revealed his unabashed, unabridged ignorance of Vietnam.
Reality Therapy Time -- Vietnam has over 50 ethnic groups. Among them are 270 thousand Ede or Rade. Look at the photos, dear reader -- decide for yourself.
(ii) Kissinger´s boorishness is compounded by the fact that many of the Ede/Rade sided with the United States during the war. That´s gratitude for you.
(5) Was Kissinger a tough, astute negotiator? Super K? A genius?
The luncheon with Chatichai was of course not a negotiating session with North Vietnam. However, Kissinger let slip this glimpse into what happened in the peace negotiations:
Kissinger: "Anyway, the Vietnamese in Paris used to make the same speech every morning. They used to say that if we would make a major effort, they would make a major effort. One morning the leader of the Vietnamese delegation said that if we would make a major effort, they would make an effort ... I asked whether I had understood or whether he had in fact dropped an adjective. He explained that yesterday they had made a major effort, but we had only made an effort. So today we would have to make a major effort and they in turn would only make an effort."
Chatichai: "That´s very interesting."
Very, very interesting. It shows in a nutshell how Henery ended up being taken in.
(i) Whose game will we play? That is the perennial Question Number 1. He who decides it wins the game. Boxers with sixth grade educations intuit that fact; they try to sucker the opponent into fighting their fight, not his. For a classic demonstration, click here. On occasion, boxers use another strategy to not merely win but to show mastery; we will present a political equivalent shortly.
(ii) The game is determined by its agenda. That agenda starts with this issue: what will we talk about?
Major/minor effort: the Vietnamese were attempting to set the topic of discussion; the fact they brought up the effort issue every morning meant they were 100% conscious of what they were doing. They were hoping to succeed by attrition. Henery naively listened, played along -- I say that because this bit of gamesmanship on Hanoi´s part annoyed him, stuck in his craw. The fact it was repeated over and over meant he did not know how to resolve it.
Instead of whining after the peace talks ended, Kissinger should have read the North Vietnamese their own riot act:
(a) Major/minor effort: I´m so glad you brought up this subject.
(b) Put a book on the table: Mao´s On Contradiction.
(c) Launch a two-hour lecture why major/minor efforts are not comparable to Mao´s principal versus non-principal contradictions; rather, if anything, being only "efforts," they are among non-principal contradictions.
(d) The "major" effort you claim you made was in reality no such thing. The reason why is that ...
The entire North Vietnamese ploy would have been identified, named, torpedoed, capsized. They would have been engaged in their own fight on their own turf on their own terms, and lost. The morning ritual would have vanished.
Strangely, Kissinger The Cultural Maximizer failed to maximize. The Harvard wordsmith was at a loss for words. I suspect he never read On Contradiction. Makes you wonder what Kissinger did, exactly, during all those years in Boston.
(iii) Kissinger´s glimpse into the Paris peace conference exhibited a third tactic employed by successful negotiators.
Major effort, minor effort: the North Vietnamese set themselves up as the definers of those terms. We made a "major effort"; now it´s your turn to match it.
He who makes the rules wins the game. After determining (i) what will we talk about and (ii) setting the agenda for doing so, the third key to making the rules is (iii) controlling the definitions.
Kissinger showed no awareness whatsoever of those three dynamics. The upshot is he is left now, 40 years later, to ponder, ponder, ponder. Would-a/could-a/should-a; would-a/could-a/should-a ... The words keep coming back, firing like a machine gun. The memories are inconsolable. Whether at home alone or in restaurants/bars with hangers-on, losers in politics are condemned for the rest of their lives to play over and over again in their heads what went wrong.
The winners, on the contrary, tell funny stories.
Corollary: now you know why Henery´s jokes in the Chatichai meeting are not funny.
The following dialogue shows not only that Kissinger endlessly runs the Vietnam tape in his head but also that he seeks symbolic/abstract rewards. It also indicates something else:
Henery: "We don´t mind Chinese influence in Cambodia to balance North Vietnam. As I told the Chinese when we last met when we were discussing the Vietnamese victory in Indochina, it is possible to have an ideological victory which is a geopolitical defeat. The Chinese did not disagree with me."
