Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist by Niall Ferguson

Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist by Niall Ferguson

From Tablet Magazine

In this view from Ferguson’s planet Kissinger’s Harvard critics were not only pinkly fatuous moralists but dishonest, carping, bitter men trying to whitewash their own dirty records. Some of them were, in fact, eminently conventional Cold Warriors themselves who had come to see that the wheels were coming off the express. But to mention their conventionality would deprive Ferguson of his main line of argument: namely, that Kissinger was the reasonable statesman-hero in action. It’s of interest, then, to compare the historian Greg Grandin’s longer version of the Schelling story in his own useful survey, Kissinger’s Shadow, published concurrently, as if to haunt Ferguson’s dithyrambic tome. Grandin, unlike Ferguson, includes Schelling’s comment about the invasion of Cambodia: “Sickening.” And Schelling spoke this most un-Schelling-like word at a time when neither he nor his colleagues knew yet about the secret, pulverizing B-52 bombing of Cambodia that Kissinger had been personally directing for a year.

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