Years of Upheaval
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In Years of Upheaval Henry Kissinger recalls the turbulent years of the second Administration of Richard Nixon, which began on 20 January 1973. Two momentous events and their consequences dominate this account: the Watergate scandal, and the 1973 October war in the Middle East. The books opens at the Western White House on a summer afternoon in August of that year, when Dr Kissinger is told by the President during a poolside conversation that he is to become Secretary of State. The memories that follow are a rich compendium of his experiences in the months before and after appointment: an eerie trip to Hanoi shortly after the Vietnam cease-fire; efforts to settle the war in Cambodia; two Nixon-Brezhnev summits and the controversy over detente; the Shah of Iran; the oil crisis and the efforts to covercome it; the US airlift to Israel and the military alert during the Middle East war; the origins of shuttle diplomacy; the fall of Salvador Allende in Chile; and the events surrounding Nixon's resignation. His frank portrait of Nixon's last days is perhaps the most perceptive to date At once illuminating, fascinating, and profound, Years of Upheaval is a lasting contribution to the history of our time, by one of its chief protagonists.
and Pakistan as barriers to Soviet expansion. He was uneasy about Iraq and South Yemen. He urged us to increase our strength in the Indian Ocean. He was the quintessential Cold Warrior; our conservatives would have been proud of him. All this without notes or any prompting by his colleague, who maintained a deferential silence. Mao concluded his tour d’horizon by turning to Japan. He applauded my decision to spend a few days in Tokyo on my way home. Japan must not feel neglected by the United
quibble, since that implied a negotiation was going on. They pressed for the list of the POWs, with respect to which in turn I could not go beyond what Asad had told me. We settled for a Delphic announcement implying that negotiations were in progress while enabling my Israeli counterparts to avoid a firm commitment: I brought some ideas on disengagement from Syria to the Israeli Government. The Israeli Government will now study these ideas and after consideration by the Cabinet, will give us
long as this process was confined to Atlantic relations it was irritating, but its damage was limited to frustrating new departures. In the cauldron of the Middle East, however, the European initiative of a foreign ministers’ conference threatened to sabotage our carefully elaborated strategy. We were proceeding step by step; the European Community had committed itself publicly to a comprehensive solution. We dealt with each of the principal Mideast parties separately; the Europeans were aiming
as an augury of what could be achieved if we pressed his tactics. I realized soon enough that I was up against a master psychological warrior. Jackson and his staff tried to make it appear that it was my reluctance to ask the Soviets to increase the rate of emigration that was the obstacle to a solution. The real problem was my conviction — which turned out to be correct — that there was a limit beyond which the Soviets would not let themselves be pushed. When that was reached they would turn,
fate. And whatever the terms, they were bound to wonder whether a successor President might not improve on them. Such reasoning must have been behind Schlesinger’s decision to go into open opposition to what was still our official position, which he had approved a month earlier. Reversing his earlier support of the concept of unequal MIRVs offsetting unequal aggregates, he dramatically affirmed the concept of equal aggregates all across the board and in the process embraced drastic reductions as