HomeControversyHenry Kissinger Controversy: Welcoming War Crimes The Normalization of Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger Controversy: Welcoming War Crimes The Normalization of Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger Controversy: Kissinger accomplished a lot during his limited time at the forefront of American foreign policy. He supported the bombing of, in his own words, “anything that moves” during his first two years in office. He assisted Richard Nixon in sabotaging the Vietnamese peace talks for his own political gain, expanded that war into Laos and Cambodia, which had the destabilizing effects that led to the rise of the Khmer Rouge and the deaths of up to two million people.

Despite evidence of rape and slaughter, Kissinger supported Pakistan in its war against Bangladesh in 1971. He organized a military takeover against Chile’s democratically elected Allende government in 1973, ushering in the brutally harsh Pinochet dictatorship. And in 1975, during the bloody invasion of East Timor, the then-Secretary of State gave his covert backing to Indonesian President Suharto, a dictator already accountable for the wholesale murder of hundreds of thousands of people. The simplest way to describe Kissinger’s perspective is to quote him when he suggested intervening in Cyprus: “The illegal we do quickly; the unconstitutional takes a bit longer.”

Even if this is all horrifying

Even if this is all horrifying, Kissinger’s most pernicious legacy is more subtly evil. Henry Kissinger’s foreign policy is characterized above all by a complete disregard for human life and an unwavering pursuit of “American interests.” The idea that the United States can treat the rest of the world anyway it pleases solidifies with each Kissinger crime that goes unpunished and with each accolade he wins. Henry Kissinger was responsible for every rash, disastrous action since then, including those involving the Contras and mujahideen, the Iraq War, and the El Mozote Massacre.

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Henry Kissinger Controversy

The IOP is not just “having a dialogue” when they bring Henry Kissinger to the Harvard Kennedy School without include any representation of opposing viewpoints. They are supplying a platform for the pernicious idea that other people’s lives, especially those of poor people of color in the “developing” globe, are merely tools for achieving American goals. The harm of this “discussion,” like that of a racist joke, lies not only in the act itself but also in the seeds it plants in our cultural awareness and the legitimacy it bestows.

Even worse, this legitimization is being done under the cover of a Harvard education, expressly for a group of prospective public employees. The 50-year-old history of student resistance to Kissinger is not about arguing over inconsequential political points or criticizing the individual. It concerns opposition to a particularly harmful ideology and the contributions made to its propagation by our educational institutions.

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This resistance is more crucial than ever

This resistance is more crucial than ever as violent nationalism and hostility toward outsiders rise to unprecedented heights. Kissinger was an active supporter of the jingoistic “America First!” concept decades before the term helped elect Donald Trump to the presidency. The fact that Kissinger recently referred to Trump’s administration as “an exceptional chance” and stated that he “has the potential to go down in history as a very substantial president” is not surprising.

Henry Kissinger Controversy

The Kennedy School was recently criticized by Boston Magazine for its “reverence for power.” It asserts, and I have personally witnessed this, that HKS is more concerned with attracting high-profile speakers and producing high-powered alums than it is with fostering exemplary public servants. There isn’t a finer illustration of the Kennedy School’s fetishization of “success” or the adoration of power than this.

In a sense, the deed is over for the time being. The event has already been planned by the IOP, and it is expected to be quite crowded. So, if you must attend, go, boycott if you like. In any case, we must make decisions with the long term in mind.

We need to fully understand Kissinger’s legacy

We need to fully understand Kissinger’s legacy, not just the edited version that will be given to us on Thursday. We need to be cautious of the Harvard brand’s and the Forum’s platform’s discursive power. The normalization of his treacherous brand of imperialist-infused Machiavellianism must be resisted above all else.

All that Kennedy School students who want to work in government should aim to avoid being is Henry Kissinger. The Kennedy School should also refrain from condoning his misdeeds.

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