Henry Kissinger was known as a secretary of state who had blood-stained policies. Photo/Reuters
WASHINGTON – To some, he was an important figure in foreign policy, a Holocaust survivor who built a distinguished career as the United States’ top diplomat and national security adviser during the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, and left a lasting mark on history.
But for others, Henry Kissinger was a war criminal, whose brutal actions in realpolitik left a trail of blood across the world – an estimated 3 million bodies scattered in places from Argentina to East Timor when it was still part of Indonesia.
As the late British writer and journalist Christopher Hitchens once wrote: “Henry Kissinger should be shut out by every decent person and should be shamed, ostracized and excommunicated.”
Here are 10 countries, regions and conflicts in which Kissinger intervened, leaving a legacy that was often blood-stained and in many cases still lives on.
According to Al Jazeera, Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating a ceasefire in Vietnam in 1973. But the war might have actually ended four years earlier if he had not let Nixon’s plans “destroy” President Lyndon B Johnson’s peace negotiations.
In 1969, Nixon was elected president, and Kissinger was promoted to national security advisor. This prolonged war claimed the lives of millions of Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotians.
Kissinger’s expansion of the war led to the genocidal Khmer Rouge government in Cambodia, which seized power from a US-backed military regime and then killed a fifth of the population – two million people.
The Cambodian people had fallen into the hands of the communist movement due to the carpet bombing campaign by Kissinger and Nixon, which killed hundreds of thousands of people. Until now, many people still die because of US regulations that are not detonated.
In 1970, Bengali nationalists in what was then known as East Pakistan won the elections. Fearing a loss of control, the military government in West Pakistan launched a deadly crackdown.
Kissinger and Nixon stood firmly behind the massacre, choosing not to warn the generals to exercise restraint.
Motivated by Pakistan’s usefulness as a counterweight to Soviet-leaning China and India, Kissinger was unfazed by the killing of 300,000 to three million people. Captured on a secret recording, he voiced disdain for people “bleeding” for the sake of “dying Bengalis”.