Kissinger - Gary Allen

The Sellout of Southeast Asia

Perhaps the grimmest irony of the Kissinger years was the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the Secretary of State in 1974, honoring his efforts to end the Vietnam War. The ceremonies in Stockholm were hardly over when the Communists seized three Southeast Asian countries. Herr Henry did not even have time to spend the $50,000 prize before South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia had been swallowed by the Communist juggernaut. Some peace!

North Vietnam's Le Due Tho, with whom Kissinger shared the Peace Prize, declined the award—no doubt aware that the Paris accords were but a way station on the road to a total Red victory.

The January 1973 "peace agreement" which Super K negotiated had in fact set up South Vietnam for the kill, by allowing the Communists to keep more than 150,000 Red troops "in place" in the South, while American military personnel were withdrawn. Anyone who was surprised at what happened would be equally disappointed when the tooth fairy fails to make an appearance. South Vietnam was overrun, Cambodia collapsed, and Laos became fully communist.

It was a three-bagger, the United States lost three former allies in as many months. For the first time it became obvious to the world that American strength meant nothing in the face of a Communist advance.

The highly touted Mayaguez incident may have helped reverse the Administration's faltering image at home, but it did nothing to change the facts overseas. When Cambodian Communists seized the merchantman Mayaguez and its crew of 39 in May 1975, American warplanes blasted five Cambodian vessels out of the water, the Marines stormed Tang Island, and U.S. fighter-bombers blitzed an airbase and an oil depot on the mainland to secure the sailors' release.

The theatrical assault cost five American dead, 16 missing, and 70 to 80 wounded, but it was proof-positive that U.S. might can be used successfully when Washington wants to. It gave the sagging Ford Administration and defeat-weary Americans a lift in spirits, but it did not change the facts—or the fate of South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

At least, these were the facts in 1971. In the fall of that year, a group of U.S. observers toured all 44 provinces of south Vietnam and noted that the Saigon government—hardly an ideal administration—had essential working control over the full country. The Vietcong insurgency had been smashed. But U.S. bombing pauses and strategic lulls were giving the North time to build up and regroup its forces in the south.

Then, in the spring of 1972, North Vietnam openly invaded the south. It was only after the invasion of tens of thousands of North Vietnamese troops that the Paris "peace" accords were arranged. The new reality confirmed by Henry Kissinger accepted the presence of more than 150,000 Red soldiers in South Vietnam—with 50,000 more ready to join them.

Kissinger's apologists have claimed that their hero inherited a war whose successful outcome eluded three prior administrations. But the record now is clear—Super Kraut had been a key policy adviser on Vietnam since the Johnson years and always championed no-win policies.

Joseph Harsch (CFR) noted in 1968 that Kissinger "was one of the first among the top experts to conclude that a military victory in Vietnam was, perhaps, neither possible nor desired."

It is also known that Kissinger established his own links with North Vietnam as early as 1967. His secret negotiations—arranged by avowed Communists from Australia and France—assured Moscow and Hanoi from the start that Herr Henry would not countenance any American moves that might lead to an anti-Communist victory.

Throughout the Vietnam War, the U.S. did little that was right—right in the sense of trying to win the war. But during the Nixon years there were three actions taken which veteran military observers supported as moves in the proper direction:

  • The invasion of Cambodia in 1970 to eliminate Communist sanctuaries;
  • The May 1972 decision to mine Haiphong Harbor; and
  • The December 1972 decision to bomb North Vietnam.

Secretary of State Kissinger opposed all three measures.

The Americans found in Cambodia they were mostly chasing ghosts. Obviously forewarned, few Communist troops were encountered—though some supplies and foodstuffs were found.

Reliable sources within the intelligence community report that Henry the K told his good friend Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin about plans for the invasion while the two attended a Soviet cocktail party to commemorate Lenin's 100th birthday.

Regarding the mining of Haiphong Harbor—which was also an ineffectual but highly publicized gambit—Jack Anderson reported in October 1974 that this was the single action Nixon ever took on his own, one in which he overrode all his close advisers, including his Vietnam expert, Henry Kissinger.

But it was the third incident; Nixon's decision on December 17, 1972 to bomb North Vietnam, which let to a real split between the two. Kissinger so angered the President, we have been told, that Nixon ordered Henry's phone tapped and finally decided that Kissinger should be replaced.

The story was first broken by one-time Nixon hatchet man Charles Colson in his book Born Again. Other sources confirmed the details:

"Kissinger pleaded with Nixon to 'explain his reasons for the bombing'. When the President refused, and ordered the Executive Branch to maintain a strict silence about the bombing renewal, Kissinger let it be known that he opposed the bombing."

