Friday, October 9, 2015

Quote of the day: Hoffmann on Kissinger

From the late Stanley Hoffmann's Primacy or World Order (1978), p.70 (endnote omitted):
...[B]oth [Kissinger's] failures and his successes in the business of preserving American primacy show an obsession with stability, which puts him far closer to Metternich than to his own criticism of the Austrian statesman.... Détente and the new triangular relationship were supposedly to allow the United States to worry more about the designs of its equals than about the tantrums of the pygmies.  And yet, even after Vietnam, the United States, in "destabilizing" Allende's Chile and in trying to help its friends in Angola, in submitting to South Korea's corruption and espionage in the United States and to Marcos's blackmail over our bases in the Philippines, in supporting the colonels in Greece, and in sustaining the Republic of South Africa (indeed in using it as a lever in Rhodesia, while proclaiming that it "cannot be regarded as an illegitimate government"), showed that the old equation of stability, anti-Communism and pro-Americanism had survived intact.  Metternich's excuse was the fragility of his country, its desperate dependence on the status quo outside.  Is the social and political order of the United States equally brittle and tied to conservatism everywhere?
[Comments as always are welcome, but before commenting please note, for the sake of context, when this passage was published.  And obviously it was written earlier than the publication date.]

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