In that commentary Henery´s lack of interest in the psychology of other people is again featured center ring.
In talking with the Chinese, who was sitting two feet in front of him? What were their values?
In 1975, the Chinese leadership was solidly communist. In the Marxist framework, Henery´s ideology/geopolitical comment was complete gibberish. Here´s why:
Marx´s perspective is in his Preface to A Contribution to The Critique of Political Economy:
"In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness ... it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic – in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out."
For Marxists, ideology and politics are parts of the same superstructure. Hence, the Chinese thought Kissinger was making a false dichotomy when he made them separate and distinct. If the Chinese did not openly disagree with Henery, it was because from their perspective it was superfluous to debate the supercilious.
If Kissinger meant that Vietnam´s military victory would be transformed and limited to a purely ideological one provided that Vietnam was geopolitically balanced and isolated, the implications are even more absurd -- potentially disastrous -- as will be shown below.
(6) Henery´s concern for appearances and his late night TV yukster bantering continued:
Kissinger: "I like the [American] residence in Bangkok very much. It is a very nice house."
Chatichai: "The Thai Government owns it."
Habib: "And we get it for a very low rent."
Kissinger: "If you ever want a really tough negotiation with the United States, just mess around with our housing. You can form an alliance with the Soviets ... and you´ll only get a very mild protest. But if you interfere with our housing, then you will really have a problem on your hands."
Chatichai: "We only charge you $200 a month for the residence in Bangkok."
Kissinger: "I´ll go to Bangkok and move in."
Behind the jocular talk-show host repartee is the fact that Kissinger applied typical, university faculty politics to international relations with foreign powers. They have nothing in common.
Most university professors have as a top priority a free parking space. Deans are keenly aware of that fact; they manipulate it year after year. To underscore the difference with international affairs: try offering free parking to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of ISIS. See where it gets you. P.S. Don´t forget to duck.
In the end, Henery never left Harvard. He never truly graduated. Had he done so he would have seen where Chatichai was headed with his low/lower/lowest $200 rental fee for a very nice house -- a ploy that Kissinger and Habib incredibly and credulously brought up on their own initiative and got hit with.
(7) Kissinger: "What are the problems between the United States and Thailand?"
Chatichai: "There are none. I just came to reaffirm our friendly relations. There is only one problem. Our armed forces equipment is very old. We have no ammunition plants ..."
Kissinger (a short time later): "Our policy is to preserve the independence of Southeast Asian countries. We will help you modernize your forces ... We will seek increased FMS and MAP****** ... We want Thailand to be strong."
No boxer, Henery was boxed in by his own goal which he foolishly laid face up on the table. Thailand´s participation in the U.S. counterweight strategy to Vietnam + Thailand´s low rent for a very nice house = megabucks for Thailand´s military. Shucks ... it´s only right, fair.
Gold was what Chatichai wanted; gold is what he got. Real, not counterfeit, money. Taking a cue from Lieutenant Columbo, he even tacked on a deliberately-inadvertent oh-by-the-way:
Chatichai: "We would also like your help in making Utapao an international airport ..."
Habib: "It would be very expensive."
Chatichai: "The Thai air force wants to keep Korat, but Utapao could be made into a civilian international airport."
Kisssinger: "That would seem to be all right."
Visions of sugarplums danced in Chatichai´s head. We don´t know what happened; necessary information is lacking. We do know, however, Chatichai´s second wish came true, at least partly. Today, U-Tapao International Airport is a joint civilian-military operation.
How Chatichai used the order and timing of his requests to get mega-bucks requires a brief digression:
When I was chief of staff for a Majority Floor Leader, we would sometimes give a freshman lawmaker three bills to sponsor. The first two were of no importance. The third bill, potentially controversial, was the real deal. It was a major leadership measure. But why hand it to an inexperienced newcomer to carry?
