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above: Henry Kissinger's new book is titled 'World Order'
In this his latest article former Australian communist leader Eric Aarons dissects former US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger's latest book, 'World Order'. Relating to his own experiences of the consequences of Kissinger's 'real-politick', Aarons criticises Kissinger in no uncertain terms.
By Eric Aarons
Kissinger wastes no time in getting to the point of this important book from
the first page. His aim is to restore the ‘World Order’ or ‘American Consensus’
that had been firmly established in the last decade of the 20th
Century. Doing that, to which he himself had been closely attached, he might
have thoughtof questions of his own reputation
that would not go away.
wants to feature as the trusted and fearless adviser
who, given the opportunityand means
(sometimes as Secretary of State), would seek out the realities and truths of
difficult international situations, even if the President did not like what he
advised. Readerscan make up their own minds whether or not
Kissinger acted on this principle.
capitalism developed worldwide, so did the impulse for the formation of ‘states’
– that is,sovereign bodies of
peopleholding a defined territory, politically ordered in a known way, and with a
set of unofficial but powerful ‘rules of
behaviour’ – a culture – that might also distinguish them from neighbours.
States had therefore to make agreements at least individually with each other, hopefully with all .
This was no
simple matter because tradition had already become fixed on many relevant
aspects of these matters in medieval and feudal times. The most important of
these were the virtually endless wars within and between countries that had
prevailed in feudal and medieval times, mainly centred on religion, but with
land also in the picture.
featured competition, but also needed forms of cooperation to facilitate and
promote business enterprise, while the new ‘states’ had only the traditional
ones attached to the family, and thus to marriage relationships and rules of
inheritance. These, though still featuring in relations between states, were
inadequate for the task of settinggeneral rules for relations between them.
Kissinger defines ‘world order’ as a state of affairs in which a majority of
states reach some (peaceful) agreement on the conduct of the relations between
them. – that is, what each of them prohibits or permits – what each of them may
do or must not do. He places the origin of this concept in the Treaty of Westphalia
(1648). which, concluding the ‘30 years religious war, providingan opportunity to begin a new era in which
agreements instead of wars could establish some form of ‘World Order’ embracing
at least most of Europe and the United States of America.
plausible,in that, following the
universal war throughoutEurope waged by
Napoleon in the wake of the 30 years (religious) war, the treaty ending this
period of history, had the opportunity toestablish the principles that could guide, asjustly as deemed possible, the principles
that all nations mightaccept.
soberly, and with due deference to the achievements of Westphalia, the sort of
‘World Order’ Kissinger holds up today as his preferred model is not worth the
paper it is written on, and in any case has zero chance of coming into effect.
It depends on the existence of one nation that stands above all the rest in
military might, backed by a population that is ready tomake the necessary sacrifice of lives,
material treasure, and ethical probity (torture doesn’t fit here) to deal with
wrong-doingby its citizens and those of
Chile was a
major test for Henry Kissinger, in which he performed worse than miserably. By
happenstance, I had a connection in the build up to this, having been elevated
to a leading position in the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) after I had returned
after studying three years in China. For internationalisteducational purposes I was chosen, along with
a journalist, Pete Thomas, to attend as observers of the Congress of the
Chilean Communist Party in 1965. This was shortly after the Socialist Party
leader, Salvador Allende had run a close second for President of Chile, and it
was thought he would likely be elected next time. We had anumber of assignments and instructions,
including proceeding later to Moscow and discussing our worries about the
growing split with China,Soviet
treatment of writers and artists, the existence of anti-Semitism,and the unpersoning of Nikita Khruschev after
he had let out the truth about Stalin’s dictatorship.
difficulties in getting a flight from Mexico to Chile, so we did not actually
attend the Congress, but had significant discussions with a number of the
leading cadres, including about the likely behaviour of the Army. They told us
that it had never intervened in Chilean politics before, and believed it would
not do even if Allende did win the next election, but we urged them not to be
win, and had begun making significant economic and political changes when General Augusto Pinochet led an army coup,
surrounding the Presidency, and shooting dead Allende who had armed himself with
a rifle and was shooting back on September 11, 1973. Thousands were immediately
arrested and taken to a sports arena where they were immediately killed and/or tortured.
Shortly after that, Pinochet invented the practice of taking captives up in a plane
and dumping them directly into the Atlantic Ocean, and to this day there are
‘disappeared people’ being sought by relatives and loved ones.
assured Pinochet of his support, and to this day it is not clear whether it was
President Nixon who had directly ordered Kissinger to arrange the coup, or had it
suggested to him by the latter. Public Radio International (PRI) has a program
(‘The World’) which conducted a long interview with Kissinger on the day
marking the 41st anniversary of the coup, but
said ‘when we raised the subject of Chile today, Kissinger cut us off.’ What other
unsavoury secrets is he hiding?
