When Henry Kissinger Makes Sense

Exclusive: Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger disputes the mainstream U.S. media’s view of the Ukraine crisis, noting that Russia’s response was reactive to the West’s actions, not the other way around. But the MSM keeps up the drumbeat about Russian “aggression,” writes Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The American public is faced with an information crisis as the New York Times and other mainstream U.S. media outlets have become little more than propaganda organs on behalf of the neoconservative agenda and particularly the rush into a new Cold War with Russia so much so that even ex-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has broken ranks.

MSM articles consistently reek of bias and in some cases make little sense. For instance, Times correspondent David M. Herszenhorn, one of the leading propagandists, wrote an alarmist story on Wednesday about a new Russian “invasion” of Ukraine but curiously he had the alleged Russian tank column heading east toward the Ukrainian city of Donetsk which would be back toward Russia, not westward into Ukraine.

President Richard Nixon with his then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger in 1972.

President Richard Nixon with his then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger in 1972.

According to Herszenhorn’s article, “The full scope of the Russian incursion is not clear, [NATO Supreme Commander Gen. Philip M. Breedlove] said, though the convoys seemed to be heading east toward Donetsk, an O.S.C.E. spokesman, Michael Bociurkiw, said Wednesday.”

Typical of his anti-Russian bias, Herszenhorn also cited Ukrainian government complaints that the Russians had been using a shaky cease-fire to bolster the ethnic Russian rebels in the east, but the reality is that both sides have been accusing the other of such maneuvering. Herszenhorn surely knows this but he wrote only:

“Ukrainian officials have complained all along that Russia was taking advantage of the so-called truce to reinforce the rebels in eastern Ukraine with more fighters and equipment.”

The reality is that there has been widespread alarm among eastern Ukrainians that the Kiev regime was using the relative lull in the fighting to resupply and reposition its forces for a new offensive like the one that killed thousands over the summer. Though human rights organizations have criticized Kiev for indiscriminate shelling of cities and unleashing brutal militia forces on the population, the Times and other mainstream U.S. newspapers have either ignored or downplayed such facts.

On Wednesday, Herszenhorn also compared the alleged new Russian incursion with the “invasion” of Crimea, although there really was no “invasion” of Crimea since the Russian troops that were involved in supporting Crimea’s popular referendum to secede from Ukraine and rejoin Russia were already in Crimea under an agreement with the Ukrainian government regarding the Russian naval base at Sebastopol.

Herszenhorn’s use of the word “invasion” is just an exaggeration like the rest of the imbalanced reporting that has made a rational U.S. public response to the crisis in Ukraine nearly impossible.

Since the start of the crisis in February, the New York Times’ coverage has been remarkable in its refusal to present the Ukraine story in anything like an objective fashion. For example, the Times has largely ignored the substantial public evidence that U.S. government officials and agents helped orchestrate the Feb. 22 coup which overthrew the elected President Viktor Yanukovych. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Whys Behind the Ukraine Crisis.”]

The Times also has buried evidence that extreme right-wing and neo-Nazi elements played key roles in firebombing police, forcing Yanukovych and other government officials to flee for their lives, and spearheading later attacks on ethnic Russians. When this reality is referenced, it is usually presented with little meaningful context or tacked on in the last few paragraphs of long articles on other topics.

Mocking Medvedev

Herszenhorn himself has been a leading violator of journalistic standards. For instance, in mid-April, early on in the crisis, he penned a mocking story from Moscow ridiculing Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev for predicting a possible civil war.

In the article entitled “Russia Is Quick To Bend Truth About Ukraine,” Herszenhorn accused Medvedev of posting an item on Facebook that “was bleak and full of dread,” including noting that “blood has been spilled in Ukraine again” and adding that “the threat of civil war looms.”

Herszenhorn continued, “He [Medvedev] pleaded with Ukrainians to decide their own future ‘without usurpers, nationalists and bandits, without tanks or armored vehicles and without secret visits by the C.I.A. director.’ And so began another day of bluster and hyperbole, of the misinformation, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, overheated rhetoric and, occasionally, outright lies about the political crisis in Ukraine that have emanated from the highest echelons of the Kremlin and reverberated on state-controlled Russian television, hour after hour, day after day, week after week.”