When the three bills arrived on the House floor, the lawmakers would subject the freshman to a time-honored rite of passage. His first and second bills would be humiliatingly, resoundingly trashed. The third bill, to the contrary, would pass by a wide margin. All the lawmakers would rise to their feet and joyfully applaud their now full-fledged colleague for his first bill passage.
The order of presentation of legislation on the floor was of course the key. That order was determined by the Chief Clerk who was under our thumb.
Given the hostile environment we faced -- we were in the minority -- the three-bill ploy was literally a case of putting one over on somebody. It worked like a charm.
I can tell by his exogenous (1975 -- the war was over) and endogenous (placement in the luncheon discussion) timing, Chatichai was employing a similar tactic. Seems all right: being inexperienced with such machinations, Henery was easily set up, duped.
(8) On three separate occasions, Henery messed in his own nest.
(i) Kissinger: "It is very embarrassing for me as a foreign minister to have to tell you this. The situation should improve after the elections. At the present time, you see, we have a non-elected President and the Congress is not afraid to oppose him. In addition, this Congress was elected immediately after Watergate."
Brent Scowcroft, National Security Advisor (later): "This Congress is impossible."
The situation did in fact improve after the 1976 elections, but not in the way Henery predicted. President Ford lost to Jimmy Carter -- and Henery lost his job to Cyrus Vance. Chatichai and everybody else at the meeting would be left to ruminate: Kissinger called the presidential election dead wrong. So, what else was he wrong about?
Kissinger made an automatic connection between a non-elected president and a resistant Congress. In truth, there is no connection. One non-elected President who worked famously well with Congress: Lyndon Johnson. Kissinger should have been aware of that fact -- he had been employed by Johnson in the early stages of the Vietnam peace conference. Henery betrayed LBJ and the Democrats by secretly passing up-to-the-minute information on the conference to Richard Nixon who used it to derail the 1968 presidential campaign of Hubert Humphry, LBJ´s Vice-President.
That leaves us with a dilemma regarding the non-elected president/Congress relationship. Was Kissinger simply ignorant or was he lying to Chatichai? As always, the decision is yours, dear reader. However, before you make it, I offer a third option: both.
(ii) Kissinger: "I am personally embarrassed by the Vietnam War. I believe that if you go to war, you go to win, not to lose with moderation."
That unbelievable bit of back-stabbing of his bosses past and present -- Presidents LBJ, Nixon, and Ford -- should come as no surprise given what has come to light about Henery´s treachery of LBJ.
If you truly disagree with your president on major policies, there is an honorable option to betraying him: resign your post. Of course, for a man obsessed with appearances, that option does not exist.
(iii) Chatichai noted the Vietnamese were demanding the return of aircraft flown out of their country when the war ended. The American media had published photos of the aircraft.
Kissinger: "That was really unbelievable. What a brilliant idea to take such pictures, but then you cannot do anything about our press."
Chatichai (later). "On our side, it is all O.K. There is no problem. It is only on your side -- with your press -- that there seems to be any problem."
Kissinger: "The press is impossible."
Chatichai: "Ours is also troublesome. The problem is now that we have too much democracy."
Too much democracy. Here, Chatichai was psychologically mirroring Henery´s impossible remark, viz., he was telling Henery what he thought Henery wanted to hear. Mirroring is an essential tool for building rapport, which Chatichai needed to strike gold. Oriental culture employs mirroring and imitation far more than Western culture. I suspect it is the result of population density pressures; nothing "inscrutable" there. We saw above another example of mirroring or imitation in Professor´s Nye´s interview with Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore, who told Nye what he thought Nye wanted to hear about immigration. The Prime Minister hit the bullseye.
As for the actual phenomenon of too much democracy: not to worry, Gentlemen, it would take 30 years but the Second American Revolution would solve the nasty problems of too much democracy and a concomitant troublesome press.
(i) Division in the face of outsiders is never a wise or courageous policy. On hearing Kissinger´s whining about his fellow Americans, it was Chatichai´s turn to almost fall out of his chair.
