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Revisiting History May Help

“The dark side of Henry Kissinger is very very dark.” It was a sentence uttered by Seymour Hirsh about Henry Kissinger in a documentary called “The Trial of Henry Kissinger.” The documentary was made in 2002 after the publication of Christopher Hutchison’s book ‘The Trial of Henry Kissinger’ in 2000.

The Trial of Henry Kissinger was an important book then and it is more important now to understand the current US military engagements in different parts of globe including Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East.

It is important the current US policy makers, Pakistani policy makers, and the Middle Eastern policy makers read Mr. Hutchison’s book and watch the movie to reevaluate the events and draw fresh conclusions to formulate a policy which may help to achieve peace in a war-torn world.

There are lessons for everyone in this book and movie: lessons for US, Pakistan and the Middle Eastern powers.

Although the book was written and the movie was made with focus on former Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, but it provides insight in United States state policies and behind the scene forces manipulating state institutions to pursue policies which on one side brought US humiliation, internal weakness, and overall tarnished image across the globe and on the other side a lot of deaths, destruction and devastation in many countries in Indo-Chinese and Latin America. 

The book and the movie The Trial of Henry Kissinger need revisiting to take a fresh look at current policies and the parallels in US policies which managed the global events in last 40 years and ask some bitter questions and find answers to some troubling realities of our time.

What US policy makers need to learn are the mistakes their forerunners made in Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Chili and the consequences of those mistakes for United States, and for the countries where those mistakes were made? Then they should ask themselves if they are repeating the same mistakes in current conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq and emerging trouble Iran. If they find that they are making the same mistakes they should not hope for different results.  

The most relevant areas of the book and movie are that deal with United States undeclared war against Cambodia after it starting losing in Vietnam. There are many parallels between policy towards Cambodia in 70s and Northern Pakistan in present days.

US air force bombers bombed areas adjacent to Vietnam under the pretext that Vietnamese guerillas were attacking American forces from Cambodian territories.

The book and the movie blamed the then Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger for waging undeclared war against Cambodia. According to some estimates roughly half a million Cambodians were killed in result of US undeclared engagements in Cambodia.

Did US achieve any objectives in Vietnam and Cambodia?

US achieved no objective other than deaths of thousands of American troops and millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians.  

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger left office long time ago, but it seems his thinking still inspires Policy makers to adopt identical policies in various current conflicts around the globe.

They are repeating the same mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan with the hope to achieve different results.

The US and Pakistani policy makers must re-read the Christopher Hutchison’s book ‘The Trial of Henry Kissinger’ and also watch the movie ‘The Trial of Henry Kissinger.’ It may help them to re-evaluate their policies, engagements and tactics they are using in Afghan conflict.

It is amazing to see how relevant are both the book and the movie ‘The Trial of Henry Kissinger’ even after 10 years of their production.



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