Friday, June 3, 2011

Are Kissinger's Words Self-Incriminating?

Is there a case to be made for indicting Henry Kissinger on war crimes or other crimes against humanity?  One possible answer to this question may be found in his own new book, On China.  Jon Halliday, husband of Jung Chang, his co-author for the biography Mao:  The Unknown Story, has just reviewed Kissinger’s book for the London Telegraph.  There are any number of assertions in this text that are likely to raise eyebrows.  However, what really leapt out at me was the following paragraph:

But “leaning towards the Chinese” could have awful implications. In November 1975, shortly after all of Indo-China had fallen to Communism, Kissinger told the Thai Foreign Minister Chatichai that “our strategy is to get the Chinese into Laos and Cambodia as a barrier to the Vietnamese”. Chatichai was in contact with the Khmer Rouge. “Tell the Cambodians that we will be friends with them. They are murderous thugs, but we won’t let that stand in our way.”

Cambodia has been trying to bring Kissinger to justice for decades.  Not only has he treated them with scorn, but he seems to have no shortage of friends willing to protect him from the due process that the Cambodians deserve.  Will the arrogance of his latest book force some of those friends to rethink their position, or will they simply redouble their efforts to protect him?  Perhaps Kissinger was the early harbinger of our current culture in which all values of substance have been dismantled, and we just never bothered to notice.

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