(ii) A government is only as good as the media reporting it. That means the United States is in dire straights, probably fatal.
(9) We return to what Chatichai wanted:
Chatichai: "What we would really like to do is build an ammunition plant for all ASEAN******* countries."
Henery: "Can we help with that?"
Habib: "Yes, perhaps through a joint venture. As [Chatichai] suggested, we would try an interest American companies in such a project."
Can we help with that? Anyone who doubts the existence of a military industrial complex or Kissinger´s participation in it should read that dialogue again. They should also read the warning that President Eisenhower, who introduced the term and understood it far better than Henery or Habib, made in his 1961 farewell address:
"Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.
Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.
This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."
Ike made his commentary back when the polity -- the democracy/oligarchy hybrid built by the Founding Fathers in 1789 -- ruled America. Kissinger was a signature member of the club that steadily undercut the polity´s democratic component; belittled and domesticated the mass media; and buttressed the military-industrial complex. As indicated, at the time of the Kissinger-Chatichai luncheon, the club had 30 years to go before achieving its goal: the replacement of the polity by an oligarchy.
Security and liberty prospering together. Eisenhower´s world of principles, which were those of the polity, is a universe way from today´s oligarchic government by photo-op.
* * *
(10) Our tenth and final observation of the secret memo deserves a section unto itself.
We return to a comment we made earlier. The million-plus deaths in Vietnam and the Paris peace conference should never have happened. Why?
The Vietnam War should never have happened.
During World War II, the United States and Ho Chi Minh were close allies against the Japanese. For an account of that alliance, click here. How and why, then, did they become enemies?
In the years that followed the defeat of Japan
"Ho Chi Minh continued to write letters of a diplomatic nature to President Harry Truman, asking for U.S. aid, but the letters were never answered. Ho didn’t break with the United States until the Americans gradually became involved with the French in working against the Vietnamese in the 1950s.
Although OSS [forerunner of the CIA] agents clearly played a role in Indochina during the World War II, clear causes and effects with regard to the future U.S.-Vietnamese conflict are far more cloudy."
This blog fully recognizes the U.S.A.-Ho Chi Minh alliance. In so doing, we arrive at the policy that is the direct opposite of what Kissinger and the Washington establishment pursued:
The United States committed one of the biggest political blunders of the twentieth century when it broke with Ho Chi Minh. It let ideological concerns prevail over strategic ones. Yes, Ho was a communist, but as Yugoslavia´s Josep Broz Tito proved in guiding his country to independence from Stalin, there are communists and there are communists.
The U.S.A./Ho Chi Minh alliance brings us to geopolitical considerations.
You want to see, dear reader, what true realpolitik in international affairs looks like? With the possible exception of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, America´s foreign policy has been devoid of realpolitik since FDR died in 1945.
Forget Walky Talky Hawky. Forget personalities. Forget hate, vengeance, misty water-colored memories and any other personal preference. Forget ideology. Realpolitik is the exact opposite of the principles and practices of Kissinger, the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon, and the CIA.
You Washingtonians out there: in what follows one of us is right, the other is wrong.
The core of realpolitik, coalition building, is presented in William Riker´s book, The Theory of Political Coalitions. Riker employed game theory. From what Henery said in the luncheon, he never read Riker´s book, or if he read it he didn´t understand it. The work is filled with calculus that would have been over his head.
In a nutshell, this is Riker´s basic premise. The coalition which wins is the minimal one required to take control:
An example. Let´s imagine a five-party system after a general election. The representation is given:
Party A 5. Party B 40. Party C 26. Party D 25. Party E 4. Sum: 100 representatives. We now have three possible winning coalitions:
Party B and C = 66 representatives. Party B and D = 65 representatives. Party C and D = 51 representatives. If we now presume that the power will be divided according to strength within the coalition, the parties will prefer the largest relative size within the coalition. The result is that the coalition "Party C and D" will be the winning coalition. The largest party is thus kept from power.
