The Obama Administration Just Granted Henry Kissinger a Distinguished Public Service Award

An outsized personality who has committed outsized mayhem, Kissinger eclipses his own context.

The Nation, By Greg Grandin, May 10

Kissinger, again. Yesterday Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter honored Henry A. Kissinger at the Pentagon by presenting the former secretary of state with the Distinguished Public Service Award, apparently the highest award the Department of Defense has for private citizens. Carter himself deserves an award for understatement, calling the man who is responsible, directly or indirectly, for the deaths of millions of people in Southeast Asia, East Timor, Bangladesh, and southern Africa, among other places—”unique in the annals of American diplomacy.” Kissinger, Carter said, “demonstrated how serious thinking and perspective can deliver solutions to seemingly intractable problems.” As to allegations of war crimes, “the fact is,” said Kissinger, he and Richard Nixon “were engaged in good causes.”

Where to start? It’s exhausting trying to keep track of what is now a quarterly celebration of the 92-year-old Kissinger. It was just six or so months ago when The New York Times Book Review assigned Kissinger’s preferred authorized biographer to review a Kissinger biography written by Kissinger’s second-choice biographer. A “masterpiece”! the first said of the second. And then, three months ago, Hillary Clinton, in a debate with Bernie Sanders, cited Kissinger’s recommendation as a referral for the White House.

At the time, Clinton’s remarks seemed a misstep, allowing Sanders an opening to criticize her catastrophic interventionism in Iraq, Syria, and Libya. Now, though, it is clear that Clinton’s invocation of Kissinger wasn’t a fluke but rather a preview of a general election strategy to run to Trump’s right on foreign policy and win over the hawkish wing of the Republican Party. “The candidate in the race most like George W. Bush and Dick Cheney from a foreign-policy perspective,” Republican strategist Steve Schmidt recently said, “is in fact Hillary Clinton.”

Via Mint Press: The Obama Administration Just Gave Warmonger Henry Kissinger The Distinguished Public Service Award

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  • When Donald Met Henry

    In the 2016 election, it turns out, all roads lead to Kissinger.

    The Nation, By Greg Grandin, May 19

    I’m starting to feel a little bit like Jeffrey Tambor, who in this 1981 scene tells Barney Miller that it all leads back to Henry Kissinger and the Trilateral Commission. “The whole master plan is exposed…. Henry Kissinger, have you heard of him?” Nation readers have been hearing a lot about the 92-year-old Kissinger lately. First Hillary Clinton cited his approval as a recommendation for the Oval Office; which Bernie Sanders then jumped on to criticize Clinton’s interventionism; then, just last week, Barack Obama’s Pentagon presented Kissinger with a high honor. Now, news comes that Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has met with Kissinger. Details about what they talked about are as of yet unknown. Yet as Tambor tells Barney Miller: “No matter who wins in November, they have their man in the White House!”

    Kissinger has long had his man in the White House, a fact that is less testament to his influence than to his ability to accommodate to every right-wing lurch. In the 1960s, as a rising defense intellectual, Kissinger was a Nelson Rockefeller man, firmly entrenched in the center-right establishment. When he attended the infamous 1964 Republican convention in San Francisco, he was horrified by Goldwater supporters, whom he likened to fascists. Four years later, according to journalists Marvin and Bernard Kalb, he “wept” when Nixon won the Republican nomination. “Richard Nixon is the most dangerous, of all the men running, to have as president,” Kissinger said; “That man Nixon is not fit to be president.”

    Then he called the Nixon campaign to offer his services.


    Mother Jones: Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger: It’s Personal. Very Personal.

  • Samantha Power to Receive Prize From Henry Kissinger, Whom She Once Harshly Criticized

    The Intercept, By Zaid Jilani, May 29

    Samantha Power built her journalistic and academic career around human rights, criticizing powerful nations for their complicity in abuses and failure to stop acts of genocide.

    Then she joined the Obama administration, where she currently serves as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

    […]

    In the same book, she wrote of how Kissinger encouraged Iraq’s Kurds to engage in an armed revolt in the mid 1970s, only to withdraw support to build rapport with the country’s government — leading Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to brutally uproot them in revenge. Power dryly notes Kissinger’s justification for these events, writing: “Henry Kissinger, U.S. secretary of state at the time, said of the American reversal of policy and the Kurds’ reversal of fortune, ‘Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.’”

    […]

    Power did not respond to a request for comment. However, a 2014 profile in the New Yorker may provide some insight into how Power’s worldview on human rights abusers has changed. “As time wears on, I find myself gravitating more and more to the G.S.D. [Get-Shit-Done] people,” she told the magazine. “We’re racing against the clock here to get as much done as we can. So when you run across people who know how to be bureaucratic samurais, or are especially persuasive in their diplomacy internationally, spend more time on those relationships, and on brainstorming with those individuals, to achieve a common purpose. Principles and positions only take you so far.

    Related: Thy Will Be Done: The Conquest of the Amazon : Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil

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