Henry Kissinger - Cold War

Henry Kissinger - Cold War

Nixon also is a pretty smart guy. He knows the world. He is world-traveler. In that time called the special assistant of national security affairs. There wasn’t really a big position. Most the time throughout the Cold War the secretary of state ran American foreign policy. Nixon changed all that. William Rogers was the secretary of state during Nixon. Most of you probably never heard of him. There is a reason why. He was pockerbody (?) of Nixon. Nixon thought Rogers was a nice, presentable guy, but Rogers wasn’t gonna run foreign policy in the Nixon’s administration. Nixon priced a lot of people. The guy he picks to be his assistant is named Henry Kissinger. For one reason a lot of people were surprised that Nixon picked Henry Kisssinger because Henry Kissinger was thought to hate Richard Nixon. Henry Kissinger worked for Nelson Rockefeller. Nelson Rockefeller was always Nixon’s rival at the Republican Party. There’s another reason. Nixon is the West Coast guy. He is from California. He never trust those from East Coast like Kennedy. “I’m from California. I trust my guys.” So everybody was surprised when Nixon picked a Harvard guy. But people who knew Henry Kissinger, knew that Henry Kissinger wasn’t a typical Harvard guy. He is German.

Digression
Henry Kissinger became an international superstar in the 1970s. He was world icon and it’s really strange. He is the child of 1930s. It simply means that he saw what world disorder can do. Henry Kissinger used to always say it about Americans: “Americans never fought World War I and they never really fought World War II because they weren’t on American soil. They may have sent soldiers, but they didn’t really know what war was like. Total war.” Henry Kissinger would say and he never really said it outright but he always could intimate this: “I was a simulated German view living in Third Germany. When Hitler came to power I was 10 years old. I saw what happened when crazy people picked at takeover the government.” And Kissinger like later Zbigniew Brzeziński were two European guys who ran American foreign policy basically for 15 years. And they ran it from a very European point of view, meaning that they were guys who believed in something called realpolitik.

Before Henry Kissinger came into office you would have American talk about things like crusading for democracy. “We’re gonna sort of make the world and America’s image. The Soviet Union was the evil empire. There is no question about that. We can’t talk to this guys. I mean we can try, but.”
Henry Kissinger thought a little bit differently about the world. In Harvard he became sort of a legend, because he wrote a dissertation not about the 1950s, what most people were doing at the time. He wrote about 1815 – the Congress of Vienna. And people say: “What is that got to do with the world in the 1950s. We got Stalin, we got Mao and we’ve got nuclear weapons. How American can write about the Congress of Vienna?”. And Henry Kissinger said: “It’s easy, because that’s the last time the world had known peace, after 1815, because before that we had the French Revolution and then we had Napoleonic Wars.” After 1815 at least there was no wars in 19th century. There was not a major war, except for Crimea, in Europe for about a hundred years until World War I. “And that would be screwed everything up” – Henry Kissinger used to say. The real peace treaty that gave the world peace was at Vienna, when this guys basically agreed to conspire to keep things like nationalism and liberalism in check. A lot of people said: ”Well, I thought Metternich was a bad guy, I thought Bismarck was a bad guy!” Kissinger said: “No! They knew how to keep order and that is the most important thing.” Keep this in mind. Kissinger wasn’t always popular. This idea that Kissinger brought into the White House under Nixon, that’s basically how he saw the world. He would never say something like John Foster Dulles: “We’re gonna roll back Soviet power from Eastern Europe.” Kissinger liked it in a way. He would never admit that.

Digression
I tried to get know what he thought at the time, but he wouldn’t say. He was too smart for me. But I asked: “What did you think about Soviet Union take Poland, was that bad?” “Yeah, it was bad” – he said. “But it was also stable! Look at the world now!” – he said. “It’s unstable. What I like was not that it was good, but it was stable.”

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