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The World Kissinger Built Must Die Too

Henry Kissinger died at 100 years old. But his legacy remains in the brutal world system he built and the future generations of imperialist ghouls he inspired. They all must go.

Samuel Karlin

November 30, 2023
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At long last, one of the most notorious war criminals in history is dead. Henry Kissinger is responsible for the deaths of millions of people across the globe, and helped create the architecture of an imperialist system which continues to oppress entire countries to this day.

Kissinger served as Secretary of State under the Nixon and Ford administrations where he played a critical role in advancing the interests of U.S. imperialism through wars, coups, and ethnic cleansing. He continued to advise the U.S. foreign policy elite until his death in their unending quest to expand U.S. influence, with callous disregard for the lives ended and destroyed by U.S. intervention. It is one of the greatest injustices that Kissinger lived to 100, enjoying a life of luxury, while so many people are not alive today as a result of his actions.

A key leader during the Cold War years, Kissinger played a central role in advancing U.S. foreign policy to not only contain the Soviet Union, but also led a bloody campaign across the globe in the name of anticommunism, and ruthlessly suppressed national liberation struggles that threatened U.S. hegemony and influence in any way. Kissinger’s violence was ultimately at the service of maintaining and expanding the world capitalist order that emerged after World War II where the U.S. sat on top.

Perhaps Kissinger’s greatest crime was the role he played in Southeast Asia, where he developed policy for the U.S. war on Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. Under Kissinger, these wars were built on a framework of indiscriminate targeting of civilians, or, in his own words, killing “anything that moves.” This was done through chemical warfare, carpet-bombing, and massacres. Kissinger’s policies prolonged the war in Vietnam, and paved the way for the Khmer Rouge to take control of Cambodia and kill 2 million people. To this day, Laos remains littered with millions of unexploded U.S. land mines which continue to maim and kill those who come across them.

As Anthony Bourdain aptly put it, “Once you’ve been to Cambodia, you’ll never stop wanting to beat Henry Kissinger to death with your bare hands.”

Kissinger was also the architect of brutal U.S. policy in Latin America, most notably having urged Nixon to overthrow the democratically elected Allende government in Chile in 1973. The military coup dictatorship of Agusto Pinochet, which Kissinger helped install, was bloody and ruthless towards leftists, workers, and dissidents. Pinochet often used “death flights” in which he would kill people by dropping them out of planes and helicopters. Under his regime, Chile became the “laboratory of neoliberalism” where, with the help of the economists known as the “Chicago Boys,” capitalists created policies to squeeze the working class as much as possible.

Yet, these are just some of Kissinger’s most well-documented crimes. To this day, new revelations are coming out about the extent of his influence and the lives his policies destroyed. These crimes stretch all the way from East Timor to Angola to Argentina. But it is not just his wars and coups that make up his criminal legacy — Kissinger’s legacy lives on in the violence that U.S. imperialism continues to foster to this day. He is largely responsible for the very system which keeps the majority of the world exploited, oppressed, deprived, and dominated to extract labor, resources, and fraudulent debts to maintain the stability and legitimacy of U.S. capital globally.

Beyond his time in office, Kissinger inspired and mentored some of the worst imperialists of the 21st century. These Kissinger proteges include Dick Cheney and Hillary Clinton, who continued U.S. imperialism’s brutal foreign policy and racked up their own body counts from the U.S. invasion of Iraq to regime change efforts in Honduras and Libya. They also include figures like Antony Blinken who, as this article is published, are overseeing ongoing U.S. interventions and crimes, from the proxy-war destroying Ukraine to the genocidal Israeli offensive on Gaza.

It is an injustice that Kissinger died in his home in Connecticut. He should have died rotting in a jail cell, his wealth seized and redistributed to some of the peoples most terrorized by his policies. It is not enough to be happy that he’s finally dead. It is essential to keep fighting for a world where his structures of brutality and exploitation are upended and the criminals he inspired face the justice that he was able to avoid. To that end, it is essential to tear down every last vestige of imperialism that, through coercion and force, continues to brutally oppress millions across the world, and oust from power every war criminal Kissinger inspired. In honor of his millions of victims, let’s fight to ensure that Kissinger’s world rots in the dustbin of history along with him.

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Samuel Karlin

Samuel is a socialist with a background in journalism. He mainly writes for Left Voice about U.S. imperialism and international class struggle.

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