- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at email@example.com.
“The fundamental task of diplomacy is to strip policy of its ambiguity,” Alexander Haig Jr. writes (70) in his memoir Inner Circles, which I am now reading. I just about fell out of my chair when I saw that. I wonder what Haig’s old boss, Henry Kissinger, the grandmaster of strategic ambiguity, would say about that. Amazon’s “look inside this book” function says that in his book Diplomacy, Kissinger uses the word some 29 times.
Haig gets extra dumbass points for the brassy certitude of his assertion — and for, a score of pages later, this assessment of the Shah of Iran: “I thought in 1961, and I still think, that he was as close to being a natural and sincere democrat as anyone I ever met in his part of the world.” (90)
More interestingly, Haig says he thinks that Fidel Castro was behind John F. Kennedy’s assassination, and says Lyndon B. Johnson thought so too. “I think that President Johnson’s suspicions in regard to Castro’s role were amply justified,” he writes. (115-116) Haig, who had acted as a kind of Army liaison to veterans of the Central Intelligence Agency-led Bay of Pigs attack on Cuba, says he was given a report that supported the accusation against Castro, but that he was ordered to forget it and that the report was destroyed.
The book cost me one cent plus shipping and handling, so I am not complaining.