Kissinger Argues For Peace


WHEN HENRY KISSINGER, at the age of 98, feels impelled to weigh-in on the Russo-Ukrainian War, we should probably listen. He is, after all, the man who, as US Secretary of State from 1973-77, played the game of geopolitics more adroitly than any of his successors in that office. Ruthless and amoral he may be, but his grasp of the art of international diplomacy is unsurpassed.

And now he is telling the world to bring the Russo-Ukrainian War to an end, right now, while we still can. If we do not, he warns, events may spiral beyond the capacity of any of the players to control them. Coming from the man who brought the world to the brink of a full-scale nuclear war in 1973, this is sobering stuff. What has got this nonagenarian so spooked?

The most probable answer is ‘Oil’. This is something Kissinger knows a lot about. It was the United States’ military support for Israel in the Yom Kippur War of October 1973 that prompted the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to announce massive increases in the price of oil, and which led the world’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, supported by its Arab allies, to place an embargo on the export of petroleum to the United States. No single action undertaken in the post-war era has had a greater impact on the fortunes of the West.

It was President Richard Nixon’s decision, prompted by Kissinger, to move the United States nuclear strike force to “Defcon 3” that persuaded the Soviet Union to leave the fighting to its Arab allies in Egypt and Syria. When these failed to defeat the Israelis, it was the US Secretary of State’s “shuttle diplomacy” between the contending parties that secured the lasting cease-fire agreement of 25 October 1973.

What Kissinger learned in 1973 was that it is absolutely imperative to bring any military conflict in which nuclear-armed nations are directly, or indirectly, involved to an end as swiftly as possible. The longer such a conflict lasts, the greater the chances that something will happen that brings the military forces of the nuclear-armed antagonists into direct contact with one another – opening the way for an almost unstoppable escalation towards a full-scale nuclear exchange.

Guided by the United States, the members of Nato have so far restricted themselves to supplying the Ukrainians with defensive military equipment, making it clear to the Russian Federation that the Western alliance will not intervene directly in the conflict. What has so clearly alarmed Kissinger, however, is the apparent lack of diplomatic urgency on the part of the United States to bring about a cessation of hostilities. It explains his very public articulation of the concessions he would require from Ukraine to secure an enduring peace settlement.

Essentially, Kissinger’s peace plan calls for a restoration of the status quo ante – i.e. Russia retains Crimea, Donets and Luhansk. With typical ruthlessness he advises the United States to use its strategic leverage with Ukraine to secure its compliance. Ever the “realist”, he understands that the war can only be ended by the USA and the Russian Federation. That the Biden Administration does not appear to fully grasp this reality, allowing the war to drag on for three destructive months, is what has drawn him back into the international spotlight.

Kissinger is also keenly aware of the impact soaring energy costs will have on the energy-poor nations of the West. The energy crisis sparked by the Yom Kippur War fundamentally deranged the post-war economic and social order, unleashing the destabilising combination of rising inflation and rising unemployment. The parallels with the present global situation will not have been lost on Kissinger.

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Nor will he be unmindful of the potential for disaster embedded in the Russian Federation’s blockade of the Ukrainian port of Odessa. Upwards of 400 million human-beings are dependent on Russia’s and Ukraine’s grain for their daily bread. The destabilising impact of an international energy crisis, coupled with an international food crisis, only reinforces his argument for hostilities to be ended with the utmost possible speed.

Kissinger’s familiarity with the rulers of the Arab world will also be causing him to worry about their most likely response to American demands for a price-lowering increase in the output of the OPEC states. Acutely sensitive to the price of gas at the American petrol pump, United States politicians are searching for ways to compel the major oil exporters to bow to their demands – on pain of having their American assets seized. Kissinger’s intimate knowledge of the way the world’s wealthiest states conduct their business affairs will have alerted him to the extreme danger of such threats. Looking at the steady decline in the fortunes of Wall Street over recent days, he may well detect the orderly exit of Arab money from the US market. It certainly makes no sense for the Oil Lords to leave assets in place for the American Government to seize.

But, if the Saudis and their allies are quietly cashing-up, it raises immediately the all-important question of where they should put their newly liquidated wealth. There are only a handful of serious candidates for such large scale investment: China, Russia and India. Such a destabilising shift in the weight of the financial world would alter the balance of the global economy as fundamentally as the crisis of fifty years ago.