This argumentative “news” story spilled from the front page to the top half of an inside page, but Herszenhorn never managed to mention that there was nothing false in what Medvedev wrote. Indeed, as the bloodshed soon grew worse and escalated into a civil war, you might say Medvedev was tragically prescient.

It was also the much-maligned Russian press that first reported the secret visit of CIA Director John Brennan to Kiev. Though the White House later confirmed that report, Herszenhorn still cited Medvedev’s reference to it in the context of “misinformation” and “conspiracy theories.” Nowhere in the long article did the Times inform its readers that, yes, the CIA director did make a secret visit to Ukraine.

In this upside-down world of MSM disinformation, there has been very little criticism of the glaring biases of the mainstream Western media but instead continued attacks on the professionalism of the Russian media, including an adverse finding this week by an official British agency that monitors alleged bias in news outlets operating in the UK. The agency, known as Ofcom, accused Russia’s RT network of failing to meet standards for “due impartiality” in early Ukraine coverage.

Interestingly, Ofcom did not judge any of the RT reports false in their description of neo-Nazi thugs participating in the Feb. 22 coup, a possible role of coup-related snipers in the slaughter of scores of people at the Maidan, and the unconstitutionality of the new government.

But Ofcom faulted RT for not meeting the fuzzy concept of “due impartiality” and threatened regulatory sanctions against RT if it didn’t shape up. Ofcom defined “due impartiality” as “impartiality adequate or appropriate to the subject and nature of the programme.”

The image of a British regulatory body threatening RT with sanctions for not toeing the pro-Western propaganda line that nearly all UK and U.S. news outlets do has an Orwellian feel to it, singling out one of the few sources of news that doesn’t accept the prevailing “group think.”

It would be one thing if the same standards were applied to Western media outlets for their one-sided reporting on Ukraine, but that apparently would ruffle too many important feathers.

Kissinger’s Dissent

Curiously, one of the few prominent Westerners who has dared question the prevailing wisdom on Ukraine is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who said, in an interview with the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, that the West was exaggerating the significance of the Crimean annexation given the peninsula’s long historic ties to Russia.

“The annexation of Crimea was not a move toward global conquest,” the 91-year-old Kissinger said. “It was not Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia” as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others have suggested.

Kissinger noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had no intention of instigating a crisis in Ukraine: “Putin spent tens of billions of dollars on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The theme of the Olympics was that Russia is a progressive state tied to the West through its culture and, therefore, it presumably wants to be part of it. So it doesn’t make any sense that a week after the close of the Olympics, Putin would take Crimea and start a war over Ukraine.”

Instead Kissinger argued that the West with its strategy of pulling Ukraine into the orbit of the European Union was responsible for the crisis by failing to understand Russian sensitivity over Ukraine and making the grave mistake of quickly pushing the confrontation beyond dialogue.

But Kissinger also faulted Putin for his reaction to the crisis. “This does not mean the Russian response was appropriate,” Kissinger said.

Still, Kissinger told Der Spiegel that “a resumption of the Cold War would be a historic tragedy. If a conflict is avoidable, on a basis reflecting morality and security, one should try to avoid it. We have to remember that Russia is an important part of the international system, and therefore useful in solving all sorts of other crises, for example in the agreement on nuclear proliferation with Iran or over Syria. This has to have preference over a tactical escalation in a specific case.”

When Henry Kissinger starts to sound like the voice of reason, it says a lot about how crazy the New York Times and the rest of the MSM have become.

[This story was updated on Nov. 14 with a link to Der Spiegel’s interview and its official English-language transcript.]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.


25 comments for “When Henry Kissinger Makes Sense

  1. Living in hope ...
    November 12, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Not since nam have I heard Kissinger come out with anything that sounds reasonable – however – in the final reckoning he is still a war criminal who is responsible for crimes against humanity and as such deserves to rot for the remainder of his days in a dungeon, surrounded by the exhumed remains of peasant ‘commie kids’ corpses.
    That would be JUSTICE. Amen.

  2. ltr
    November 12, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    These essays are of utmost importance. I am continually startled and dismayed at the obvious bias in reporting on Russia and Ukraine in the New York Times and turn to you each day in hope of fairness. The direction the Times is taking on the matter is frightening to me.

