The Dartmouth Observer

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Sunday, November 20, 2005
Kaplan on Kissinger

I just finished another Kaplan book: The Coming Anarchy -- a collection of essays, all of them written before 9/11, on the state of the world following the Cold War. The essay that I'm singling out here is the one on Kissinger and his doctoral dissertation on Metternich and Castlereagh. In it, Kaplan argues that Nixon and Kissinger kept American troops in Vietnam for as long as they did so as to maintain the US's strategic position vis-a-vis China and the USSR. Kaplan cites a couple of American foreign policy successes such as Nixon's visits to China and the USSR in order to substantiate this thesis, but he also writes that "there is no way to prove or disprove connections between the Nixon administration's cold-bloodedness in Indochina and its ability to project power elsewhere, to America's obvious benefit." I'd be interested in your views on both Kaplan's original argument, and on his claim that it can't be proven or disproven.