More than anyone, Kissinger understands the precariousness of global strategic position. If OPEC pivots away from the USA and towards the Eurasian powers, then Russia’s prosecution of the war in Ukraine can be extended more-or-less indefinitely. Certainly, OPEC’s cash will allow President Vladimir Putin to snap his fingers at US and EU sanctions. The Russo-Ukrainian War will become a simple test to see which combination of forces can hold out the longest – the East’s or the West’s?

Bled dry by surging energy prices, and with the price of bread, butter, cooking oil and meat soaring beyond the reach of all but the wealthiest consumers, the economies of the West will begin to scream. (Just as Chile’s economy screamed when Kissinger caused it to be squeezed in the months leading up to the US-backed military coup against its socialist government in September 1973.) The joyous Western unity, inspired by Ukraine’s fearless resistance to the invading Russian army, will begin to fray. Nato will fall to bickering among its member states.

It is never safe for any power to bet the farm on Russia collapsing first. When it comes to enduring suffering, the Russians have few equals. Secretary Kissinger knows this, even if President Joe Biden does not.

Time to give peace a chance – before somebody does something rash.



  1. Its nice to see broader views on this conflict, by concentrating on the Ukraine we miss that this war is really about rentier finance capitalism versus the acrual producers of commodities and manufacturers. In a nutshell the West in particular are massively net importers of energy and food, and have outsourced industrial production to the East, in particular China. The real issue of this war is who ends up with the profits, East (Russia, China, India, South America) or West (Anglo America).

    Kissinger is a follower of Makkinder who a century ago warned of the danger to the Western imperialism of an integrated Eurasia. I suspect that the economic union of Eurasia is close, India and the Middle East are moving that way. At stake in the Ukraine war (which will end in the dismemberment of Ukraine) is Turkey and Germany being reorientated towards Eurasia. That is the end game for US financial empire.

  2. Beautifully crafted Chris – and let’s hope your summation is correct. Still, as Dr. Strangelove appears more and more like the real thing, than a parody of it, it would be hideously ironic if we were to be saved from this looming nuclear nightmare by someone with so much blood on his hands.

  3. I think Kissinger is spot on. The US will have to prevail upon Ukraine to be realistic about the outcome. I note the NYT was of the same view.

    The status quo ante would be quite a success for Ukraine. They will be lucky if they can achieve that much. More likely is that Ukraine will have to cede more territory in the Donbas. The battles of the last two weeks point in that direction. Then there is the question of the “land bridge” between Crimea and Donbas. Expect major battles in the summer over that. These battles will be titanic. Kursk sized! Kissinger can see the risk of that getting out of hand, and more and more extreme weapons and tactics being used. So some tough decisions ahead for both Russia and Ukraine if they want to avoid that.

    A couple of points.The US is not energy poor, in fact the US is the worlds largest oil producer, mostly for internal consumption. However, Europe is energy poor and is obviously a major importer of Middle East oil.

    To what extent will the Middle East turn to China, India and Russia, and do all three nations share common objectives? India, probably not. For India, China is more of a competitor than collaborator. Over time India will become the second major exporter of industrial and manufactured goods. China will not be the prime market, in fact they will be the prime competitor. The West will be the main market. Russia, with 140 million people, is dwarfed by the rest of Europe and North America as a market. Expect India to continue to slowly veer more toward the West, though it will be cautious about how far it will go.

    I would agree that the Middle East will progressively turn away from the West. Their main markets will become Asia, including China, Japan and India. That will also influence their view of the world geopolitics.

    • How lucrative will the European market be if they end up being impoverished by having to import much more expensive energy, thus eroding its manufacturing and wealth creating base

    • There won’t be any titanic battles. The tyrant Zelensky doesn’t care how many Ukrainian gentiles he gets killed, but there is a limit. The Ukrainian people will overthrow him.

