Caitlin Johnstone: Making Kissinger Look Sane

This blood-soaked empire manager is not warning about Washington’s pursuit of planetary hegemony because he has gotten saner. It’s because the war machine has gotten crazier.

Joe Biden, then vice president, with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 2009. (Harald Dettenborn, CC BY 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Caitlin Johnstone

Listen to a reading of this article.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, warmonger Henry Kissinger says the U.S. is acting in a crazy and irrational way that has brought it to the edge of war with Russia and China:

“Mr. Kissinger sees today’s world as verging on a dangerous disequilibrium. ‘We are at the edge of war with Russia and China on issues which we partly created, without any concept of how this is going to end or what it’s supposed to lead to,’ he says. Could the U.S. manage the two adversaries by triangulating between them, as during the Nixon years? He offers no simple prescription. ‘You can’t just now say we’re going to split them off and turn them against each other. All you can do is not to accelerate the tensions and to create options, and for that you have to have some purpose.’

On the question of Taiwan, Mr. Kissinger worries that the U.S. and China are maneuvering toward a crisis, and he counsels steadiness on Washington’s part. ‘The policy that was carried out by both parties has produced and allowed the progress of Taiwan into an autonomous democratic entity and has preserved peace between China and the U.S. for 50 years,’ he says. ‘One should be very careful, therefore, in measures that seem to change the basic structure.’”

Kissinger courted controversy earlier this year by suggesting that incautious policies on the part of the U.S. and NATO may have touched off the crisis in Ukraine. He sees no choice but to take Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stated security concerns seriously and believes it was a mistake for NATO to signal to Ukraine that it might eventually join the alliance: “I thought that Poland — all the traditional Western countries that have been part of Western history — were logical members of NATO,” he says. 

But Ukraine, in his view, is a collection of territories once appended to Russia, which Russians see as their own, even though “some Ukrainians” do not. Stability would be better served by its acting as a buffer between Russia and the West: “I was in favor of the full independence of Ukraine, but I thought its best role was something like Finland.”

This warning seems much more ominous coming from a blood-soaked swamp monster than it would be from some anti-imperialist peace activist who was speaking from outside the belly of the imperial machine. This man is a war criminal who, as a leading empire manager, helped to unleash unfathomable horrors all around the world the consequences of which are still being felt today.

And as far as you can tell from his own comments, he remains completely unreformed.

“Looking back over his long and often controversial career, however, he is not given to self-criticism,” The Journal’s Laura Secor writes.

“I do not torture myself with things we might have done differently,” Kissinger tells her.

So, Kissinger remains an unapologetic warmongering psychopath. But if he hasn’t changed as a person, what has? Why is he now cautioning against U.S. aggression and warning that the empire has taken things too far?

Well, if Kissinger hasn’t changed, we can only surmise that the U.S. empire has changed. Its behavior is now so insane and illogical that it is making a 99 year-old Henry Kissinger nervous.

Which, if you really think about it, is one of the scariest things you could possibly imagine.

The empire’s departure from the Kissinger iteration of murderous madness to its new form of insanity appears to have begun around the turn of the century, when the influx of neoconservatives into the White House combined with the jingoism which followed 9/11 to usher in an era of interventionism and military expansionism of such brazenness and recklessness that many from the old guard balked.

Kissinger was supportive of the 2003 Iraq invasion, but well before it began he was already saying that he had serious misgivings about the lack of clear thinking and forward planning he was seeing on that front. The neoconservative goal of U.S. planetary hegemony at any cost which led to that invasion (and the planning of many more) has since become the mainstream Beltway consensus perspective on U.S. foreign policy, and it is responsible for the escalations that Kissinger is now warning about.

“The PNAC plan envisions a strategic confrontation with China, and a still greater permanent military presence in every corner of the world,” wrote Michael Parenti in his 2004 book Superpatriotism:

“The objective is not just power for its own sake but power to control the world’s natural resources and markets, power to privatize and deregulate the economies of every nation in the world, and power to hoist upon the backs of peoples everywhere — including North America — the blessings of an untrammeled global ‘free market.’ The end goal is to ensure not merely the supremacy of global capitalism as such, but the supremacy of American global capitalism by preventing the emergence of any other potentially competing superpower.”

