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Big enough to deter

Jeff McMahan, 15 April 1982

Nuclear Illusion and Reality 
by Solly Zuckerman.
Collins, 154 pp., £7.50, January 1982, 0 00 216554 6
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... he offers for remaining in Nato consists in producing an opaque and irrelevant quotation from Henry Kissinger. It is an annoying feature of the book that Zuckerman often dodges the necessity of providing reasons for his beliefs by simply quoting authorities. Zuckerman’s only positive argument for retaining the deterrent is that, as an instance of a ...

I blame the British

Charles Glass: A report from Lake Dokan, 17 April 2003

... behest in 1974. When the Shah of Iran signed a border agreement with Saddam in Algiers in 1975, Henry Kissinger let Saddam blast the Kurds out of the mountains. Mullah Mustafa died, a much loved if defeated leader, in American exile. His son, Massoud, succeeded him. A hearty people with forgiving memories, the Kurds turned to the US for succour in ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Jeffrey Epstein’s Little Black Book, 15 August 2019

... For students of the society black book, there are some no-brainers among Epstein’s contacts: Henry Kissinger, Nicky Haslam, Mick Jagger. But it becomes clear that Epstein much preferred to hang out with famous intellectuals, lunching them at Delmonico’s, Elaine’s, the Four Seasons and the Pierre. He liked popular scientists (Steven Pinker says ...

World Policeman

Colin Legum, 20 November 1986

With the Contras: A Reporter in the Wilds of Nicaragua 
by Christopher Dickey.
Faber, 327 pp., £12.50, September 1986, 9780571146048
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Jonas Savimbi: A Key to Africa 
by Fred Bridgland.
Mainstream, 513 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 906391 99 7
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... who it was in Washington who pushed them into what turned out to be a disastrous military failure. Henry Kissinger, who was Secretary of State at the time and who was prevented by Congress from intervening directly, has always denied being involved in Pretoria’s decision. Now, Bridgland has documented what happened. ...

Why the Green Revolution failed

John Naughton, 18 December 1980

Seeds of Plenty, Seeds of Want 
by Andrew Pearse.
Oxford, 262 pp., £7.50, August 1980, 0 19 877150 9
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Food First 
by Francis Moore Moore Lappé and Joseph Collins.
Souvenir, 416 pp., £8.95, July 1980, 0 285 64896 9
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... predator. This little tale about the consequences of ignoring systemic interconnectedness – what Henry Kissinger used to call ‘linkage’ – is laughably simple. Yet it is acted out every year in countless vegetable plots and allotments all over the country. It is also acted out on a much larger scale, and with much more serious consequences, all ...

Has US power destroyed the UN?

Simon Chesterman and Michael Byers: International Relations, 29 April 1999

... knowing pundits warned that this was where the First World War had started. It was left to Henry Kissinger to point out that that conflict had begun precisely because of foreign intervention. This, too, was only a partial account. Kissinger failed to mention the importance of a highly mobilised military, and a ...

Diary

Jeremy Harding: Hitchens, 31 March 2011

... year – the year of lawyering dangerously, at least at the LRB – saw Hitchens’s wet job on Henry Kissinger (22 October 1992). As he does with many of his subjects, he walked straight up to this one and dropped the guillotine, likening the book under review – an authorised biography – to ‘the profile of a serial murderer’. Out came the rest ...

Heresy from Lesser Voices

Andrew Preston: The Helsinki Conference, 20 June 2019

The Final Act: The Helsinki Accords and the Transformation of the Cold War 
by Michael Cotey Morgan.
Princeton, 424 pp., £27, November 2018, 978 0 691 17606 2
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... in the CSCE, agreeing to participate mainly in order to further the emerging détente with Moscow. Henry Kissinger could have played a starring role if he’d wanted to, but he worried that the Western Europeans’ obsession with human rights and freedom of movement would interfere with superpower détente, especially the delicate negotiations over ...

They were expendable

Joost Hiltermann: Iraq and the Kurds, 17 November 2016

Sold Out? US Foreign Policy, Iraq, the Kurds and the Cold War 
by Bryan Gibson.
Palgrave, 256 pp., £65, May 2015, 978 1 349 69552 2
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... father, Mullah Mustafa Barzani, the legendary founder of the Kurdish national movement, to Henry Kissinger, then both US secretary of state and national security adviser, as quoted by Bryan Gibson from declassified US government documents: Our hearts bleed to see that an immediate byproduct of [Iran and Iraq’s] agreement is the destruction of ...