When New York Times columnist James Reston reported Kissinger's dissent, Nixon was furious. The President said:

"I will not tolerate insubordination. You tell Henry he's to talk to no one, period! I mean no one! And tell him not to call me. I will accept no calls from him."

Nixon sought solace in watching a Washington Redskins football game, while Henry jetted off to Palm Springs, California. Next, says Colson,

"The President ordered me to have the Secret Service keep a record of all incoming and outgoing calls from Kissinger's heavily guarded villa in Palm Springs."

Kissinger tried to telephone Nixon, but the President refused to talk with him. Kissinger then contacted another media friend, Washington Post columnist Joseph Kraft, who reported that Kissinger had valiantly opposed Nixon's bombing order.

This infuriated Nixon so much that he "began counting the days until Henry left to return to Harvard", Colson continues.

Earlier this year, columnist Jack Anderson reported that Super K was well aware that an irate Nixon was moving to dump him as Secretary of State.

"Sources close to Kissinger say he was acutely aware of the move to send him back to Harvard. The H.R. Haldeman-John Ehrlichman-Charles Colson palace guard wanted to force him out in disgrace and make him the scapegoat for Nixon's bombing policies."

But as everyone knows, it was not Kissinger who left Washington in disgrace, but the President himself. We will take a look at Henry's behind-the-scenes role in Watergate, which led to this amazing turnabout, in Chapter Ten.

Even with the massive Communist buildup in 1971 and 1972, who can doubt the the United States could still have achieved victory in Vietnam had Nixon truly been committed to it? Of course he was not. But the point is, Kissinger had made it clear since 1967 that he believed the war could not be won.

In private talks in 1968, Henry said that the "appropriate goal" of U.S. policy in Vietnam should be to permit a "decent interval"—say, two or three years—between the withdrawal of U.S. forces and a complete Communist takeover of the country!

In Vietnam, as in Korea before, the United States managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We allowed (some say encouraged) the Communist buildup in the North. We did nothing to profit the massive invasion of the South, and then, in "peace talks" in Paris, we permitted North Vietnam to leave 150,000 fully equipped troops in South Vietnam. It was a sufficient advantage to assure the Communists of their eventual victory. So why on earth would the South Vietnamese accept a treaty which virtually guaranteed the conquest of their country?

CBS newsmen Marvin and Bernard Kalb, in their book Kissinger, report that South Vietnamese President Nguyen van Thieu told Kissinger that the treaty was not acceptable. "To sign would be like surrendering to the Communists", they quote Thieu as protesting. "It would make a mockery of the thousands of Americans and Vietnamese who died here." But Thieu, whose spine was so weak it might have been transplanted from a jellyfish, finally cave in.

In the spring of 1975, Senator Henry M. Jackson and Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt both claimed that Thieu agreed to accept the Paris accords only after President Nixon and Henry Kissinger promised him that the United States would "respond vigorously" to any Communist violations of the peace agreement.

Within thirty days of the signing, of course, Hanoi began moving massive amounts of troops and equipment into South Vietnam—and no aid was forthcoming. But this cannot be blamed solely on Kissinger. Congress finally bowed to pressures against any further support for a cause that the American Left had long assured the nation was lost anyway.

The fact remains, however, that our allies counted on an American guarantee of aid and never got it. Thieu's stated belief that the U.S. sold South Vietnam to the Communists rings disturbingly true.

The important question now is not whether the war could have been won. It is, Why was the war needlessly prolonged? Whether viewed from the perspective of the ultra-hawks, who argued for complete victory, or the ultra-doves, who demanded an immediate American withdrawal, there was no conceivable reason to prolong the Vietnam War, needlessly but deliberately.

Yet, that is exactly what resulted from Herr Henry's strange policies for over six years—from 1968 until 1973—before the false peace. Why the prolongation? It makes no sense on the surface. But like so much else in the sulphurous swamp of American foreign policy, a pattern can be detected if someone has the courage to explore beneath the surface.

We now know it was Kissinger himself who encouraged President Nixon to establish the White House "Plumbers Squad" that burglarized the offices of Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the "Pentagon Papers" to the press. A Jack Anderson column said the leak drove Kissinger to "near hysteria" and that he feared "disastrous consequences" from the Papers publication.

Why? Despite some alarmist cries to the contrary, there was nothing in the "Pentagon Papers" that would have benefited the Communists very much. Besides, Henry the K had already come to terms with our ostensible enemies. What Super K feared was danger from a far different source.

The Schlafly-Ward writing team suggests that the real reason for Kissinger's alarm was something else entirely.

What we did learn from the publication of the Pentagon Papers—and obviously what Kissinger so feared we would learn—was the existence of a powerful governmental conspiracy going back to the earliest Kennedy years, and the identity of the principal conspirators, of whom all the most influential were CFR members.