  4. A good post Chris. Thanks!

    There are a lot of interrelated moving parts to this conflict. However, one gets the sense that neither side now has the capacity to sustain the previous intensity of battle: so talking peace while they’re manoeuvring for the next phase would be good.
    Disparate issues:
    1. Biden started this by driving down US oil production. The resulting rise in the price gifted Putin a billion dollars a day. Quite a war chest!
    2. It suits the hawks in DC to let this drag on and weaken Russia. It’s a gift for them, and their buddies get to sell lots of weapons.
    3. This is a quagmire of Biden’s making so the Republicans will be only too happy to let the Democrats wallow in it leading up to the midterms. Everything in DC is about internal politics; even foreign affairs!
    4. Summer is here, and oil demand will fall.
    5.The Europeans deserve everything they get. It’s the consequence of voting for fools. Trump warned them!

    My guess: This will drag on until September. The GOP then takes control of one or both houses and releases all those stalled drilling permits. The oil price then softens and negotiations commence.

  5. They should negotiate to end the war with Russia and not escalate it.

    Many problems are facing the world, especially climate change and they should be working together to actually go post oil and into saving the planet.

    For example saving wild places which many are being destroyed. They should be preserved as well as the ocean and skies. The world should pay for these places to be preserved for everyone not just the country they are in.

    “The Russian Federation contains one sixth of the world’s land mass and around half of the country’s territory is what could be considered continuous wilderness, with large expanses of boreal forests providing relatively untouched habitat for an extremely wide diversity of species. The temperate rainforests are located at the intersection of the Pacific tectonic plate and the Eurasian continent’s plate in far southeastern Russia, forming an area with a unique set of characteristics seen no where else in the world.[2] During the last glacial maximum, the area was not glaciated, allowing for the development of a complex ecosystem containing species with origins in Siberia’s boreal forest and Manchuria’s subtropical forests.[2] Historically these forests ranged from the southeastern Pacific coast of Russia, North Korea, and into northern China, however large amounts of human development (in China especially) has limited the forest to its current range in the Russian Far East.[2] In 2001, UNESCO recognized a 1.5 million hectare area of forest in the central part of the Sikhote-Alin mountains as a World Heritage Site in Russia, citing the area as one of the most unique and valuable areas of intact forest in the world [3]”

    List of uninhabited regions

    We are destroying rainforests so quickly they may be gone in 100 years

  6. This is probably the most sensible thing he has ever said in his entire career!

    After being instrumental in the development and design of American Foreign Policy for the last 50+ years. He’s finally said something that makes sense for all of humanity.

  7. Mein Fuhrer! I can walk!

    Let’s hope this ghastly ghost gets back into his wheelchair…

    The Ukrainians have no intention of allowing Crimea to belong to the Russians, let alone the Donbas or Luhansk. And it seems very unlikely that the Moscow Politburo will settle for that. What about Moldova and Serbia and especially those rascally Baltics?

    You’d be better off double checking your ICBM targetting protocols…

    • see bark by using outdated terms like ‘politburo’ to suck up to your rightard fan base you just make your argument ridiculous…

      criticism meant in a neo-kind way…

  8. “Nato have so far restricted themselves to supplying the Ukrainians with defensive military equipment,…”

    ” defensive “? Guns are guns, missiles are missiles, military equipment is military equipment and can used both defensively or offensively.
    The reality is:

    “Nato have so far restricted themselves to supplying the Ukrainians with military equipment,…”

  9. kissenger was, is and always will be a warmongering liar, just like blair, why give anything they say house room, it just gives oxygen to their rancid breath…irrelevant dishonest purveyors of ‘american exceptionalism’

    • Warmongering against countries that have no capacity to defend themselves is very different from warmongering against Russia. Just because he is belligerent and evil doesn’t mean he is stupid.
      D J S

    • Yuri – all that doesn’t stop them from occasionally uttering a truth.

      I remember someone once questioning my sanity because I listened to Tchaikovsky. Apparently his music was invalid because he was homosexual…

  10. If the US invaded Venezuela to gain energy security.

    OPEC would collapse. The cost of energy would plummet and inflation defanged.

    Unlikely, yes but not impossible.

    • I’m sure the US Deep State has thought of that. There are complications with oil however, to do with things such as the type of crude. For example the US production is mainly fracked and features very little heavy distillates that you need for diesel. they get the majority of this from Russia…see the problem.

  11. I blame the US partially for leading the Ukrainians down this path to ruin.
    But now that Russia has invaded, appeasement cannot be a reasonable option because it only resets the clock on when the next sequestering of territory takes place.