By “PNAC plan” Parenti means the plans of the neoconservatives behind the notorious Project for the New American Century think tank, whose uni-polarist militaristic agendas they explicitly advocated.

Kissinger is warning about the dangers of U.S. warmongering not because he has gotten saner, but because the U.S. war machine has gotten crazier.

That we are now hurtling toward confrontations that don’t appear rational to someone who has spent the majority of his life watching the mechanics of empire from within its inner chambers should concern us all.

When you are talking about brinkmanship between major world powers, especially nuclear brinkmanship, the last thing you need is for one of the parties involved to be acting erratically and nonsensically.

We need de-escalation and detente, and we needed it yesterday.

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.

This article is from and re-published with permission.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

27 comments for “Caitlin Johnstone: Making Kissinger Look Sane

  1. Humwawa
    August 18, 2022 at 06:30

    It’s not just the Blob that’s gotten crazier. It’s the whole world that’s gotten crazier. We could be on the brink of WWIII and nuclear Armageddon, yet most people seem cool about that. They think it won’t happen because it hasn’t happened before even though the risk of a nuclear conflict is greater today than it was ever before. I remember the large peace demonstrations of the 1980s against nuclear rearmament and the stationing of the Pershings 2 in Europe, which led to the INF treaty. Now, the INF has been unilaterally cancelled and people in the East of Europe want US nukes on their territory.

    I think there isn’t much hope for humanity.

  2. lester
    August 18, 2022 at 05:41

    For all his myriad crimes, it i (unfortunately) is true that Henry Kissinger is far, far, far, less crazy and stupid than the ‘tards who mismanage US foreign policy in 2022.

  3. JonnyJames
    August 17, 2022 at 11:54

    Great article, as usual from Caitlin. I had a friendly debate with a good friend about Henry K. recently.

    The blood-soaked, warmonger, war criminal is still alive! (Only the good die young?)

    I also appreciate the accurate language (not euphemisms or metaphors) Caitlin uses to describe a person partially responsible for the deaths of 100s of thousands of innocent people (even millions). All too often so-called journalists (even independent ones), and pundits describe rabid sociopaths and war criminals as “hawks”. I find this akin to Orwellian New Speak. Using an anthropomorphic metaphor is not only inaccurate and euphemistic, it is insulting to the beautiful animals.

    There are a whole raft of cowardly, blood-soaked warmongers who are willing to fight until the last drop of other people’s blood. None of these scum are “hawks”, they are pathetic cowards, dressed up in a suit-and-tie, advocating mass murder and destruction. Most of these people have lived sheltered, privileged lives and have never faced any danger to themselves. (Is there a psychologist in the house?)

    • Dr. Hujjatullah M.H.Babu Sahib
      August 17, 2022 at 14:31

      “Only the good die young” and “…it is insulting to the beautiful animals”; two gems from you, that I can’t leave without acknowledging; those are so true ! Anyway, to call Kissinger insane would be inaccurate. He is more a dead rationalist and a bloody genius rolled into one, no fellow sociopaths pretending to be humanistic statesmen like him, in many other regions of the world, could resist the temptation to partake in his cutting logic and diabolic wisdomd in their own heydays !

      • August 18, 2022 at 09:59

        When you have no humanity in you, it is easy to be rationalist and calculating. Human life has no value to this scumbag.

  4. Mary
    August 17, 2022 at 11:38

    Another possibility is “they,” whatever meany cohort “they” now are, are leaving the k out of the loop, as all of the violence-tool cohorts collude for … more violence-tools.

  5. Tony
    August 17, 2022 at 11:27

    The only thing that Henry Kissinger expressed regret about was that, whilst serving in the Nixon administration, he did not consider more carefully the question of MIRVs.

    The SALT 1 Agreement on strategic nuclear weapons, signed in 1972 between the USA and the USSR, counted missile launchers. There was nothing to stop either side from deploying a new missile that could carry multiple warheads which could be independently targeted.

    And so the nuclear arms race was not really restrained much (if at all).

    The lesson to be learned here is that ordinary people need to educate themselves in important matters and then get involved themselves.

