Understanding Kissinger’s Actions Toward Chile
Can an individual influence foreign policy? Based upon the eight years that Henry Kissinger was the Secretary of State it is clear that an individual can (Starr 466). It has become apparent through recently released classified documents that Kissinger played a large role in allowing the brutal Pinochet dictatorship over Chile to take place and allowed massive human rights violations to continually occur during the Pinochet regime. What is continually being attempted to understand is why Kissinger acted as he did towards Chile. The goal of stopping the spread of communism to Latin America is obvious in Kissinger’s actions, but why allow Pinochet to continue to receive United States support while he breaks International Human Rights Laws (Kornbluh 5)?
To understand Kissinger’s actions toward Chile it is necessary to analyze his background. Considering that he was born in Germany and fled to the United States to escape the Nazi’s, there most certainly was previous life experiences that contributed to his foreign policy beliefs (Crapol 260). As a politician, Kissinger gained an extraordinarily high level of popularity for a man of his position. Thus, his dealings with Chile may have been more of an effort to uphold his reputation than an eagerness to do what is best for Chile and the United States. Therefore, it can be considered that Kissinger’s strict realist view and constant attempt to create stability and order was derived from his past experiences as a Jewish Refugee and his actions as a Secretary of State may have been skewed by his desire to keep his popular status in the United States media and public (Starr 467 and 477; Crapol 260-265).
Kissinger’s past experience of seeing his father go through dramatic times with the Nazi’s had an affect on Kissinger’s view of the world (Starr 477). “Kissinger’s passion for stability, balance, and order is supposedly derived from his firsthand experience with the tragedy of upheaval and the desire to prevent it from recurring” (Starr 477-8). This is apparent in his foreign policy actions that consistently show an attempt to create “world order” (Blumenfeld 68).
When it became apparent that Chile might soon have a Socialist President the fear of a communist domino effect caused Kissinger’s feeling of order in the Western Hemisphere to be broken. Therefore he supported Pinochet, who despite his terror driven domestic policy, created stability systemically by eradicating communism (Starr 477).
“Kissinger, more than most, would agree…that disorder is worse than injustice” (Blumenfield 68-69). In the realist mind of Henry Kissinger the domestic issues of a country are not necessary to consider. Pinochet’s human rights violations are pointless to care about in the anarchic, Darwinist world in which Kissinger lives. “A general theme in analyses of Kissinger is [his] early experience[s] forged his basic philosophic belief that the...