The invasion of Iraq.
declares now (September 11, 2014, PRI) that ‘he would not have supported the
Iraq war if he had known then what he knows now’. He obviously asked only those
favouring the war though there were plenty of prominentpeople thinkingotherwise. He can
only blame himself, but doesn’t.
6, 1975, Kissinger accompanied President Gerald Ford to Jakarta on a ‘friendly
visit’. Next day, as their plane departed, the Indonesian President, Suharto,
launchedhis army on East Timor, which
had just been given its independence by Portugal. 200,000 East Timorese were
killed, and many atrocities committed. The aim was to use East Timor as a
launching pad to then annex the western half of New Guinea which was
mineral-rich(In These Times April, 2000). Kissinger was also on the Board of the
New Orleans based Freeport McMoRan gold and copper mine in West Papua, which
was also notorious for its poor environmental record.
story of the struggle for East Timor’s independence is too long to relate here,
but the CPA had a proud record, and even John Howard eventually also played a
part in it.
inadequacy of Henry Kissinger’s ideas of what a new World Order should aim for
stands out. But the loss of the United States of America as the keystone of its
arch of power is crystal clear, and is self-inflicted. Since Vietnam (1975), it
has waged several major wars, and has not won a single one. Humanity must seek
a new path, and the ‘battle for civilisation’ that Tony Abbott speaks about (The Australian, October 5, 2014) is far
too limited to effect major change.
The one example there is room for here, is outlined in a book
The Sixth Extinction, well written by
Elizabeth Kolbert (Bloomsbury). The title comes from the knowledge that there
have been five major extinctions of life on earth caused naturally, but the
sixth, nowoccurring, is self-inflicted. It is
caused, says the author, by the fact that humans are changing conditions on
earth more rapidly than most species can cope with, includingmany of us. The term ‘Great Moderation’ was used
recently by economists just as the GFC (Great Financial Crisis) was about to
erupt. Many humans, especially the top 1 percent who get as much as the rest of
us put together (Oxfam), now need sufficiency
rather than more; bigger is not
always better, softer is often preferable to louder. . .
I trust you
will get my drift.
notion of a ‘New World Order’ included non-interference in each other’s
internal affairs. Including choice of
religion, political system, economic conduct and other similar arrangements,
and general self-determination. This worked reasonably well for about a century
, until it was violated by none other than Kissinger himself. It is not clear that
was his decision, backed by various political leaders (particularly those of
the United States,) that he had influenced.
was to interfere in Chile’s internal affairs by prompting, then urging on an
officer of the Chilean armed forces, General Augusto Pinochet, to stage a coup,
overthrow and kill the newlyelected President
of Chile, Salvador Allende.
By his silence on this issue of the Chilean coup, Kissinger re-endorses
the views he expressed to Pinochet in 1976: ‘ We want to help, not undermine
you. You did a great service to the West in overthrowing Allende ‘ (Wikipedia).
The organisation Public Radio International (PRI) has a
program called The World. Forty one years to the day after the coup– September 11, 1973 – they organised a long
interviewwith Kissinger, but towards
the end they asked him about Chile. They report That he cut them off without
saying a word. Is he hiding or protecting a dead President?, hmself? Or both?
Kissinger is no longer in the position of chief adviser and organiser of action
foran American President . Even more
important, times have changed, and humanityhas more options, and especially noneed of a new super-state, strong enough in weaponry, economic
ascendancy, financial solidity and a fragile rectitudetowards other states. With the rectitude, and
a psychological disposition, to keep all the rest of the world’snations in line.
Public Radio International (PRI) also asked Kissinger about The Iraq war . He
replied: “If I had known everything then that I know now, I probably would not
have supported it.” An evasive reply if there was one. In fact, many people,
some with actual knowledge, questioned the assertionthat Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons. Who
did Kissinger talk to at the time?
In any case, Kissinger’s interpretationof Muslim capacities, as he writes even now,
revealsthe dismissive, even
contemptuousattitudes held by ‘leading’American and many other westerners. They had
better learn fast if they seek to construct a new ‘World Order’.
Kissinger, to his credit for once, gives what I take to be a
fairly accurate account of the long term thinking and vision of a number of
Eastern and Middle Eastern states. Taking Persia (now Iran) he says:
So (in 1979) when an accepted state in the
Westphalian system, turned itself into an advocate of radical Islam after thje
Ayatollah Khomeini revolution, the Middle East regional order was turned upside
down. (Page 149).
I doubt that he saw this at the time(when he was directly attached to the White
House). But, particularly now we have a situation deriving from that invasion
in 2001, which has mushroomed into a major world-wide problemthat has to be tackled on more than one
front. The Australian government has decided on a half-baked war with the
muslim world based on the atrocious practice of decapitatingthose they regard as enemies on full-view TV.
‘The book is well worth reading,
and those doing so will learn a lot about how experts in international
relations operate. Unfortunately, there is no promise of a turn for the better
in the rest of this decade.’