The ghost of Richard Nixon is back. And he’s mad as hell about the former secretaries of state and the Washington establishment.
- By @dick_nixonRichard Nixon never left us. With the help of playwright Justin Sherin, he continues to speak his mind as @dick_nixon on Twitter.
Henry Kissinger will endorse Hillary Clinton.
I haven’t spoken to him about it. We rarely speak. Henry is busy with his crowd: trendies, sophisticates, beautiful people. I have my work for peace.
But he’ll endorse her. I know it. People praise Henry for the coolness of his mind, his willingness to eat shit in service of the task. That’s true. But Henry is like a hermit crab looking for a shell — he can’t stand exposure, and, if necessary, he’ll beat his way inside.
Clinton has been after him for years. She slobbered all over his last book in the Washington Post, kissed up in the debates, and leaks that she wants Henry on her side.
He loves to be wined and dined, of course. And he wants people to see it. Like a schoolgirl, he’s so fragile that it’s difficult for him to function. Henry is only as good as his master. And the qualities underlying the stamp of approval Mrs. Clinton wants from him — toughness, realism, taking the long view — aren’t his.
They’re mine. I haven’t kissed ass since Ike was alive, and I don’t owe anything to anybody. Clinton’s people have all but promised me the moon for a nod.
But she won’t get it. I’ve written at length about her foreign policy: how it’s a dumb, dangerous mixture of idealism and shortsighted calculation, how she’s bewitched by generals and thinks it’s America’s place to spread democracy around the world. Do I need to explain the difference to how we conducted ourselves?
In reaching out to Kissinger, Clinton wants to kick me in the ass with my own shoes. She wants an old man on the mountain to pat her on the head and prop her up with the great and good. Henry will do it — in public, anyway. You might say I know him well.
Even after coming into government, he looked down his nose at us. Every blonde and reporter within 50 miles of the Potomac heard him laughing that China was Nixon’s “flight of fancy.” What the hell does that madman from Whittier College know?
Alger Hiss tried the same line, of course. You know how that ended.
When Henry claims he joined us because he’d always wanted to go to China, that we came at it from both sides, it’s the sort of lie a fellow tells his wife after a long weekend. He implemented the president’s foreign policy. That was his job. He went along with it because the alternative was being frozen out, which to Henry is worse than death. And when it changed the world, he took a bigger piece of pie than he earned.
But that’s Henry. Always taking half-steps inside.
Despite what people think, I never wanted power for its own sake. I don’t understand that. At school, I wrote that I wanted to enter politics to “be of some good to the people.” Henry, I don’t know — when he was young, things weren’t so good for his people over in Europe, and you might say he decided to always make sure he comes out on top.
He does this so well that you might forget who was president. According to Mrs. Clinton, Kissinger “opened” China. I understand the political necessity of avoiding me, but good God, what is the secretary of state but an employee? This has surely to do with Clinton’s fantasy of herself as the mastermind to Barack Obama’s rookie.
Which he’s often proved himself. But after North Korea sank a South Korean ship in 2010, Clinton’s desire to “run it up the gut” by sending an aircraft carrier to the Yellow Sea — nevermind China’s objections — makes her a knee-jerk hysteric.
No, the president conducts foreign policy. It’s the only thing that makes the job worth a damn. Anyone who says otherwise doesn’t have the guts or skill to sit in the chair. My God, to hear Henry talk about Cambodia, you’d think he flew the planes himself!
NIXON: We have to do what is necessary to go it, and it is a long shot, and that’s the way it is. The point of the matter is — oh, goddamn it, [Creighton] Abrams can do more and that damned Air Force can do more about hitting Cambodia with their bombing attacks. There is something wrong here. I don’t know what it is.
KISSINGER: I’ll get that laid on.
NIXON: It is a disgraceful performance, and they are going to get off their ass and start doing something on it. I want gunships in there. That means helicopters, DC-3s, anything else that will destroy personnel that can fly. I want it done! Get them off their ass and get them to work now.
KISSINGER: Well, we will get it done immediately, Mr. President.
NIXON: I want them to hit everything. I want them to use the big planes, the small planes, everything they can.…
When Kissinger called Alex Haig to send the order down, they laughed. They laughed. Can you imagine? We launched Operation Linebacker, aligned with Russia, and crushed the enemy camps from the air. Hanoi finally sat up straight, and it got them talking about peace.
It’s not a matter of opinion or debate. Go into the archives. The president ordered the use of force to enhance and compliment the diplomatic strategy — not as a goddamn Hail Mary pass. His strength brought the enemy to heel. Kissinger only pushed the button.
And Henry likes that position. It allows him to take credit where he wants it and wash his hands otherwise.
When Henry doesn’t have a strong leader above him, he tends to hack at the air or contort into embarrassing shapes. See, for example, his absurd plan to “smash” and “clobber” Cuba after its Angolan incursion in 1976 or his support of the Iraq War, which he excuses as a “55/45 kind of thing to do,” saying, “I don’t think people understood, or at least some of the people didn’t understand, the extent of the cleavage between Shia and Sunni.”
It recalls Clinton’s justification of her Iraq War vote. With Kissinger in her ear, who, in the end, will be cold and mean and stick their neck out in service of our interests? Is she, like Henry, a born functionary who’s outlived her usefulness?
Kissinger made his name on my back. That’s fine. Many people have. I’m used to it. But I’m not the goddamn pope. I don’t lay on hands for the sake of it. When Henry endorses Clinton — and he will, mark my words, because no one plays the safe bet like him — don’t you dare infer my own blessing comes with it.
Henry has spent his life trying to smell power. But I’ve had it, and I never, never — at least in the foreign area — compromised our interests in service of keeping it.
I was one of the first to sound the alarm on Donald Trump, but I’m not for Clinton. The appearance of strength doesn’t equal strength.
Photo credit: Jewel Samad / Getty Images