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on political books States not engineered the overthrow of Chile's democratically elected government in favor of the fascist Pinochet. And not to overlook Kissinger's strategic boners: Ferguson must consider the implications for the Middle East over the past forty years had Kissinger not inaugurated the policy of wholehearted support for the Shah of Iran in the early 1970s. The answers had better be good. K issinger begins in a defensive posture, with the author anticipating that because Kissinger asked him to write the book, readers will assume he was "influenced or induced to paint a falsely flattering picture." It is true that an authorized biographer must win his reader's trust. But Ferguson's problem is not a conflict of interest: it is his ideological affinity with his subject, and his determination because of that affinity to present his man favorably. This begins with Ferguson's use of language, which repeatedly seeks to bring the reader onto Kissinger's side. Here are a few representative examples: "Never one to shirk the front line," Kissinger set off on a fact-finding trip to Vietnam. That country "awakened the man of action long dormant inside the professor." "Even more impressive" than the depth of his knowledge "is Kissinger's brilliance as a prose stylist." As a lowly State Department consultant, "he was required to fly economy the whole way" to Hong Kong. Poor Dr. Kissinger! Ferguson spends much of the book attempting to rehabilitate Kissinger's character. He makes an unpersuasive attempt to convince readers that Kissinger was not the relentless ladder climber we think we know. As a graduate student and then a professor at Harvard in the 1950s, Kissinger edited the journal Confluence and organized the university's International Seminar. Various writers have noted that this work put Kissinger in touch with leaders-on-the-make from around the world: future foreign secretaries, journalists, and policymakers. Yet Ferguson maintains that Kissinger was above such considerations. "A more plausible conclusion is that Kissinger sincerely saw the two parallel ventures as the most effective contributions he could make to a psy- chological war against Soviet communism to which he was sincerely committed." No fewer than five future prime ministers attended the seminar in the 1950s and '60s, and Kissinger made a point of inviting luminaries like then Vice President Nixon. But Ferguson seems to think he was too idealistic to network. The book also largely sidesteps the topic of Kissinger's famous vanity, thin skin, and penchant for insincere flattery. (This is a man whose memoirs are longer than the combined memoirs of Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan.) Yet when Ferguson addresses Kissinger's interpersonal traits, it is usually to defend his subject. For instance, Kissinger left academia to advise Nelson Rockefeller on foreign policy throughout the 1960s as the moderate Republican repeatedly sought his party's presidential nomination. Both of Rockefeller's biographers, Richard Norton Smith and Cary Reich, portray Kissinger as obsequious to his boss's face (Smith: "deferential to the point of sycophancy"; Reich: "downright fawning") yet derisive about him when R o c k e fe l l e r w a s not around. We know from many witnesses that a similar pattern prevailed between Kissinger and Nixon the following decade. Yet Ferguson is not convinced: "This does not ring true. Theirs was a turbulent friendship." Reich cites two separate eyewitness accounts, but Ferguson dismisses them without explaining why they should be disbelieved. Ferguson concludes this volume with a revisionist telling of Kissinger's infamous maneuverings during the 1968 presidential election. Hersh was the first to write- and Isaacson and others have verified- that after Rockefeller dropped out of the race, Kissinger provided the Nixon campaign with inside information about the progress of the Vietnam peace talks then under way in Paris. Kissinger had contacts on the staff of the U.S. delegation, and he pumped them for details. He learned that a deal was coming together: Lyndon Johnson would halt the bombing of North Viet- nam, and in return North Vietnam would finally come to the table. Kissinger provided information and analysis to Nixon's aide Richard Allen in breathless telephone calls, which he insisted be kept secret. Nixon's campaign subsequently passed word to the South Vietnamese government that it could obtain better peace terms under a Nixon administration. South Vietnam pulled out of the talks just days before the U.S. election, the Democratic Party was humiliated, Nixon won the presidency-and then he immediately appointed Kissinger, a man he had met only once, his national security advisor. Many witnesses have confirmed the main contours of this account, including Richard Holbrooke, a staffer for the U.S. delegation to Paris; John Mitchell, H. R. Haldeman, and Richard Allen of Nixon's staff; and Nixon himself, who wrote about Grandin, a historian at New York University, contends that Kissinger has left us with war as an instrument of policy, less as a last resort than as a kind of peacock's strut. Kissinger's efforts in his memoir. Johnson referred to the maneuver-spiking a peace deal in order to win an election, thereby extending the Vietnam War-as treason. Yet Ferguson again is not convinced. He questions Allen's reliability as a witness and contends that Nixon's memoir does not prove that Kissinger was his insider. (Decide for yourself. Here is Nixon: "During the last days of the campaign, when Kissinger was providing us with information about the bombing halt, I became more aware of both his knowledge and his influence.") Ferguson also makes the legalistic argument that Kissinger's intervention was not determinative, for Nixon had other informers, and North Vietnam "would surely" have found a pretext to abandon the peace talks had South Vietnam not walked out first. If we use Johnson's terms, I suppose that reduces the charge to attempted treason. Washington Monthly 119

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