Political realities severely modify Riker´s premise. Most importantly, the above example assumes the parties are impregnable blocks, but in practice, if worked properly, you can usually break off a few members. (Thus, Party B, the biggest, could unite with the two smallest parties, A and E, then scrape up the missing 2 votes in Party D needed for control. That way the biggest party gains power and locks out Party C, the second largest.********). Also, tradition, distrust, long-standing personal friendships and feuds among party leaders can prevent them from doing the "rational" thing and uniting for control.
It goes without saying that coalition building requires an intimate knowledge of the individual players. Who are they? What are their interests? What do they want? Again, Henery never displayed the slightest interest in those concerns. He had other priorities; as will be discussed, he was lost in his own self-inflated world.
Despite its deficiencies, Riker´s analysis is sound where it counts: he makes you think. During years of coalition building -- and destroying -- in a House of Representatives, I always kept Riker´s observations in mind. They bring me to this point:
Where Kissinger was disastrously wrong in Southeast Asia:
The two biggest players militarily and economically in the area are the United States and China. Let us assume they are Parties B and C respectively. Obviously, if they formed a coalition they would dominate the region; however, there would be no rational reason for the United States to form a coalition with China:
(i) That coalition would result in far more power -- 66% -- than the United States needed to take control.
(ii) Because it had more to offer, the price China would, could, and should demand for making a coalition with the U.S. would be high relative to the price demanded by smaller, weaker nations.
(iii) From a realpolitik standpoint, a China/United States coalition could only be temporary.
Assuming China obtained the high price it demanded, it would be advantageous for it to coalesce with America -- but only as a holding action. The reason is that
(iv) even if the United States paid the high price China demanded, China could still, over time, build its own coalition with smaller nations and freeze out the United States. What was just said about America and the smaller nations applies to China as well. That way, Number 2 would become Number 1. That is precisely what is happening now. China is practicing realpolitik; the United States is not.
Amazingly, a United States/China coalition is what Kissinger aimed for. From the standpoint of coalition building, viz., of pure realpolitik, America should have formed a coalition with Vietnam and other nations to form a counterweight to China -- not with China to form a counterweight to Vietnam. Henery got it backwards.
As China continues to rise in power, Kissinger´s colossal blunder will become more and more evident. Unfortunately, the story does not end there:
If a world war ever breaks out between the United States and China, the deaths, carnage and destruction could be unparalleled in human history. Kissinger´s folly will then be consigned where it belongs: infamy.
To repeat, Henery´s lack of judgment was rooted in his visceral hatred of Vietnam and his obsession with revenge. The Paris Vietnam Peace Talks and mainstream press were the sound; his spite, the fury. No doubt America has paid a huge price for one man´s malice -- but it may be low compared to what is coming.
I conclude our observations of the Kissinger-Chatichai meeting. Reading over the secret memorandum, one word keeps coming back:
* * *
Taken in by the ridiculous Domino Theory; fostering and losing the Vietnam war; betraying a wartime president; cozying up to a genocidal regime; unnecessarily revealing United States strategy to a foreign power; allowing a personal obsession with revenge to guide public policy; bungling the call of the 1976 American presidential election; building exactly the wrong coalition in Southeast Asia needed for power, equilibrium, and peace: how could Kissinger be so wrong?
There are two answers: (1) psychological and (2) historical.
(1) Psychological. I need to preface what I am about to say.
There is widespread misunderstanding of the ego. It has come to be viewed as something inherently and entirely negative.
The psychoanalyst Carl Jung observed, however, that the ego is not all "bad." On the contrary, the ego is indispensable for survival. It "constitutes the centre of my field of consciousness and appears to possess a high degree of continuity and identity.” Without an ego, nothing would be consciously perceived, remembered.
There is a grave danger, however, when an individual reduces himself to and identifies exclusively with his ego. Jung:
"An inflated consciousness is always egocentric and conscious of nothing but its own existence. It is incapable of learning from the past, incapable of understanding contemporary events, and incapable of drawing right conclusions about the future. It is hypnotized by itself and therefore cannot be argued with. It inevitably dooms itself to calamities that must strike it dead."
