Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerry and Henry

I thought this was an interesting snippet from Henry Kissinger regarding the temperament, so to speak, of the late President Gerald Ford:

"The modern politician is less interested in being a hero than a superstar. Heroes walk alone; stars derive their status from approbation. Heroes are defined by inner values, stars by consensus. When a candidate's views are forged in focus groups and ratified by television anchorpersons, insecurity and superficiality become congenital. Radicalism replaces liberalism, and populism masquerades as conservatism."

There is no denying Kissinger's brilliance, however it is a shame that he will leave behind a legacy that could at best be described as controversial. While I sympathize with (and "endorse") the pragmatism of realpolitik, I think Kissinger brought a dangerous fatalism and misanthropy to his practice of it which directly led to US-backing of some of the more despicable regimes of the late-twentieth century.

Like Ford when when he pardoned Nixon, perhaps Kissinger thought he was doing what was best for the country. Something about "the road to hell" springs to mind...


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