Saturday, February 13, 2016

 

So, who is this Henry Kissinger?



If you are interested in the election, I would highly recommend last Thursday's great post by the Waco Farmer and the comments (25ish, so far) that follow, which you can see here.  In that strand, IPLawGuy points out how odd it was that the Democratic candidates were fighting about Henry Kissinger:

The fact the HENRY Kissinger came in the Dem debate at all is somewhat troubling. Hillary would be considered OLD, OLD, OLD in any other election year. But Bernie is 74! Not only is the first Jew to ever win a Presidential Primary, he's the OLDEST candidate to ever win a primary, blowing away John McCain's record by 3 years.

But since Bernie and Hillary both became legal voters before a majority of American were even born, Kissinger and Vietnam were burned into their consciousness. KISSINGER left office 40 YEARS AGO! And the actions that Bernie deplores, the Cambodian incursion, for example, took place even earlier. This would be like Reagan and Carter debating over whether FDR's pre-war foreign policy team gave him the right advice in the late 30's. Or Nixon and Kennedy arguing over the Versailles Treaty.

Certainly good questions for historians, but TOTALLY IRRELEVANT in 1980, 1960 and today.

 

Comments:
I agree that Henry K. is not very relevant to this election (in fact, he is so old that actual history books about him are now making their way into the academic bloodstream).

And I also agree with IPLG that this discussion represents a commentary on Bernie and his period of political formation and frame of reference much more than a reflection on foreign policy. Bernie is something of a very sweet anachronism (some might say the same of Kissinger). Bernie is a cute old guy who remembers the March on Washington and Kent State and "not trusting anybody over thirty."

And I am not saying that in a left-handed-slam sort of way. He is a very charming and wise person. Although I disagree with him on a lot (most) fundamental issues of public policy, there is no question that he articulates his ideas with grace and intelligence and respect for the electorate.

I recommend this podcast with David Axelrod (Axe Files). I certainly came away from it with a better sense of his depth and gift of social intelligence: https://soundcloud.com/the-axe-files/episode-1-sen-bernie-sanders No wonder people love this guy.
 
Thank goodness for Bernie. He knows how someone like Henry Kissinger can change history. Thank goodness that Bernie believes that an alternative direction for our country was available. Thank goodness that Bernie remembers. Thank goodness that he has been formed by that dreadful period of our history. Thank goodness for the goodness in Bernie's thoughts on foreign policy.
 
Bernie wants to add Russia to NATO. That alone disqualifies him from the Presidency. Russia is currently bombing Assad's non-ISIS, not crazy opposition into oblivion. At some point the war in Syria will come down to a question of Assad or ISIS and/or its equivalents. Russia is destroying any chance of a middle ground.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine should revolt any right thinking person. Putin's threats and hints that he will use nuclear weapons to bully Estonia, Lithuania and even Poland are terrifying.

Sure, Bernie may be right about Kissinger. Fine. Let him write a book about Vietnam and Cambodia. But Bernie is running for President in 2016. I have no problem if he never takes advice from Kissinger or anyone else left alive from the foreign policy elites of the 60's and 70's. But he sure needs to get a better understanding of what's going on in the rest of the world today.
 
Agree totally w/your last paragraph, IPLG, about Bernie (which I mentioned in Thursday's discussion). If Bernie were to become president, he'd have to deal with whatever comes across his desk every single day including foreign affairs, whether he wants to or not.

He's smart enough to learn the complexities of today's foreign affairs, but I don't see that he can possibly catch up to the level of Hillary's knowledge. And, even more concerning, I'm not convinced he's tried to do that or that it's a priority for him.

When I imagine a Bernie Sanders presidency (as I try to decide which D to vote for), his handling of foreign affairs is a completely dark, blank picture to me, compared to the vibrancy of what I imagine he'd attempt to do domestically.
 
IPLawguy Are you saying that Bernie reacted to Russia's bombing in Syria by suggesting that Russia join NATO? If Russia had been a member of NATO we would likely be fighting Isis together. If Bernie's cautionary ideas through the years on foreign policy had been followed it is likely that Isis would not exist.

Bernie has had 25 years of experience in the US Congress. He has always spoken out.
Kasich has 18 years
Hillary 12years
Rubio 6 years
Cruz 4 years
The Donald 0 years
 
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