  3. Abe
    November 13, 2014 at 1:33 am

    Kissinger is out pimping his new book, World Order. However sober his acknowledgements of what he terms “Russian patrimony” in Ukraine, his confident assertions that Iran is seeking to “reconstruct the ancient Persian Empire” is sheer mendacity laced with senility. Nothing this slobbering mandarin utters can salvage his soul for the atrocities of Chile, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

    • Eddie
      November 13, 2014 at 8:54 pm

      I agree, Abe. I suspect that Kissinger is just trying to re-establish some gravitas and restore respectability (unwarranted though they may be) by saying some sensible, rational things, so that people who actually think (as opposed to Fox viewers/voters) might buy his book.

      Also, this article somehow reminds me too much of the meme about ‘only Nixon could go to China’ and similar reflections, essentially stating that you have to be a full-fledged opponent of something before you can be considered a valid proponent of it, or vice versa (i.e.; you had to be gung-ho FOR the war in Vietnam, Iraq, etc and then see your mistake before you can be considered a legitimate critic AGAINST it). I don’t care WHAT Kissinger says, he has no credibility and I don’t care to bother to listen to people like him, even if (and because) he’s Ted Koppel’s idol. If he said the sun was shining I’d look outside before leaving my umbrella behind.

  4. Yar
    November 13, 2014 at 4:58 am

    “The image of a British regulatory body threatening RT with sanctions… has an Orwellian feel to it”

    It’s hardly a feel, it’s a harsh reality of a political censure.
    The great western democracy and free speech.

  5. Kim Dixon
    November 13, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Yesterday, I attempted to post a comment on the NYT’s latest article on Ukraine. In the post, I pointed out some of the US’ aggression and belligerence leading up to the crisis. I discussed the Neocons’ role, and the Wolfowitz Doctrine. My comment was mildly-worded, and not at all inflammatory.

    And… you guessed it. My post was never put up. It sat in Moderator Limbo since I attempted to upload it, while dozens of anti-Russian screeds went right up. Even the moderators are following the marching orders of the Right over at the NYT. Frightening, disheartening stuff I never thought I’d see.

    • F. G. Sanford
      November 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      Don’t feel bad. My comment posted to this very article a few hours ago is still “awaiting moderation”. I don’t know if that’s a reflection on the content or merely the result of a randomly applied statistical mechanism to monitor for spam. A ‘key word’ filter may be in place, but I can’t recall using any that would raise any “Big Brotherly” eyebrows. In a world that maintains there are two sides to every story, we are discouraged from insisting that only one can be true. ‘Persona non grata’ in that world is nothing of which to be ashamed.

    • Abe
      November 13, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      Blog comments may be placed in moderation by an automated SPAM filter (such as Askimet for WordPress) due to a variety of factors such as the comment length (word count or character count) and the number of links in the body of the comment.

      Consortium News checks their SPAM filter during the day to recover legitimate comments that may have been automatically placed in moderation.

      I have posted comments that were temporarily placed in moderation, but they have appeared on the site within 24 hours.

      I now place no more than one hypertext link per comment post to avoid activating the SPAM filter.

      Hope you find this helpful.

  6. F. G. Sanford
    November 13, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Breedlove’s appraisal of putative rolling stock maneuvers sounds remarkably reminiscent of another notable American strategist: Captain Peter “Wrongway” Peachfuzz of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame. I note that in order to gather the “intelligence” necessary to make this assessment, satellite imagery would be extremely corroborative. Under the circumstances, it won’t be forthcoming for the same reasons it has been withheld in the MH-17 disaster.

    Back in the days of horse and buggy technology, there was a quaint expression for something that smelled really, really bad. In those days, the meat processing industry in populated areas like Chicago had to transport offal through the city to rural dumping grounds. The “rolling stock” employed to accomplish this were referred to as “gut wagons”. That Henry Kissinger has also abandoned the official Washington wagon train inspires a pertinent analogy. The story smells so bad, “It could stink a maggot off a gut wagon”. Any offense to maggots is strictly coincidental.

  7. WMcMillan
    November 13, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    Once again great reporting. It is indeed scary that Kissinger is sounding like the voice of reason here, considering his track record. Our MSM is so suspect I question everything they report. I come to places like Consortium News to get the facts and the story behind the story.

    Thanks again Robert

  8. Susan
    November 13, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    A few weeks ago I heard Kissinger say that it was a mistake to attack and destroy Iraq – I almost fell off the couch.