In his meeting with Chatichai, Kissinger exhibited every single one of the weaknesses Jung identified. When you add to them Henery´s lack of interest in other people, a state of self-hypnosis appears. Not only can you not argue with such men, you cannot even talk with them; they cannot hear you.
An oft-quoted anecdote goes to the heart of Kissinger´s ego inflation. His brother Walter was asked why he spoke with no German accent, whereas Henry talks as if he just got off the boat.
"Unlike Henry," Walter answered, "I listen to other people."
Henery´s ego inflation has yet to be been stricken dead. However, it has already doomed itself -- indeed, all of us -- to calamities. Once more, we will leave it to an international tribunal to sort them out.
2. History. We come to the second source of Henery´s lack of insight.
Austrian Empire Foreign Minister Klemens von Meterrnich (1773- 1859) was Kissinger´s role model. The attachment can only be psychological because Meterrnich is totally irrelevant to today.
Meterrnich operated in a world run by European kings and queens. Back in those good old days Henery identifies with, a monarch could make his country move all at once and in one direction. He could even patch things up via a marriage, as Meterrnich did in assisting the marriage of Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria to Napoleon.
This very moment, Greece is providing a case study of how far removed Meterrnich is from our international realities.
Stuck with a debt of 323-billion euros, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was elected in January 2015, on a platform of opposing creditors´ demands for economic austerity. Political realities domestic and foreign were such that Tsipras held a national referendum on July 5, something no 1700s/1800s monarch ever conceived of, much less did.
Now, if Greece were a monarchy a la Metternich, no domestic political crisis over the debt would exist simply because the factor of public opinion would not exist. The king in Athens would snap his fingers: presto -- done. Ditto the German side. Chancellor Angela Merkel would not give a second thought to widespread, anti-Greek bailout sentiment in her country. A German monarch would decide the issue one way or another with the stroke of a pen.
To highlight how much political realities have changed since Metternich´s time:
If the IMF chief Christine Lagarde married Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece, a storybook ending a la Metternich would be written. Or, how about a marriage of Louka Katseli, Chair of the National Bank of Greece, with Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the executive branch of the European Community? If that sounds silly -- laughable -- well, Henery, you asked for it.
We come to the punch line. With Metternich at its core, Kissinger´s frame of reference was irrelevant. If that is true, then another conclusion follows:
Kissinger was irrelevant.
* * *
Outrage and enrage prevailed.
When Richard Nixon won the 1968 presidential election less than a year had passed since Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated. The ghettos burned; college campuses were in turmoil; the Vietnam war dragged on.
To pull back from the edge of the void, the U.S. needed a superhero. It found him in Super K. He was a dream come true; he became the coin of the realm.
What the press and public did not know was the coin was counterfeit. Super K was a shiny, jelly-filled, puffed up figure warm from a toaster owned and operated by the regime in waiting: the American oligarchy.
Unlike Kissinger, the North Vietnamese understood their opponent. Major and minor effort: Hanoi´s negotiators knew all the holes; they played Henery like a flute.
The biggest hole turned out to be a crater. Any fighter who leads with his ego is readily dispensed with.
What Kissinger said and did as Secretary of State has finally come to light. Read the secret memo again. He was a mini-bantamweight in a sport that has no mini-bantamweight class.
Kissinger´s secret inner essence is fooling others in order to fool himself. Over a million people may have gone to early graves as a result. Millions more will follow them unless the Old World Disorder he helped foster is dismantled. A worldwide alliance against ISIS provides both the motive and opportunity.*********
Henery, the naive troublemaker, was what was down there all along. It is a fitting epitaph.
Update: August 20.
A reader asks a key question: "If immigration is not the sine qua non that made America the most powerful nation in the world, what is?"
