One of the many topics of debate that came up during Thursday night’s debate between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont was Dr. Henry Kissinger, one of Clinton’s predecessors. Clinton has expressed admiration for Kissinger in the past, particularly of his opening to China. Ms. Clinton expressed the view that one should listen to a variety of opinions, including that of the 92 year old former Nixon era cabinet officer.

Sanders, on the other hand, expressed his hatred for Kissinger. He said, “I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of State in the modern history of this country.” He went on to blame Kissinger for the rise of Pol Pot in Cambodia that led to the slaughter of millions of people starting with the fall of Southeast Asia in 1975.

Sanders is certainly showing his age by bring up Kissinger, who started as President Nixon’s national security advisor and then served as both Nixon’s and President Gerald Ford’s secretary of state. Kissinger, at one time, was considered a foreign policy genius, not just for the opening to China, but for Middle East shuttle diplomacy

The left, of which Sanders is certainly a part, considers Kissinger nothing less than a war criminal, for actions in places ranging from Cambodia to Chile, where a Marxist leader named Salvador Allende was overthrown in a military coup. Some leftists, including the late Christopher Hitchens, wanted Kissinger to be put on trial before an international court.

Ironically, the right was none too enamored of Kissinger either, regarding him as someone more interested in managing the Cold War than of winning it.

He fostered the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, advocating arms control treaties that many conservatives thought gave too great an advantage to the Soviets.

Kissinger, for his part, spent a lot of time wondering how President Ronald Reagan won the Cold War without his help. That, conservatives shot back, was the point.

Victory in the Cold War was beyond the comprehension of foreign policy experts like Kissinger until it was achieved.

In any case, one wonders what Sanders’ millennial supporters make of their guy arguing about a man who was last in power years before any of them were born. Sanders is still obsessed with controversies of the distant past and not very much focused on the future.

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