The Trial of Henry Kissinger | Christopher Hitchens

Summary of: The Trial of Henry Kissinger
By: Christopher Hitchens


Get ready to delve into the complex world of diplomacy with ‘The Trial of Henry Kissinger’ by Christopher Hitchens. This book exposes the controversial story of Henry Kissinger, who actively sabotaged peace talks during the Vietnam War to further his career. You will explore Kissinger’s involvement in war crimes through notorious operations like Speedy Express and Operation Menu. Discover the story behind United States’ international interventions to install leaders loyal to Washington, and Kissinger’s role in the coup that brought down Salvador Allende in Chile. Finally, unravel the mystery of Kissinger Associates, which has ties to some of the most dubious political decisions Kissinger made during his years in office.

The Dark Scheme

During the 1968 peace talks in Paris to end the Vietnam War, one man, Henry Kissinger, was secretly feeding information to Republican Richard Nixon to help him win the election. Kissinger’s scheme resulted in the failure of the talks and Nixon becoming president, prolonging the War for another seven years, leading to several hundred thousand more deaths. Kissinger’s act was motivated by his desire for a better job under Nixon’s administration, disregarding the lives that would be lost due to his actions.

Kissinger’s War Crimes

The book reveals unsettling details about Henry Kissinger’s involvement in the Vietnam War. As National Security Advisor, he oversaw Operation Speedy Express and Operation Menu, both of which resulted in the intentional targeting and killing of civilians. Operation Speedy Express was conducted to clear the Mekong Delta of enemy troops, but only a small number of enemy weapons were found while roughly 11,000 Vietnamese were killed – including many innocent civilians. Operation Menu involved the bombing of targets in neighboring countries Cambodia and Laos, violating international law and resulting in the deaths of around 950,000 people, many of them civilians. These revelations expose the darker side of American foreign policy and the destruction caused by the decisions of those in power.

Kissinger’s Role in Bangladesh’s Genocide

In the 1970s, Kissinger supported the Pakistani government in resisting Bangladeshi independence due to Pakistan’s role as a US ally and a communication link with China. Kissinger provided armaments to Pakistani forces, leading to atrocities committed in Bangladesh, including genocide and mutilation. Kissinger also played a part in undermining Bangladesh’s elected government, including allegedly supporting a military coup that led to the assassination of the Bangladeshi leader.

Kissinger’s Role in Chile’s Overthrow

The US’s intervention in Latin America to install leaders loyal to them has been a common practice. One such event was the 1973 overthrow of Salvador Allende, the elected Marxist leader of Chile. Allende had been a target of US plots since his election in 1970, and Kissinger was behind many of these plots and the eventual coup. When General Schneider refused to intervene and block Allende’s election, the US decided to get rid of Schneider. Kissinger had the CIA supply machine guns to two groups of army officers and paid them to “kidnap” Schneider, but they murdered him. With Schneider gone, the military led by General Pinochet could launch a coup against Allende. The aftereffect of the coup was brutal, and Allende’s supporters were murdered across Chile and South America. Dictatorial regimes in Latin America joined forces in Operation Condor to torture, abduct, and kill dissidents across borders with the intelligence supplied by the CIA. Throughout the oppression, Kissinger remained updated about what Pinochet was doing and declared his friendship with the military dictator although he never spoke about his role in the coup.

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