  9. DanielMJ
    November 13, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Ex-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is biased. I live in Ukraine. I was in Kyiv during the EuroMaidan protests, the riots, the ousting of Yanukovich, the Russian invasion of Crimea and the Donetsk war. I have acquaintances and friends who have traveled to all these regions. Kissinger is wrong. The west is not responsible. Russia refuses to give Ukraine the right to decide for themselves. The pro-Russian enclaves in certain countries were strategically placed there in the past to maintain control over regions of the world. Ukraine’s wanting to join Europe triggered the containment plan. It is that simple.

    • Joe Tedesky
      November 14, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Thanks for your report, but at least on this site your comment got posted. Some of us Americans are suspicious of our government, especially since we never found all those WMD in Iraq…but tell us more of what you know…it is interesting to hear all views. BTW I trust Robert Parry’s reporting.

    • Abe
      November 17, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      “…pro-Russian enclaves in certain countries were strategically placed there in the past to maintain control over regions of the world.”

      Genocidal talk sure is popular in Kiev.

      No doubt you celebrate the “nationalism of the deed” performed by the “heroic” Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), who cleansed all those “pro-Polish enclaves” that had been strategically placed in Galicia.

      The West is responsible and genocide is its tried and true containment plan in Ukraine.

      It’s that simple.

  10. Greg Maybury
    November 14, 2014 at 12:00 am

    We’re not in Kansas anymore it would seem when KIssinger starts making sense. Whilst his comments on the Ukraine situation in support of Russia and Putin are to be welcomed, nonetheless it is hard to escape the conclusion the ignoble Nobel Peace Prize Man may have less than noble motivations for buying into the argument. Does his Kissinger and Associates firm have any business ties to Russia that may be affected by the sanctions? Hard to say of course given the way he plays his cards close to his chest in this respect, a reality evident after he refused to disclose such information when he was being touted as the 9/11 Commission Chair all those years ago.

    Put bluntly, given The Grand Master Flash of Realpolitik’s well documented track record as hinted at by other posters, we can hardly assume that Hank the Hunk’s predisposition for setting the record straight on Putin et. al. doesn’t come accompanied by some ulterior motives. If only he would set his own record straight. Given the content of his most recent self-serving, hubristic opus “World Order”, it appears he is not quite ready for that. Better get yo’ sorry ass into gear Hank, before you use up your allotted supply of oxygen. There’s still time for some redemption old son, even for you! On second thoughts, maybe that’s being a bit gracious in your case.

  11. Craig Burns
    November 14, 2014 at 11:42 am

    The interview with Henry Kissinger

    Interview with Henry Kissinger

  12. November 14, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    The fact that Kissinger is worried about the NeoCon agendas pushing for war (the typical remedy to economic stress e.g. BRICS Bank/ Shanghai’s gold exchange), hints that we are on the verge of physical war and well into an Economic Ideological war.
    It also hints that Kissinger’s list of companies he advises are also at risk.

    Osama bin Laden — Investment opportunities in Israel.

    The Carlyle Group — How to use the CIA by providing it with cover globally.

    The Government of North Korea — Nuclear power as the road to energy independence.

    The Government of Russia — Investment opportunities in North Korea.

    The Government of Colombia — Promotion of morphine as an alternative to heroin production.

    The CIA — How to employ Kissinger Associates as a cover for covert operations globally.

    Saddam Hussein — Opportunities for residential concealment of defense operations against Iranian attack.

    The Government of Iran — The use of oil revenues to create a deterrent against an Iraqi attack.

    The Government of China — Methods of providing campaign contributions to the Bush for President campaign.

    George Steinbrenner — Recruitment of Kosovar outfielders capable of doubling as assassins of Serbian outfielders recruited by the Boston Red Sox.

    Barbara Streisand — Opportunities for translating greatest hits into Pashtun.

    Rashid Dasdun — Methods of obtaining information from suspected Taliban and Al Queda not permitted in the United States. Courses to be taught at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Bangkok (Teaching materials provided by Kissinger Associates).

    Bernard Lewis — Worldwide promoting of “What Went Wrong” in Moslem countries, so they can learn how to be slavish, sycophantic admirers of Bernard Lewis.

    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia — Investment opportunities in Cuba.

