Henry Kissinger Says US ‘Infinitely’ More Polarized Today than during Vietnam War
- June, 12, 2022 - 15:08
- Other Media news
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Henry Kissinger, a geopolitics colossus who turned 99 on May 27, said the US is “infinitely” more divided today than at the time of the Vietnam War (1955-1975).
The ex-US Secretary of State to presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald Ford, whose book, Leadership, is set to come out on July 5, offered his vision of the current state of US internal politics, the Ukraine crisis and US stand-off with China in an interview for The Sunday Times.
He deplored the partisan antipathy that has surged in the US over the past several decades. The American National Election Studies surveys and polls have increasingly shown that Democrats and Republicans view members of the other party more as enemies than simply as political opponents, Sputnik reported.
According to Kissinger, in the early 1970s, there was “still a possibility of bipartisanship” in the US, before the “hostility” firmly took root.
“The national interest was a meaningful term, it was not in itself a subject of debate. That has ended. Every administration now faces the unremitting hostility of the opposition and in a way that is built on different premises … The unstated but very real debate in America right now is about whether the basic values of America have been valid,” underscored Kissinger, a Republican since the 1950s.
The “values” in question refer to the sacrosanct status of the American Constitution and the ‘primacy of individual liberty and equality before the law,’ points out the outlet.
In the interview, Henry Kissinger deplored the current stance espoused by the “progressive left,” which, according to him, argues that “unless these basic values are overturned, and the principles of (their) execution altered, we have no moral right even to carry out our own domestic policy, much less our foreign policy”.
Kissinger warned that this is “not a common view yet, but it is sufficiently virulent to drive everything else in its direction and to prevent unifying policies … (It) is (a view held) by a large group of the intellectual community, probably dominating all universities and many media.”
Kissinger offered a dire warning of what such “unbridgeable divisions” are fraught with.
“Either the society collapses and is no longer capable of carrying out its missions under either leadership, or it transcends them …”
The veteran foreign policy scholar agreed that sometimes an “external shock” or an external enemy” was resorted to bridge this “divide”.
At this point the ex-US Secretary of State broached the subject of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, where Russia launched its special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine on February 24 after the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) appealed for help in defending themselves against shelling from Ukrainian forces.
Kissinger had recently sparked controversy by his brief virtual speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos on May 23. Movement toward peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine needs to begin within the next two months or so, he had stated, before the conflict escalates to a point when the tensions will be more difficult to overcome.
Kissinger, known for his efforts to ease tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, underscored Russia’s importance to Europe and urged western countries not to get swept up “in the mood of the moment,” in Davos, as he advocated for the West to pressure Kiev into accepting negotiations even if that means territorial concessions.
The seasoned US scholar, appreciated for the merits and wisdom of his statements on geopolitics, faced backlash for his calls for negotiations between Russia and Ukraine.
Kissinger, who played an integral role in developing the relationship between the United States and the People's Republic of China during the Nixon administration, found himself blacklisted by Ukraine’s notorious website Mirotvorets (Peacemaker) for "participation in Russia's special information operation against Ukraine." He was also charged with "propaganda, blackmail and encroachment on the territorial integrity of Ukraine."
As western countries seek to isolate Russia with a sweeping sanctions policy while funneling weapons into Ukraine and eyeing NATO expansion, Henry Kissinger predicted in the interview for The Sunday Times that “big issues are going to take place in the relations of the Middle East and Asia to Europe and America.”
Against the backdrop of squabbling over Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bid with Turkey, Russia has continuously reiterated that further expansion of the NATO bloc will not bring greater security to Europe.
Kissinger claimed the North Atlantic Alliance Organization is an “institution whose components don’t necessarily have compatible views. They came together on Ukraine because that was reminiscent of (older) threats and they did very well, and I support what they did. The question will now be how to end that war. At its end a place has to be found for Ukraine and a place has to be found for Russia — if we don’t want Russia to become an outpost of China in Europe.”
On the issue of China, Henry Kissinger believed that Beijing and Washington were “facing each other as the ultimate contestants”, who are “governed by incompatible domestic systems.”
“And this is occurring when technology means that a war would set back civilization, if not destroy it,” said Henry Kissinger, agreeing that the two superpowers “have a minimum common obligation to prevent (a catastrophic collision) from happening”.
Henry Kissinger concluded by acknowledging his profound concerns over lack of a dialogue between superpowers, as “other countries will want to exploit this rivalry.”
“So we’re heading into a very difficult period,” prognosticated Henry Kissinger.