At 99 years of age Henry Kissinger may be one of the world’s last great statesman — but this does not change the fact he has gotten major foreign policy issues dangerously wrong over his long career.
Kissinger’s current mischief with the Ukraine needs to be viewed in this light.
In May the former secretary of state spoke to the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Kissinger told Ukraine and its allies they should sue for peace with Russia, and agree to a deal that cedes Ukraine’s eastern regions, including the Crimea, to Russia. [Kissinger knows that any immediate ceasefire locks Russia into controlling more than 20% of the Ukraine it now occupies]
"Negotiations need to begin in the next two months before it creates upheavals and tensions that will not be easily overcome," Kissinger told the Davos crowd.
"Ideally, the dividing line should be a return to the status quo ante." (Meaning: give Russia Ukrainian territory)
"Pursuing the war beyond that point would not be about the freedom of Ukraine, but a new war against Russia itself," he warned.
Kissinger argued that by making concessions to Putin Ukraine and the West could prevent Russia from suffering embarrassment and the risk of a larger war.
However well intentioned, Kissinger is wrong — the latest example of the bad advice he’s given over many decades.
We should remember that after Russia’s 2014 seizure of Crimea, Kissinger quickly blessed the move and urged western leaders to accept this new status quo.
At the time, Kissinger also chided Western leaders for their "demonization" of Vladimir Putin.
Obama’s appeasement of Russia after the Crimea invasion — a policy backed by Kissinger — laid the ground work for Putin’s attack on Ukraine in February 2022.
In 2014 and 2022, Russia’s attacks were unprovoked and without any justification.
Kissinger’s "realpolitik" has long embraced the concept of keeping the "status quo" even if it means strengthening an enemy or endangering U.S. interests
We have seen such thinking throughout Kissinger’s time in public life.
In the 1960s President Richard Nixon first thrust Kissinger onto the world stage appointing him as his national security adviser.
As such, Kissinger has been credited for opening up China and changing the world’s balance of power.
But scholars have demonstrated that Nixon’s U.S. opening of China was wholly Nixon’s idea and Kissinger was neither its inventor or architect.
In fact, Kissinger was said to have been shocked by Nixon’s audacious plan.
Then NSC deputy Alexander Haig recalled Kissinger’s reaction after Nixon first shared his plan: "The man wants to open up relations with China? He must be crazy!"
During these same Nixon years, Kissinger’s bad advice almost cost Israel its existence.
In October 1973, when the combined armies of Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in what became known as the Yom Kippur War, Nixon’s senior advisers, led by Kissinger, urged him not to intervene and not re-supply Israel.
Kissinger told Nixon that if re-supplied Israel, he would risk a larger conflict with the Soviet Union, perhaps World War III.
Fortunately Nixon ignored Kissinger and ordered a massive airlift and military re-supply of Israel.
Ben Stein would write that Nixon "saved Israel when it was threatened with annihilation by its neighbors, sending a massive airlift of arms to Israel during the Yom Kippur War."
Nixon decision was bold and right. Kissinger was wrong again.
Israel not only won decisively the Yom Kippur War, but its victory laid the groundwork for Egypt’s leader Anwar Sadat to open a path to peace that led to the Camp David Accords.
Documents released in recent years show that during the Yom Kippur War Kissinger told the Soviets that "my nightmare is a victory for either side."
Kissinger’s unwillingness to confront real evil in favor of the status quo was apparent in policies he created for Nixon, and later, serving as secretary of state under President Ford.
Kissinger was the architect of détente, a policy that called for maintaining positive relations, engagement and co-existence with the Soviets.
Even if the Kremlin was expanding its power in the Third World, Kissinger held it was better never to directly confront the Soviets.
Détente turned out to be a disaster, allowing the Soviets to expand around the world almost unchecked. Détente also sparked the modern conservative movement.
In 1976 former Calif. Governor Ronald Reagan decided to challenge Gerald Ford for the presidency. Reagan’s main grievance?
Kissinger’s détente was a dangerous policy that was helping the Soviets win the global struggle against the West. Reagan lost that primary in 1976, and Ford went on to lose the election to Jimmy Carter.
But when Reagan won the presidency in 1980, he eschewed the Kissinger wing of the party. He discarded détente, taking a more confrontational stance toward the Soviets and their proxies around the globe.
Reagan’s policy of "peace through strength" worked. By the end of the 1980s when the "Evil Empire" collapsed, Kissinger’s policies had been, in fact, seen as a failure.
Today Kissinger is again advocating for a new détente, this time with Vladmir Putin’s Russia. Many wise people see the dangers of appeasement and rewarding Putin for his barbaric attacks on Ukraine.
As Henry Kissinger nears his 100th birthday, let’s admire his longevity while recognizing many of his best ideas were failures, that they should never be repeated and, in the case of his proposals on the Ukraine, fully rejected.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.