    Fidel Castro — How to get Cuban cigars past Customs into America (Customs officials learn to smoke them and enjoy them).

    The Rockettes — Appropriate methods of performing in Moslem countries, excluding belly dancing.

    The Israeli National Soccer Team — How to beat Brazil (Personally taught by Henry Kissinger)

    William Safire — How to be sufficiently unctuous to Henry Kissinger.

    Bob Woodward — How to reveal a sufficiently small amount of the truth to conceal a bigger lie (French to English translation of Roland Barthes provided).

    The Government of Indonesia — How to run amok when necessary to increase U.S. aid and to get the IMF to forgive debt.

    The International Monetary Fund — How to wreck the world’s economy, so Kissinger Associates can consult with Alan Greenspan on how to straighten things out).

    The World Bank — How to make incongruous loans to bankrupt countries so Kissinger Associates can advise them how to avoid repayment.

    via http://www.lewrockwell.com/2002/12/richard-cummings/the-client-list-of-kissinger-associates/

  13. Alexandr
    November 14, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    I’m from Russia, from Engels city,. Hm… I don’t know why I decide to write my first message exactly in this topic. What can I say… Thanks a lot to such guys like Robert Perry for the opening of eyes to as much of Americans as it possible. I think the reasonable person who can simply use facts, history, different points of view can figure out the right side.

  14. Alexandr
    November 14, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    By the way, have You heard the latest news about Boeing, seen the photos of jetfighter’s firing the missile and feedbacks of the experts?

  15. Gerd Balzer
    November 15, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Since H.Kissinger himself is no stranger to undercover operations,destabilisation, war crimes and other stuff for “the good” of the country,it’s a very scary thought,that even he can’t cope with what is going on over here in Europe.
    When an otherwise scrupulless man like him can’t understand and explain this aggressive politics,then there is reason to worry like hell,for the near future.And this will mean today for survival of mankind.

  16. MrK
    November 15, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    The article in Der Spiegel is here:

    (DER SPIEGEL) Interview with Henry Kissinger: ‘Do We Achieve World Order Through Chaos or Insight?’
    Interview Conducted By Juliane von Mittelstaedt and Erich Follath

    Interesting excerpts:

    Kissinger: I consider Hillary a friend, and I think she’s a strong person. So, yes, I think she can do the job. Generally, I think it would be better for the country if there were a change in administration. And I think we Republicans have to get a good candidate.

    And on Ukraine:

    Kissinger: Crimea is a symptom, not a cause. Furthermore, Crimea is a special case. Ukraine was part of Russia for a long time. You can’t accept the principle that any country can just change the borders and take a province of another country. But if the West is honest with itself, it has to admit that there were mistakes on its side. The annexation of Crimea was not a move toward global conquest. It was not Hitler moving into Czechoslovakia.

    SPIEGEL: What was it then?

    Kissinger: One has to ask one’s self this question: Putin spent tens of billions of dollars on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The theme of the Olympics was that Russia is a progressive state tied to the West through its culture and, therefore, it presumably wants to be part of it. So it doesn’t make any sense that a week after the close of the Olympics, Putin would take Crimea and start a war over Ukraine. So one has to ask one’s self why did it happen?

    SPIEGEL: What you’re saying is that the West has at least a kind of responsibility for the escalation?

    Kissinger: Yes, I am saying that. Europe and America did not understand the impact of these events, starting with the negotiations about Ukraine’s economic relations with the European Union and culminating in the demonstrations in Kiev. All these, and their impact, should have been the subject of a dialogue with Russia. This does not mean the Russian response was appropriate.

    SPIEGEL: It seems you have a lot of understanding for Putin. But isn’t he doing exactly what you are warning of — creating chaos in eastern Ukraine and threatening sovereignty?

    Kissinger: Certainly. But Ukraine has always had a special significance for Russia. It was a mistake not to realize that.

  17. moi
    November 18, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    It’s really scary that I find myself agreeing with dr. k.

  18. November 18, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Funny, Spiegel didn’t ask him about what he did in the 70-ies when Nixon was president (China_USSR). Zug-zwang, eh?

  19. carroll price
    November 18, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    “Bomb anything that moves” Kissinger is like Robert McNamara in that now that he sees his own sordid life coming to an end, is starting to repent for the thousands of war crimes he committed over the past 40 years.

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