What Kissinger really feared was the exposure of the purpose of the conspiracy, and the continuity of the conspiratorial campaign to effect the clandestine unilateral strategic disarmament of the United States by means of the prolongation of the Vietnam War.

As the "Pentagon Papers" clearly reveal, none of the persons who was responsible for establishing U.S. policy in Vietnam had any intention of letting the generals win that bloody conflict. While the war was being prolonged, hundreds of billions of dollars were being wasted—dollars that otherwise might have gone to weapons research and development.

But even more crucial, the devastating no-win conflict was used to divide Americans at home and to create a climate where "peace" on any terms—even a total Communist takeover of Southeast Asia—was acceptable.

Schlafly and Ward believe the Ellsberg group within what we are calling the Shadow Government became alarmed, through their own naive assessment of the situation, that the original Nitze-McNamara-Gilpatric escalation of the war was actually aimed at defeating the Communists. This was hardly the case: Every step-by-step buildup on "our" side was carefully matched so that the "other" side (indirectly armed and equipped by the United States), could respond. The idea clearly was not defeat but prolongation. Yet the Ellsberg group and the American Left operated under the assumption that U.S. policy in Vietnam had actually become anti-Communist—an incredible misreading of reality.

Ellsberg, who had been a protege of Kissinger and was once recruited by Henry to help formulate a new foreign policy regarding Indochina, should have known better. (Or perhaps he did, and was simply being used to destroy, once and for all, any hope for an anti-Communist triumph.)

Incredibly enough, by November 1975 Henry the K all but claimed that his deliberate betrayal of our Asian allies represented a victory for us:

"One of the basic purposes of our original commitment in Indochina was to provide a buffer of security and time fore the many nations of Southeast Asia to enable them to develop their own strength and cohesion. In this regard our efforts proved successful. All of them are examples of self-reliance and national resilience."

It is doubtful that anyone, including Kissinger himself, believed that the Communist conquests of Laos, Cambodia and south Vietnam helped produce "self-reliance" or "national resilience". The message from Washington could not have been clearer. Come to an accommodation with the Communist juggernaut or you will be ruthlessly and totally destroyed. Every other nation in the Far East saw the handwriting on the wall.

For the anti-Communists who did not escape or refused to change sides, retribution was swift. Paul Scott reported:

"The killings by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops match any of the highly played-up massacres committed by Hitler during World War II. In one instance, more than 400 helpless orphans and at least five nuns in charge of the children were put to death by gunfire or beheaded. . .

"Aerial photographs taken of the China Beach area in early April showed more than 30,000 bodies of South Vietnamese executed by the Communists. . .

"Soviet-made trucks and tanks were used to run down fleeing South Vietnamese refugees and destroy churches and schools in which the refugees had taken haven."

According to Scott, at least one-quarter million Vietnamese have been liquidated by the Communists since they seized control of South Vietnam. To put that figure in perspective, remember that the country is smaller than the state of Missouri.

According to Time magazine of April 19, 1976, a similar slaughter is even now taking place in Cambodia:

"Since the Communist victory last year, an estimated 500,000 to 600,000 people—one-tenth of Cambodia's population—have died from political reprisals, disease or starvation. . .

"To escape the bloodbath, at least 25,000 Cambodians have fled across the border into Thailand. They tell tales of people being clubbed to death to save ammunition. Others have been bound together and buried alive by bulldozers, or suffocated by having plastic bags tied over their heads."

Henry K has said nothing about such reports, of course. Just as he has continuously disregarded that part of the Paris accord that required the Communists to account for some 2,300 Americans listed as Prisoners of War or Missing in Action.

The Communists refused all help and information regarding these POWs and MIAs. Instead they indicated the answers would not be forthcoming until the United States agreed to pay "reparations" totaling some $3 billion.

The media in the United States have cooperated in the cover-up by ignoring both the fate of our missing soldiers and the slaughter of anti-Communist natives. And the memories of most Americans are short. If Walter Cronkite doesn't discuss it, it can't be important, can it?

Vietnam and Southeast Asia represent a complete rout for American foreign policy. The results have been the enslaving of additional millions, the collapse of any remaining anti-Communist resistance in Asia, an enormous gain in prestige for the Communists, and an incredible drop in prestige for the United States.

Like the shark in Jaws, Communism has been made to appear invincible, unstoppable, inevitable. But unlike that make-believe horror film, it is not because of its strength, but because of our weakness.

In June 1975, Kissinger was asked by U.S. News and World Report, "What effect has the Vietnam collapse had in the rest of the world?" He replied:

"I think the sudden collapse of Vietnam brought home to a lot of countries the central role of America and its foreign policy. It led to a profound concern in many countries about the conclusions we might draw from that event".

Or, to put it more succinctly, Who's next?