  6. Drew Hunkins
    August 17, 2022 at 11:03

    Sort of off topic, but just wanted to share the Tweet that just got me permanently banned from Twitter:

    If the DOJ’s going to raid the big bad Trumpenstein’s estate, then every single neocon-Ziocon from the Cheney admin should be on death row for orchestrating, propagandizing, and carrying out the biggest crime of the past 80 years: the grotesque and monstrous 2003 invasion of Iraq

  7. Jeff Harrison
    August 16, 2022 at 21:01

    Yes, Caitlin but you can’t just blame the US. Our vassals and lapdogs are just as guilty. Our vassals and lapdogs in the Eurozone are all in on sanctioning Russia with the idiot in charge of Germany saying that Russia can’t be allowed to win and Simon Tisdall over at the Guardian complaining that the West isn’t doing “a full-dress, active-duty, on-the-ground, and in-the-air intervention in behalf of the Kyiv regime.” Of course, this has another name – WWIII. We continue to poke the Chinese dragon and, at the rate of speed we’re going, China will seize Taiwan by force and if the US/Japan try to resist, we’ll get our asses kicked. This would not be like attacking Catalina island.

    I live in remote N. Idaho. I’m stocking my pantry and wine cellar.

  8. Peter D Crockett
    August 16, 2022 at 19:46

    Amen a lone voice in the wilderness I cry for my beloved country

  9. Jeano
    August 16, 2022 at 18:17

    I love it that you give all the right adjectives to Kissinger and quote Micheal Parenti— one of the most neglected great minds of this century. I would only add this: please name names of those responsible for PNAC?

    • Frank Lambert
      August 17, 2022 at 08:36

      Jeano: Well said! If anything, Caitlin was too polite with the adjectives to Kissinger. And definitely YES on Michael Parenti, deliberately neglected because he has written volumes in books, articles and in his lectures on imperialism and empire and of course fascism.

      Dr. Parenti’s book, “THE FACE OF IMPERIALISM” is excellent and is well documented.

      And of course, thank you Caitlin, for another no-nonsense article in telling the truth about that evil misanthrope!

    • J Anthony
      August 17, 2022 at 08:46

      Here are a few off of the top of my head, the most obvious- the Bushes, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld. I believe this PNAC garbage was forged sometime in the late 1990s during the Clinton administration, after Republicans had taken back the House and were looking for reasons to go back to a permanent-war-economy mode, which had been somewhat diminished in the 90s by the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the “Cold War.” As we know now, 9/11 would be all the justification they needed and then some, and here we are 20 years later. And yes, of course there are neocon-Democrats like Hillary Clinton, who never met a military-intervention she didn’t like post-9/11. But that’s the era to start looking in.

    • Rob Roy
      August 17, 2022 at 11:56

      Out of the many signatories to PNAC, here’s a handful of the more recognizable names:
      Morton I. Abramowitz, Elliott Abrams, Madeleine K. Albright, Richard Armitage, Peter Beinart, William Bennett, Joseph R, Biden, John Bolton, William F.Buckley, Jr., Richard B. Cheney, James Dobbins, Michele Flournoy, Francis Fukuyama, Carl Gershmann, Vaclav Havel, Richard C. Holbrooke, Robert Kagan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Charles Krauthammer, William Kristol, Connie Mack, John McCain, Michael McFaul, Richard N. Perle, Dan Quayle, Donald Rumsfeld, Caspar Weinberger, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey.

      • Francis Lee
        August 17, 2022 at 17:59

        This is – the above – the present ideological/psychotic riff-raff that holds the destiny of the world in its hands; who in the terms of Talleyrand regarded the statesmen of his day who had ”Learned nothing, forgotten nothing.” Strange to say that Vaclav Havel was among this less-than-august assembly. Apparently we (they) have learned nothing from the tutelage of the likes of Palmerston, Bismarck and Talleyrand. The western world is seemingly bereft of any statesmen with an objective and dispassionate view of political, economic and strategic affairs. War is beginning to look increasingly likely.

      • August 18, 2022 at 10:06

        If you look at the names carefully, you will see that most are “Israel first” crowd. If you look at the wars that US has led from their lens, it would make sense. One country benefits while the rest of ME burns.

  10. Billy MacGee
    August 16, 2022 at 18:14

    Maybe this makes sense to people who aren’t old enough to know and remember Kissinger. But, for those of us with gray hair, Kissinger was never insane. This is not to say that I agreed with Kissinger. But, Henry Kissinger is clearly the smartest person to lead US foreign policy in my lifetime. Nobody in this century even comes close.

