HomeWorldKissinger's centenary: the ambiguous European

Kissinger’s centenary: the ambiguous European

“We believe that peace is near.” The phrase pronounced by Henry Kissinger at the end of October 1972 has become famous. The then National Security Adviser of the United States was referring to Vietnam and the Paris peace accords that were practically closed. The phrase gained fame because it was as promising as it was misleading. In fact, it was nothing more than an attempt to force the success of the negotiations that ended up failing because Kissinger did not inform Saigon of certain details. Weeks later, William Safire (the man who wrote Nixon’s speeches) congratulated Kissinger on the fact that his intention was to reassure Hanoi that Washington was still interested in peace and not to mislead the American electorate, who would go to the polls next month. Kissinger did not like to be seen as naive, and when Safire asserted that he was naive rather than insidious, his quick response was, “Not in this job.”

The episode described by Walter Isaacson in the biography of Henry Kissinger portrays the ambiguity of the giant of international diplomacy. For Kissinger, human action, whatever it may be, has innumerable consequences, not to mention the different interpretations of what is said or done. Kissinger has a broad vision of the world and for him there is always more than one way to overcome a problem. Morality does not have a single reading. For Kissinger nothing can be taken for granted, there are nuances, politics is not subject to the same rules that govern friendship, family and even business relationships. For Kissinger, the boundary between good and evil changes according to the situation, according to the moment, according to the urgency, according to what is gained and what is lost, and taking into account the value of what is acquired and what is it is resigned. . . In that October of 1972, Kissinger did everything possible and impossible to get the Vietnam peace accords signed before Richard Nixon’s re-election. So much so that he angered the president himself. Unlike his National Security Adviser, Nixon wanted the deals to be finalized after the election because he understood that, at that point, it would be easier for the US to impose its terms for peace. Furthermore, Nixon mistrusted Kissinger. He saw in his efforts a pretext for his re-election to depend on the achievements of a man who was not even born in the United States. Nixon was one of those people who mistrusted almost everyone because he didn’t trust himself, but with Kissinger he was right. The president knew that his adviser was too nimble, too quick, too sudden, and too calculating. With him there was little care.

Nixon was lucky. Kissinger was so interested in hastening peace that he did not tell the whole story to the parties involved. The failure of the negotiations led to the Christmas bombing raids on North Vietnam, the aim of which was not to force Hanoi to accept the deal, but to assure Saigon that the United States would not surrender to the communists. The ambiguity, once again. And if in October he failed, this time he was right. Peace was achieved in January 1973, on the terms that Kissinger wanted and in the time frame that Nixon preferred.

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Source: Observadora

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