Paris Peace Accords

Henry Kissinger Reaches Age 100: Mixed Views On His Reputation And Legacy!

Henry Kissinger, arguably the most significant Secretary of State in American history since World War II, turns age 100 today.

Sadly, Kissinger has a very checkered history, seen as outstanding in some ways as National Security Adviser and then the head of the State Department under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

But he has also been held complicit for supporting the prolonging of the Vietnam War under Nixon; backing the military coup in Argentina, which led to brutality and the deaths of tens of thousands of Argentines by death squads; the overthrow of the Chilean democracy in 1973, leading to the brutality of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorial regime until 1990; support of the Pakistan dictatorship war against Bangladesh and India in 1971; and the bombing of Cambodia in 1970 and after during the Vietnam War.

On the positive side, he was involved in the negotiation of the Paris Peace Accords ending the Vietnam War; pioneering the policy of detente with the Soviet Union; promoting the opening of relations with the People’s Republic of China; and involvement in shuttle diplomacy that ended the 18 Day Yom Kippur War between Egypt and Israel in 1973.

So Kissinger is looked at by experts as both a “war criminal” but also a statesman who won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the end of the Vietnam War.

Kissinger has been unable to travel freely to many areas of the world, since he left office in 1977, as he could have faced arrest for the evil deeds he endorsed and supported.

He will remain controversial in the future after his passing, but one thing is certain!

You cannot study the history of the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford Presidencies, without realizing the great impact, both negative and positive, of the German Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany!

45 and 40 Years Ago: Times Of Shame!

PBS last night had three hours of documentary coverage of two tragic events, occurring 45 and 40 years ago at the end of April.

In 1970, Richard Nixon ordered the invasion of Cambodia, an escalation of the war in Vietnam, causing massive anti war demonstrations, and the massacre of students at Kent State University in Ohio by the Ohio National Guard, a total of four killed and ten wounded; and Jackson State College in Mississippi, the killing of two students by state troopers and local police. This tragic event was covered in “The Day the Sixties Ended”, an hour presentation.

Then, five years later, on April 30, the final evacuation from Vietnam, two years after the Paris Peace Accords supposedly guaranteed two separate Vietnams, after 12 years of war, and 58,000 Americans had been killed, took place. About 130,000 South Vietnamese were evacuated, but hundreds of thousands were left behind, and ended up in re-education camps of the Communist Vietnamese government, or were “Boat People”, many of whom died in the South China Sea. A few hundred thousand ended up in the US, and others, in the Philippines and several other nations, but it was a tremendous human tragedy. These tragic events were covered in “The Last Days in Vietnam”, an award winning documentary put together by Rory Kennedy, the youngest child of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, born months after his assassination in 1968.

The sad part about these events in 1970 and 1975 is that most Americans have no awareness of these events, and we continue to make similar mistakes, as in the disasters in Iraq and Afghanistan, but causing the loss of American lives and treasure, and the massive loss of life among the people of those nations.

Both 1970 and 1975 are times of shame, but most Americans, being clueless, makes it ever more a shame!

40 Years Since End Of US Involvement In Vietnam

40 years ago today, after what was then the longest war in American history, the United States finally withdrew its armed forces from South Vietnam, after the Paris Peace Accords signed in January of 1973.

58,000 Americans had been killed in a war propping up a corrupt regime under different Vietnamese generals, a war that could have been ended in the first year of the Richard Nixon Presidency, but he was not going to be the President under whom we lost a war.

Instead, sadly, it was lost two years later, during the administration of Gerald Ford, when North Vietnam broke the agreement, and attacked and took over South Vietnam at the end of April 1975, unifying the nation under the Communist government that would now be known as the “People’s Republic” of Vietnam, with Saigon, the old South Vietnamese capital, being renamed Ho Chi Minh City.

America would normalize relations with Vietnam in 1995, and we have trade and normal diplomatic relations with our former adversary now, but the memory of the loss of those 58,000 still haunts survivors of that conflict, and the families who still mourn their sacrifice, and the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC, is our monument of respect to their commitment to our nation!

A First: Two Vietnam War Veterans In Charge Of Our Foreign And Defense Policies

Here we are, 40 years after the Paris Peace Accords ended US involvement in Vietnam, and we finally have two Vietnam War veterans in charge of our State Department and Defense Department, with Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts taking over the State Department on Friday, and former Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska facing a Senate confirmation hearing tomorrow, in which he will be challenged by critics who never served in Vietnam, and could best be described as “chicken hawks”!

Hagel will have a rough reception, but he will be confirmed, rightfully, and he and Kerry will bring a different perspective to our foreign and military policies, the concept of thinking clearly and moving toward confrontation and engagement only when absolutely necessary for our national security and safety.

Kerry and Hagel are a repudiation of neoconservatism, which sees engagement in wars overseas as always a good thing, and constantly looking for places to send military force to promote American capitalist values and Christianity, and in so doing, antagonizing much of the “third world” nations of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. That is why they are fighting so hard to stop Hagel, but they will fail to do that.

Kerry and Hagel know the horrors of war and the reality of military life, and Hagel has war wounds to prove it. They will be excellent advisers to President Barack Obama, and will help to promote sanity in our foreign and military policies. May we wish both of them good fortune as they chart the course of America at a time when rational, sane behavior is essential for America’s revival from a decade of war and economic turmoil.

40th Anniversary Of Paris Peace Accords Ending US Involvement In The Vietnam War

Forty years ago today, the US involvement in the Vietnam War, which had led to the deaths of 58,000 American soldiers since 1961, came to an end with the Paris Peace Accords between the United States, North Vietnam, the Vietcong, and South Vietnam.

Originally hailed as a great moment, it turned out to be a fallacy, as two years later, North Vietnam attacked South Vietnam, and conquered it within the month of April 1975, leading to massive escapes by those who did not wish to live under Communism, with those fleeing being known as the “boat people”.

The Vietnam War had divided America as nothing since the Civil War, with the anti war movement flourishing in America, and major social upheaval occurring, including splits in families over the war, and the destruction of the Democratic coalition that had won overwhelmingly under Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and the growing distrust of government under both Johnson and Richard Nixon.

It is ironic that a major critic of the war, who fought in it, and testified against continued US involvement, John Kerry, soon will be our Secretary of State under a President who was 12 years old when the Paris Peace Accords were signed.

Vietnam veterans have never been treated properly and with full respect, since the war ended four decades ago, but the Obama Administration has done a great deal to try to make the aging of the veterans of that war more easily adjustable, as these survivors, man of them physically or psychologically disabled, live on as testimony to the folly of the war strategy of the US government.