To say Kissinger ‘was a fraud would be too charitable,’ says Vietnam War correspondent

by WorldTribune Staff, December 3, 2023

On Oct. 26, 1972, then-U.S. National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger said “peace is at hand,” insisting he had reached a deal to end the Vietnam War which would have the “North” Vietnamese and their southern affiliate, the Viet Cong remaining in “South” Vietnam and eventually working out an accommodation with the Saigon government, which would still have all the arms it needed from the United States.

But the war was already as good as lost, columnist Donald Kirk, who was in Saigon at the time, noted in a Dec. 2 op-ed for The Hill.

Henry Kissinger meets with Le Duc Tho, leader of North-vietnamess delegation, after the signing of a Vietnam War ceasefire agreement. / File photo / AFP via Getty Images

“Americans had fallen for a gambit worked out by a former Harvard professor with roots deep in pre-World War II Europe, who had never lived or worked in Asia, did not appreciate what the United States had sacrificed for Vietnam, and had his eyes only on China, with which he was already negotiating and from which in later years he earned mega-millions in investment and consulting fees,” wrote Kirk, a columnist.

“To say that Henry Kissinger was a fraud would be too charitable,” Kirk added. “Rather, he betrayed not only the Americans and South Vietnamese who had fought and died in the Vietnam War but also the people of Vietnam, about 2 million of whom fled before the victors from the North could round up all those whom it regarded as ‘traitors’ and kill or imprison them. As it was, the North Vietnamese sent several hundred thousand to the infamous ‘reeducation camps,’ from which many never returned.”

Kissinger passed away on Nov. 29 at age 100.

One major subject Kissinger had on his mind while negotiating in Vietnam was communist China.

Kissinger had led a delegation of diplomats on a secret mission in July 1971 to Beijing. He met with Zhou Enlai, the Chinese premier and laid the groundwork for President Richard Nixon to go to China in February 1972 and meet Chairman Mao Zedong.

“Kissinger had to wait nearly seven years before President Carter made the fateful decision to switch diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to Beijing as the capital of all China,” Kirk noted. “That decision may have marked the high point of Kissinger’s career. In subsequent years, he not only venerated China, supporting its policies at just about every turn, but profited immensely from his relationships with the Chinese, proffering advice on dealing with China via his own prestigious consulting firm in Washington.”

Meanwhile, Kirk added, “the confidence of Japanese and Koreans in America’s determination to defend them in a showdown is wavering. The Koreans see Kissinger as having betrayed them in Vietnam. South Korea lost 5,000 dead in the Vietnam War, second among the allies only to the 58,220 American KIA.”

Some may say Kissinger made a deal with North Vietnamese delegation leader Le Duc Tho due to a lack of experience in Asia, much less Vietnam.

“Less charitably,” Kirk concluded, “he was not concerned about turning his back on millions of Vietnamese and Americans who never believed that Washington, in the crunch, would betray them so blatantly and cynically.”

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