THE KISSINGER QUESTION “Why good men on all sides found no way to avoid this disaster
The Vietnam War resulted in the deaths of 1 .5 million to 3 million Vietnamese and other Indochinese and 58 ,000 Americans . It was the catalyst for Richard Nixon ‘s self-induced disgrace . Henry Kissinger played a pivotal role in guiding America ‘s foreign policy as the war torn nation reeled under the loss of one president to assassination and another to fraud . The Vietnam War singed the conscience of the world and Kissinger found himself where foreign [banner_entry_middle]
policy and national security converged . National Security Advisor is the one that holds the most strategic meetings at the highest levels of US administration . External and internal threats to the nation ‘s security and well being should be calculated well in advance otherwise the entire fabric of security planning lies in shreds . There must have been some constructive and sensible proposals to avert the Vietnam fiasco . It ‘s fair to ask what alternative course America ‘s critics would have followed . Some serious people argued for complete withdrawal , on the grounds that the war was already lost . Some have argued that Nixon , after taking office , should have declared that the situation in Vietnam was far worse than he had thought , blame it on the Democrats and seek a deal with the North Vietnamese like the one that was ultimately reached . Meanwhile , the argument goes , Nixon could have used tough rhetoric at home to appease the foreign policy makers . Whether the approach would have worked can ‘t be known , but had it worked , it certainly would have been preferable to what happened instead
Once in office , Kissinger and Nixon said they were seeking “peace with honor : the abandonment of our South Vietnamese allies would be a dishonorable betrayal and would undermine our credibility in the world America ended up abandoning them anyway . Even overlooking for the moment how the whole thing turned out , the “peace with honor ” formulation was riddled with flaws . And the South Vietnamese regime was known to have been inept and hopelessly corrupt . In writing about the importance of our allies in South Vietnam , Kissinger gives minimal attention to the Vietnamese people but a great deal to South Vietnam ‘s president Nguyen Van Thieu , calling him a great “patriot ” and a “dauntless leader
McNamara and Kissinger , not unlike some American presidents , including Nixon , had myopic affinity for strongmen like the Shah of Iran Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos . A student of Metternich , the 19th-century Austrian statesman , Kissinger was a practitioner of the “realist (or realpolitik ) school of diplomacy , which places emphasis on the state ‘s interests and the use of military power to achieve them , and he to deal with the strong leaders of nation-states who could deliver . The US administration ‘s complicity in the 1963 overthrow of South Vietnam ‘s leader General Ngo Dinh Diem conferred legitimacy on the North Vietnamese claim that the South Vietnamese government was illegitimate
Ironically , when all this was happening… [banner_entry_footer]
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