Knucklehead Truman

Douglas Johnson, 2 June 1983

The Eisenhower Diaries 
edited by Robert Ferrell.
Norton, 445 pp., £15.25, April 1983, 0 393 01432 0
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The Life and Times of Joe McCarthy: A Biography 
by Thomas Reeves.
Blond and Briggs, 819 pp., £11.95, June 1983, 0 85634 131 2
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The past has another pattern 
by George Ball.
Norton, 544 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 393 01481 9
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Torn Lace Curtain 
by Frank Saunders and James Southwood.
Sidgwick, 361 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 283 98946 7
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The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power 
by Robert Caro.
Collins, 882 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 00 217062 0
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The Politician: The Life and Times of Lyndon Johnson 
by Ronnie Dugger.
Norton, 514 pp., £13.25, September 1982, 9780393015980
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Years of Upheaval 
by Henry Kissinger.
Weidenfeld/Joseph, 1312 pp., £15.95, March 1982, 0 7181 2115 5
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Richard Nixon: The Shaping of his Character 
by Fawn Brodie.
Norton, 574 pp., £14.95, October 1982, 0 393 01467 3
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Haig: The General’s Progress 
by Roger Morris.
Robson, 458 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 9780860511885
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Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President 
by Jimmy Carter.
Collins, 622 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 00 216648 8
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Crisis: The Last Year of the Carter Presidency 
by Hamilton Jordan.
Joseph, 431 pp., £12.95, November 1982, 0 7181 2248 8
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Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Adviser 1977-81 
by Zbigniew Brzezinski.
Weidenfeld, 587 pp., £15, April 1983, 0 297 78220 7
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... In the post-war world it did not start like that, although appearances were unpromising. When Henry Truman became President on the death of Roosevelt in 1945, it was customary to laugh at him. It was said that the United States had exalted the common, ordinary man, and that they were now landed with one as their leader. But the critics were confounded as ...

It’s Been a Lot of Fun

David Runciman: Hitchens’s Hitchens, 24 June 2010

Hitch-22: A Memoir 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Atlantic, 435 pp., £20, June 2010, 978 1 84354 921 5
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... variety of causes, in which the common theme has been a desire to take on the evil-doers, from Henry Kissinger to Mother Teresa to Bill Clinton to Saddam Hussein. The United States is a great country for political romantics because there is always something going on. There are almost limitless occasions on which to display yourself. But what’s wrong ...

International Tale

John Banville, 30 March 1989

A Theft 
by Saul Bellow.
Penguin, 128 pp., £3.95, March 1989, 0 14 011969 8
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... brocaded America of the late 19th century. In short, the reigning spirit here might be that of Henry James. This is a surprise. It is a long time, forty years or so, since Saul Bellow abandoned the Flaubertian tradition and decided to break out, to let rip (‘I am an American ...’). The result was an extraordinary gain in vigour. What other novelist in ...

Paper this thing over

Colin Kidd: The Watergate Tapes, 5 November 2015

The Nixon Tapes: 1971-72 
by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 758 pp., $35, July 2014, 978 0 544 27415 0
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The Nixon Defence: What He Knew and When He Knew It 
by John W. Dean.
Penguin, 784 pp., £14.99, June 2015, 978 0 14 312738 3
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Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon’s Downfall 
by Elizabeth Drew.
Duckworth Overlook, 450 pp., £20, August 2014, 978 0 7156 4916 9
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Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair and the Origins of Watergate 
by Ken Hughes.
Virginia, 228 pp., $16.95, August 2015, 978 0 8139 3664 2
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The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan 
by Rick Perlstein.
Simon and Schuster, 860 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 1 4767 8241 6
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... of the Justice Department, and therefore part of the executive branch of the US government. Henry Petersen, the assistant attorney-general who handled the Watergate investigation, loyally reported his findings to the president and his officials, including the White House counsel, John Dean. As 1972 was an election year, the strategy of the White House ...

Hogshit and Chickenshit

Michael Rogin, 1 August 1996

Washington Babylon 
by Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein.
Verso, 316 pp., £31.95, May 1996, 1 85984 092 2
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... Cockburn and Silverstein follow the former Kentucky Junior Miss Diane Sawyer, as she moves from ‘Henry K’s lap’ to the former Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke to her current husband, Hollywood director, Mike Nichols. Sawyer, also circulating from the Nixon White House to CBS’s 60 Minutes to ABC’s Prime Time, earns almost as much in a ...

Bad White Men

Christopher Tayler: James Ellroy, 19 July 2001

The Cold Six Thousand 
by James Ellroy.
Century, 672 pp., £16.99, April 2001, 0 7126 4817 8
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... His murder is engineered by rogue cops and FBI men; Hoover is complicit, while LBJ takes the Henry II role (‘Do what you can on this, all right?’). Bobby Kennedy is murdered at the behest of the Mob, who also offer Nixon financial backing. The biggest surprise, in fact, is Ellroy’s continuing attachment to RFK. According to ...

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