In an interview with Prospect’s Editor, Bronwen Maddox, the former US Secretary of State discusses America’s foreign policy in the Middle Eastby Bronwen Maddox / September 17, 2014 / Leave a comment
Henry Kissinger, the former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, has given an extended interview to Prospect. He spoke exclusively to Bronwen Maddox, the editor, at his home in Connecticut.
A full account of the 90 minute-long interview will appear in the October issue of Prospect which is available from September 18th, in which Kissinger discusses subjects including Vladimir Putin, President Obama’s diplomatic skills and the US’s relationship with Iran.
He also commented on the challenges that America is currently facing in Iraq, and the legacy of the 2003 intervention in the region. Kissinger’s remarks are reproduced here in full.
Read the full Henry Kissinger interview here
Let’s look at some of the particular problems that America is facing and some bits of American foreign policy. Start with the Middle East. Was Iraq in 2003 a good thing to do? Or a diversion of energy from other causes where it might have been better placed?
Let me tell you what I thought at the time. I thought it was a 55/45 kind of thing to do. It wasn’t something that I thought we must do. I thought it was necessary to make a demonstration in the Middle East of the consequences of challenging American security, and Iraq had broken its armistice agreement with the United States in many ways that the UN that had certified. And they were an ideological supporter of terrorism. So I thought that those propositions—the enforcement aspect of the operation—I supported.
Then it became an occupation in order to bring about democracy. I disagreed and I wrote several articles on that subject. But I have also to say, in fairness, to carry out the logic of my position one would have had to accept an authoritarian government whose chief distinguishing feature would have been less brutality and a recognition of the power of the democracies, and which would therefore have been more restrained in international conduct.…