While discussing the stark contrasts between the two remaining candidates during Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders derided Hillary Clinton’s admiration and support for former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Although the Washington elite revere Kissinger as a shrewd statesman who helped open the door to China, most of the world regards him as a bloodthirsty war hawk responsible for causing the deaths of millions.
“Where the secretary and I have a very profound difference, in the last debate — and I believe in her book — very good book, by the way — in her book and in this last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger. Now, I find it rather amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country,” Sanders asserted during PBS’s Democratic debate.
“I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend,” Sanders continued. “I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger. And in fact, Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia, when the United States bombed that country, overthrew Prince Sihanouk, created the instability for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some 3 million innocent people, one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. So count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.”
Rushing to Kissinger’s defense, Clinton stated, “I think it is fair to say, whatever the complaints that you want to make about him are, that with respect to China, one of the most challenging relationships we have, his opening up China and his ongoing relationships with the leaders of China is an incredibly useful relationship for the United States of America.”
“I find — I mean, it’s just a very different, you know, historical perspective here,” Sanders responded. “Kissinger was one of those people during the Vietnam era who talked about the domino theory. Not everybody remembers that. You do. I do. The domino theory, you know, if Vietnam goes, China, da, da, da, da, da, da, da. That’s what he talked about, the great threat of China.
“And then, after the war, this is the guy who, in fact, yes, you’re right, he opened up relations with China, and now pushed various type of trade agreements, resulting in American workers losing their jobs as corporations moved to China. The terrible, authoritarian, Communist dictatorship he warned us about, now he’s urging companies to shut down and move to China. Not my kind of guy,” Sanders concluded.
After Richard Nixon’s presidential victory in 1968, Kissinger served as National Security Advisor between 1969 and 1975. He was also appointed U.S. Secretary of State until the end of Gerald Ford’s term in 1977. For nearly a decade, Kissinger directed an interventionist and militaristic foreign policy that resulted in the deaths of millions, the overthrow of a democratically-elected government in Chile, and the rise of radicalized Islam.
Referring to Kissinger as Clinton’s tutor, The Nation wrote last week, “Let’s consider some of Kissinger’s achievements during his tenure as Richard Nixon’s top foreign policy–maker. He (1) prolonged the Vietnam War for five pointless years; (2) illegally bombed Cambodia and Laos; (3) goaded Nixon to wiretap staffers and journalists; (4) bore responsibility for three genocides in Cambodia, East Timor, and Bangladesh; (5) urged Nixon to go after Daniel Ellsberg for having released the Pentagon Papers, which set off a chain of events that brought down the Nixon White House; (6) pumped up Pakistan’s ISI, and encouraged it to use political Islam to destabilize Afghanistan; (7) began the US’s arms-for-petrodollars dependency with Saudi Arabia and pre-revolutionary Iran; (8) accelerated needless civil wars in southern Africa that, in the name of supporting white supremacy, left millions dead; (9) supported coups and death squads throughout Latin America; and (10) ingratiated himself with the first-generation neocons, such as Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, who would take American militarism to its next calamitous level.”
Despite his myriad of atrocities, Kissinger received the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize and remains venerated among both Democrats and Republicans. Although Kissinger jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize with his Vietnamese diplomatic counterpart, Le Duc Tho refused to accept the award due to the fact that the war had not ended.
According to The Intercept, former Goldman Sachs vice chairman and Clinton’s former undersecretary of state, Bob Hormats, is currently advising Clinton’s presidential campaign while serving as the vice chairman of Kissinger Associates. Unable or unwilling to hold Kissinger responsible for the genocide and war crimes launched during his tenure, Clinton has merely affirmed she will continue America’s ruthless and destructive foreign policy with Kissinger’s help, of course.
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