    • I remember saying it was a proxy colonial war only to be accused of being pro-putin…has the TDB party line changed?

      • It would be interesting to watch Chris, Ben, Selwyn and Paul, Martyn, John et al at the Daily Blog Notso Happy hour.

  12. Listening to Kissinger on anything is like listening to Hitler on anything. Nothing he says aids any argument (right or wrong) you make because he simply cannot be trusted. Kissinger is pure evil and his “wisdom” has led to millions of deaths (e.g. Vietnam). Fortunately he’s super old and will die ASAP, and (hopefully) has zero influence in geopolitics so can be ignored completely.

    • The classic ultra-left response. Moral judgements trump facts every time. Sometimes evil people do good things without intending to. If Kissinger’s analysis leads to peace, then I don’t care two hoots that the ideas came from him. All I care about is that the fighting and dying ends, and that the re-building of Ukraine begins.

      • his position may be helpful chris but the fact it comes from his mouth devalues it…maybe that’s his intention all along, how do you devalue an argument get a proven liar to espouse it.

        • I don’t think his saying it devalues it ay all.Given his reputation as a warmonger with very high standing among people of similar persuasion , his position on this of practical common sense is making a huge impact all over the world. see Ukraine’s reaction. The rush to feed more arms into the war is going to slow considerably because of what he has said .
          D J S

  13. Chris as usual you have some things right and other completely wrong.
    The Russians blockading the ports with Ukrainian mines was a mater-stroke of genius. What you fail to cover is that on both in economic sense and on the ground Russia is winning, have you checked the cross rate USD Rouble lately.
    On the ground significant numbers of Ukriane’s soldiers have now pushed all the way to Siberia and it looks like some of them especially the AZOV’s may stay for 10-20 years.
    The collective west has seen the writing on the wall and the USA is about to be made a complete fool which will have ramifications worldwide. The boomerang effect of the sanctions is there for all to see. How is that Nato membership for the Nordic’s turning out

    • Yes sir. Ukraine is close to collapse in northern Donbass which will effect the centre region also.
      The cess pit in the pentagon knows this, nothing will stop this happening. Even zilenski has finally stopped the propaganda as he watches the destruction of his army. Ukraine will surrender soon, or die. Zilenski has to lift the stand and fight order. The sooner he stops this bullshit the more territory he may keep. Make no mistake, Russia will not stop and have huge forces, most of it, still in the motherland.

      The USA knows this conflict is decided and losing interest quickly. China next?
      Zilenski will run off with his 850 mil, like the rat he is.

  14. Kissinger is an augery, a raven, while ruthless and amoral.

    That was cogent analysis, Mr. Totter
    I sought this blog, and am well rewarded.
    Regards, Michael Dee, Yank.

  15. This reactionary poison toad deserves burial next to Pinochet (if the dictator’s unmarked grave can be located) after a suitable war crim trial!

    He might make some sort of “no nukes” argument, but Kissinger only stands for US Imperialism and Capital. Nuclear war tends to cut off the cash flow.

  16. Time to give peace a chance – before somebody does something rash.
    Best line since I don’t know when. Very cool, very right in a lefty sort of way.

    TM Sounds as if he needs some heart surgery. Who’s Kissinger now – to come up with that idea?

    Don’t we need to do something about Russia, Chris? How come now we are grown up 21st century adults with some assuming the role of gods; how come we can’t work something out all together. Just for the next five years if that isn’t too much of a stretch for politicians and oligarchs’ mind-elastic. With a view to getting along, keeping going with communication and mediation lines open, and doing something meaningful about climate change. Or we could have another bloody world war. That sharpens up the mind considerably, when there are hardly any options to waffle on about.

    • You can wax eloquent Warbler-but remember the banality of evil-even torturers, authoritarians, and heartless warmongers like Henry end up going home for dinner with the fam. and no doubt a good nights sleep.

      Me, I remember the Santiago Stadium and Victor Jara. I worked with the Chilean exile community in NZ in late 70s.

  17. I’ve been following Kissinger’s information. And looking for critiques. Just like I can’t find advice on google of when I can cut down dahlias, it is not always available. Thanks.

    What it comes down to is let the dictator keep his pre-war territory de facto. All for that, as per Zelensky.