The answer is clearly displayed on any agricultural map. Iowa, Ohio and other Midwestern states have good (1) soil, (2) water supply, (3) weather, and (4) transportation routes, e.g., rivers and roads. Together, those states occupy a gigantic amount of territory. In America´s cold war rival, the Soviet Union, the area containing all four elements was minuscule by comparison. That meant the Soviet Union was compelled to spend many more resources just to feed itself. They could not compete and, in the end, did not.
The most deadening argument against the immigration = power argument, however, is China. As Professor Nye noted, China has an extremely low number of immigrants, yet today has the second largest economy in the world in terms of GDP. How did China surge out of nowhere to rival America?
"´Supply and Demand´; ´Supply and Demand.´ The best economist is a parrot that says ¨Supply and Demand.´" So proclaimed a university economics professor to our class of eager freshmen. He instantly confirmed his thesis by asking what the value of his pencil was. Somebody asked how much he paid for it. "20 cents," he answered, then said, "That value is set by the supply and demand for pencils. Economic value, then, is ... the result ..."
He saw my hand. I said I disagreed. "Look out the window. See all those cars? It is 1:00 in the afternoon. People are going back to work. Work is what creates economic value. The market is simply a convenient mechanism for exchanging ... "
"Thomas, I want to see you after class."
Alone in his office he told me my "pet idea" about work creating value was not new. He suggested I read Adam Smith´s 1776 work, The Wealth of Nations. He also told me something else: "Do not pursue the labor theory of value. It will create huge problems for you later. The acceptable assumption for this class and for American society in general is supply and demand create value. Period."
The issue of economic value returned full-force the following day. A student voiced The Big Fear, which back then was cheap labor in Mexico. A Mexican laborer making pencils was paid maybe 25 cents an hour, versus $5 for his American counterpart. How could the United States possibly compete?
Our professor, a cultural maximizer a la Joseph Nye, rode to the rescue. He said the Mexicans voiced the same worry but in different terms. Yes, the American worker was paid more; however, he had a fancy machine in front of him. He could produce 500 pencils an hour, whereas the Mexican worker could only produce 5. Our professor stood with arms akimbo: "So, how can Mexico possibly compete? They can´t. The ... "
Up went my hand. "Mexico can compete by importing the fancy machine. That way they will combine cheap labor with high productive capability and ..."
The professor cut me off. I will never forget his exact, exasperated words: "It doesn´t work like that."
But it does. Where do you think China´s huge GDP came from? That nation will forever be a mystery -- inscrutable -- to culture maximizer economists who parrot the supply and demand line. The immigration line, too.
**« En définitive, c’est toujours la société qui se paie elle-même de la fausse monnaie de son rêve. » Marcel Mauss, Esquisse d’une théorie générale de la magie, in Marcel Mauss, Sociologie et anthropologie, Presses Universitaires de France, Paris, 2004, p. 119. [My translation]
***For more on Mahuad, see our post "Harvard Harbors Fugitive From Justice. Jamil Mahuad: Dirty hands/White Soul" of December 2, 2013.
****Disclaimer: any similarity between Henery and other chicken hawks living or dead, or of Foghorn with a bemused world, is purely acausal parallelism.
*****For our analysis of Pol Pot and his henchmen, see the post "Pol Pot and Terrorism. Out Damn Spot." The spot is that Pol Pot was no more a working class/peasant revolutionary than John Kerry is a helicopter.
Pol Pot & Cronies were mostly middle class rebels turned terrorists. Had Henery understood that reality he would have developed an entirely different, truly effective policy for dealing with Cambodia, Vietnam, China.
******For an enlightening discussion of MAP, as well as general background material on United States-Thailand relations, click here.
*******The Association of Southeast Asian Nations was founded to fight the spread of communism in the region. Things took a dramatic turn when Vietnam became a member in 1995. Its admittance recognized The Domino Theory was bankrupt.
********We employed an analogous strategy to bust the far-rightist coalition that had seized control of our House of Representatives.
*********For more on an anti-ISIS worldwide alliance, see our posts of May 30, 2015 "How to Destroy ISIS in Two Weeks" and September 9, 2014, "ISIS: Winston Churchill Speaks."