As decades go, the 1970s were the ugliest time in America. Leisure suits. Bell bottoms. Gloria Gaynor. Jimmy Carter ineffectualism (but I repeat myself). The commercialization of hippie
From Jerry Pournelle’s site:
“It is easy to forget just how much despair there was in the 60′s and early 70′s. No less a figure than Henry Kissinger thought his mission was to negotiate successful terms of surrender for the West letting us last as long as possible”.
If he really thought like that he certainly wasn’t liable to play nice.
I got the quote from here:
PS: On the matter of nasty people: I recently ended up defending Senator McCarthy and HUAC on a messageboard
You forgot economically. The 1973 oil crisis, double-digit inflation, a couple of nasty recessions, etc…the period 1968-1983 was certainly not a happy one on the economic front.
Dittos to Frank above. Listen, if there’s a country “we” can be proud of in the Western Hemisphere outside of ourselves, its Chile. I can still recall when some of the first liberal scales started to fall from my eyes. Though I was all of 14 years old and there for less than a month 1 1/2 years after the Allende coup, the only negative about Chile that I can recall was the border guards insisting on dismantling our well packed tarp of supplies at 8000 feet in the Andes with 4 cold hungry kids in tow. As observed by us and stated to us by every single person we met, Pinochet’s Chile was paradise on earth compared to Allende’s. Quite a contrast to the scary cover story in TIME, uncensored and freely available by the way. And this was before Friedman’s “Chicago Boys” really kicked things into gear and before Pinochet voluntarily stepped down for his democratically elected successor. I hope Henry the K is just being modest for declining to take due credit for this turn of events. Besides, whether Allende committed suicide or not, I very much doubt he was killed as a result of Henry’s order. If you want examples of countries more to Hitch’s taste, check out Cuba, Venezuela and soon, Brazil. Scary. The only thing not to be proud of is our refusal to extend NAFTA to them. Great piece though. How soon we forget.
Kissinger’s adpoted Metternich as his principle role model for diplomatic strategy. You may be certain that during the interval from 1968 through 1976, that “realpolitik” methodology presented a much more effective model for utilizing our very constrained national resources in defense of America’s vital interests.
He and his family were German refugees that fled just in time to avoid being liquidated during the Holocaust that followed on their heels.
I believe that his tenure as an Army Lieutenant in Germany conducting intelligence interviews after WWII had been won was decisive in formulating his adult character. It’s my belief that it was then that he decided that so far as American interests were concerned he took Khruschev’s perspective in Stalingrad, “Not one step back.”
Thank God that during the 1970s, an era of pervasive pessimism, our nation had an immigrant so devoted to its virutes when we were consumed with self doubt.
Desparte times require desparate measures.
Maybe it’s because I’ve spent too long watching the Chinese, but kissing up to them, in the context of the time was probably the right thing to do.
Until the late 1960s, the extent of the Sino-Soviet split was not recognized. For much of the early 1960s, the American perception was that there was a single, monolithic Communist entity ruling Eurasia, combining the might of the Soviet Union and the inexhaustible human resources of China.
But Henry (and Tricky Dick) came to recognize (along w/ the intel agencies, etc.) that this wasn’t the case. And when Dick landed in China in 1972, in one stroke, the strategic balance was changed. China went from “a pox on both your houses”, to a lukewarm, and subsequently warm, anti-Soviet ally. And with it came a thousands-mile long border of the USSR which was suddenly vulnerable. A multi-million man army which, while poorly equipped, was enough to force Moscow to look over its shoulder. And, ultimately, a huge market to help fuel the American, Japanese, and European export markets.
Dealing with the Devil? Yup. But one that helped hasten the downfall of the closer Threat.
Excellent post. Good, thoughtful, original stuff. I’ve linked to it on my site.
I suppose you never met the ones thrown, alive, out of helicoptors over the ocean.
i call myself a conservative too..in just the terms described above, to wit :” I
I think that we need new names for political ideologies. I consider myself a liberal in the classical sense, but there are many others like me who call themselves conservative. On the other hand, there are many authoritarians out there who call themselves liberal. Go figure!
As for Chile — let’s look at this in perspective. Yes it was bad, but it was a drop in the bucket compared to the tens of millions of lives wasted behind the Iron Curtain. Why is there no outrage on the (authoritarian) Left about that?
Why is every argument from the “right” hinged on asking why the “left” isn’t upset about the injustices suffered under communism? Just because one criticizes the actions of Kissinger, Nixon, etc.. and calls for them to be held accountable for the murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians, does NOT mean that the same person is not also outraged at the crimes perpetrated against humanity by Castro, Kruschev, Mao, and the rest. Why can’t we focus on Kissinger when we’re talking about Kissinger? Very curious.