  18. Agreed Gagarin the messenger is poisonous but the message is more or less sound. If Ukraine sues for peace now then they may be able to retake some of the Donbas later. Crimea is lost however. I cannot understand the loony left in blaming the US for the war. We of Russian extraction know better than that. Putin hates the idea of a democratic Ukraine on his doorstep. Biden knows a lot about Ukraine and I think the idea would be to progress the war until Putin is removed by illness or coup d’état.You Putin supporters in New Zealand should be ashamed of yourselves. Support Navalny instead. Zelensky and Navalny would work together.

    • “Sue for peace” then fight later?! Canterbury/NZ doesn’t gain much from your presence.

      Слава России!

      • Боже мой!
        Another bloody Putin supporter. As I said you should be ashamed of yourself.
        For the record my father was born in Russia and you have little idea about the truth about Russia that the siloviki are running a kleptocratic criminal state that has no democratic freedoms. Ukraine isn’t perfect but it’s a hell of a lot better than that!

        • You are a fuckwit Cantabrian. Total idiot.
          You don’t know the facts, blinded by your boomer status?
          Teach yourself to look for the truth instead of just parroting
          US propaganda – all lies. Nato can’t beat Russia on the ground,
          and they know it.

  19. I will first say, this war should have been avoided. It would have been a simple matter to determine borders in Ukraine by plebiscite. The borders of 2020 would have moved a little but no one would have died. Historic sanctions on Russia could have ended in return for compensation to Ukraine for lost territory and resources (effectively Russia paying off a share of the Ukraine national debt). From that could have come a EU – Ukraine and Russia FTA.

    Without that Putin had two choices – one was to make such a wish known to the EU and say he was open to such a future. And if he had waited long enough such diplomacy would have prevailed. Instead he chose war. It is up to him to climb down from that position. If he continues on the path of some nova Russia in the south and East of Ukraine by ethnic cleansing and annexation then tp cater to his will is classical appeasement of the strongman will – and such emboldens fascist tendency to use of violence in politics (given the GW future ahead of us not the right option).

    The West blaming itself for his choice of action and appeasing him for the sake of peace sets a dangerous precedent for collective security – it effectively becomes abandoned to enable regional hegemony.

  20. As per being all for Zelensky.

    Europe has turned its back on Russia — that Australia-sized economy. How does the anti-European European country deal with that? There is no out for it, at last.

    • Sum, it might shock you to realise that the economic game has changed. When you talk about an economy size it pays to understand the components and their significance. For example with the valuation of the rouble based upon the need for energy in Europe Russias economy is almost the size of Germany. If you then take away the service sectors that produce no industrial or resource output Russias economy is larger than Germany. The same is the way China looks at the economy, its about who makes the plates and delivers the ingredients, not who makes and serves the meal.

      • Appreciate your detail — I’m all wide swathes. Germany is willing to take the pain and cut off Russian fuel. The most idealistic country in Europe when ‘faced’ with things. The only country that has faced up to its ‘original sin’?

        You should see the rejection when I tell my relatives about Scotland being the Egors to England’s Dr Frankenstein. I have the entire indictment of us overseas Scots ever fresh in my mind. Putting ‘getting on’ always far ahead of our other principle ‘the fair go’. Read the biography of Donald Maclean, govt landbuyer, to see how that panned out. Or see Allen Pinkerton’s life — despite ‘getting on’, founder of the Pinkerton Agency, having to fight on his death bed to prevent his sons allowing the agents to break up strikes.

  21. Looking at Mr Kissinger I think pity he isn’t British, they would have knighted him. He makes me think of Monty Python’s Mr Creosote, but cleaner. He is USA isn’t he, sometimes it’s hard to tell?

  22. What Kissinger said about Ukraine remaining neutral should apply all the way up to the Arctic circle: and would include Finland, whose recent application to join NATO defies common sense, and also the three Baltic states. I have argued this on previous comment (I’m not sure where) and it is flattering to see that Kissinger, by implication, agrees with me.

  23. May I recant on some aspects of my comments above?
    The time to negotiate is when Putin has been beaten and the Russian military is back behind their border.
    My reasoning is quite simply: You can’t do deals with tyrants! Because they will renege on them whenever it suits them. Just like Hitler did.
    There already IS a signed agreement between Russia and NATO maintaining Ukraine’s national integrity, and how has that worked out?


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