    Yes, I was a political opponent of his from the very beginnings of my thinking about politics, which was as a young teen watching the older kids in my neighborhood get drafted to fight in Vietnam, and then not come back. But no, Kissinger was never insane. He was always very logical in his arguments. Which of course would probably confuse anyone too young to remember the era when logic and politics could exist together, and when people actually made logical arguments about the course the nation should take. I suppose if you don’t have gray hair, that seems insanely impossible.

    The modern form of political argument now appears to insist that such slanders be directed at all political opponents. All opponents are evil incarnate. All opponents are insane. Which is why the world is such a bleeped up place today, far worse than the Cuban Missile Crisis/Vietnam Era. Opposing sides can no longer talk and discuss, but view any opposition as insanity.

    Such a world will never find peace. And in a world with nuclear weapons, that is the course of suicidal insanity.

    And remember, the policy that Kissinger was most famous for was ‘detente’ between the Yankees and the Stalinists and the lessening of tensions and the creation of arms control. Kissinger was hated for this by the Cold Warriors 1.0. IIRC, there were a lot of speeches given and columns written about how awful and evil ‘detente’ was to America. This of course from the people who could not imagine anything but warfare with the evil Ruskies.

    If Kissinger was insane, then we desperately need his form of insanity to reappear in this world, and quickly. The Voice of the Doomsday Clock is counting down, and its down to the single digits.

    • Dfnslblty
      August 17, 2022 at 13:46

      >>Kissinger was never insane. He was always very logical in his arguments. <<

      When logic is misused, insanity ensues, and intelligence misused dangerous at best.

      What is know is that H.K. is an intelligent psychopath.

    • August 18, 2022 at 10:09

      Logic devoid of humanity leads to destruction

  11. Charles E. Carroll
    August 16, 2022 at 18:14

    “Detente”. Now there is a forgotten word from the past!

  12. Charles E. Carroll
    August 16, 2022 at 18:12

    So, Kissinger remains an unapologetic warmongering psychopath. So very true!

  13. Mark Thomason
    August 16, 2022 at 17:44

    Col MacGregor in a recent video interview put it, “These are not serious people.” To be worse than Kissinger, they’d need to be serious. They are lightweights blundering into vast troubles because they are fools, not because they are inherently evil.

    Still, we must clean out Washington of these unserious lightweights selling office and pandering to silly ideas.

  14. August 16, 2022 at 17:39

    I recall when antiwar activists preferred the Democratic Party. That was always a mistake, since at least the War of 1812, but especially since 1916, but there are still deluded self-described (albeit erroneously) progressives who claim that political party as home. Something to think about, as the foregoing article illustrates.

  15. Rudy Haugeneder
    August 16, 2022 at 17:18

    Then there is the potential really big North American war nobody has dare to mention: between Mexico and theUnited States over water that the current American drought is causing the USA to rob Mexico of the fast shrinking Colorado River water it is entitled to but denied. Yes, perhaps as early as next year if this drought persists, even worsens, Mexico will be forced to go to war with its northern adversary in order to feed itself, damn (pun intended) the millions who will lose their lives on both sides of the border. Don’t think this is fiction. It is a reality that is very much closer than anyone, in their silence, even suspects possible.

  16. Tommy
    August 16, 2022 at 17:00

    I never knew that Bourdain said that about Kissinger. Here is an article about the huge number of sorties dropped on Cambodia by the US Air Force: hxxps://

  17. BB
    August 16, 2022 at 15:33

    Thank you Caitlin.

    You are right, the U.S. war machine has dangerously gotten crazier. We must stop our rulers warmongering. All we need urgently is de-escalation and detente.

    • Mikael Andersson
      August 16, 2022 at 20:27

      Hello BB. When you figure out how to “stop our rulers warmongering” please let us all know. I have been trying for years, demonstrating, writing to politicians and ministers, pressuring, encouraging my family and associates, signing petitions, browbeating journalists and every other thing I can think to do. The result so far is failure and rising regime insanity. In Australia I even voted for a new government, which has done exactly what the old government did – declare unquestioning loyalty to our warmongering rulers in the USA. Your tips and tricks on how to “stop our rulers warmongering” greatly appreciated. I’ll action that immediately. Regards, M

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