Henry Kissinger: 'Europeans Hide Behind the Unpopularity of President Bush'
Henry Kissinger's interview with Der Spiegel is described as a preview into John McCain's foreign policy, but ends up being a survey of McCain, GWB and Barack Obama viewed through Kissinger's concept of events. Here are some excerpts.
On the Middle East and Iraq:
Kissinger: I do not know many Europeans who would deny that the victory of radical Islam in Baghdad, Beirut or Saudi Arabia would have huge consequences for the West. However, they are not willing to fight to prevent it. ... I think it is obvious that the United States cannot permanently do all the fighting for Western interests by itself. So, two conclusions are possible: Either there are no Western interests in the region and we don't fight. Or there are vital Western interests in the region and we have to fight. ...
You cannot simultaneously attempt to overthrow the government of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan in the name of democracy and fight radical Islam. The democratization processes and the war against radical Islam have a different time frame.
Kissinger: In the long run, we cannot have two categories of members in the NATO alliance: those that are willing to fight and others that are trying to be members à la carte. That cannot work for long. ...
SPIEGEL: Barack Obama also says the conflict in Pakistan is the war Americans really need to win. Is he right?
Kissinger: You can always say there is some other war I would rather want to fight than the one I am in.
SPIEGEL: Dr. Kissinger, you have endorsed Senator John McCain as your choice for the White House. McCain, though, has said he would be prepared to stay in Iraq for another 100 years. Are you sure he is the right man for the job?
Kissinger: John and I have been friends for 30 years. I have great confidence in him.
SPIEGEL: Isn't German and European opposition to a greater military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq also a result of deep distrust of American power?
Kissinger: By this time next year, we will see the beginning of a new administration. We will then discover to what extent the Bush administration was the cause or the alibi for European-American disagreements. Right now, many Europeans hide behind the unpopularity of President Bush. And this administration made several mistakes in the beginning.
SPIEGEL: In 50 years, historians will treat his [GWB's] legacy more kindly?
Kissinger: That will happen much earlier.