Showing why he got everything wrong in Vietnam, 94-year-old former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger warns that defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] could have adverse consequences on containing a power-mad Iranian regime. Kissinger’s logic falls into the category of old age, to put it kindly at least at this stage of his career. When you consider the 58,318 deaths, whose names are etched into Washington’s Vietnam War Memorial, Kissinger’s been getting it wrong for a long time. Nothing takes away from his academic accomplishments but his common sense was lacking in his prime. Saying that defeating ISIS could lead to a “radical Iranian empire” is so preposterous, so off-the-wall, so outrageous it defies all logic. With or without ISIS occupying Iraq’s Mosul or Syria’s Raqqa, it has no bearing on what Iran does now or in the future.
Quoted because of his celebrity status paving the way with President Richard Nixon to open up post-Maoist China for trade with the U.S., Kissinger seeks relevance in his old age but has little to offer today’s Mideast dialogue. Instead of opining about ISIS, where a determined U.S.-Kurdish effort is about to incur massive casualties pushing ISIS out of Raqqa, Kissinger should give his opinion about the North Korean nuke and Intercontinental Ballistic Missile crisis, potentially leading to war on the Korean Peninsula. Kissinger prefers to raise absurd hypotheticals about ridding major Iraq and Syrian cities of an outlaw gang called ISIS, known for raping Yazidi or any other underage minors to pay back its Islamic gang members for raising hell in the Middle East. Whatever happens with Iraq has nothing to do with what the U.S. and its partners do with ISIS.
ISIS is not as Kissinger says a Sunni movement countering Iran’s Shiite expansion, sounding more like the International Communist Conspiracy. ISIS, above all else, is nothing more than a criminal Islamic outlaw gang, murdering and destroying its way wherever its gets the chance. Iran, on the other hand, is the world’s largest Shiite nation-state with a long history dating back to the origins of Western Civilization. “In these circumstances, the traditional adage that the enemy of your enemy can be regarded as your friend no longer applies,” said Kissinger making a non sequitur, since the U.S. currently is at odds with Iran and ISIS. But there’s no equivalency between a lawless gang like ISIS and Iran, a nation-state with whom the U.S. is also at odds. Kissinger wrongly equates ISIS as a radical Sunni movement, as opposed to an outlaw Islamic criminal gang.
Showing that Kissinger mixes apples and oranges, he sees ISIS as representing all Sunni radicals, something so preposterous it’s hard to imagine he believes what he’s saying. “The answer is elusive because Russia and the NATO countries support opposing factions. If ISIS territory is occupied by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or Shiite forces trained and directed by it, the result could be a territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut, which could make the emergence of an Iranian radical empire,” Kissinger wrote with a straight face. Henry confuses Russian and Iran opposing Saudi-U.S-Turkey efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russia and Iran don’t support ISIS any more that the U.S. or its European or Mideast allies. Evicting ISIS from Mosul or anti-Assad Saudi-U.S.-backed rebels from Aleppo has Kissinger thoroughly confused.
When Iraq evicted ISIS from Mosul July 9, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or it Iran-backed Hesbollah militia didn’t fill the power vacuum as Kissinger says. Kicked out of its major cities doesn’t mean that ISIS disappears completely, only recedes into the background to fight a guerrilla war like al-Qaeda, the perpetrator of Sept. 11. Unlike al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, ISIS made the mistake of grabbing sovereign territory, leading to its current existential problems. Had they hid like al-Qaeda in the hinterlands, ISIS wouldn’t face coordinated military efforts to take over its territory. Kissinger’s so backed up in the Domino theory of communist takeovers, that he’s applying the same faulty logic to the Middle East. Iran has shown no interest in expanding its territory by knocking off smaller Sunni regimes. Kissinger once again shows his bad logic and forecasts.
Kissinger had his time in the limelight, a distant past in which 58,318 American soldiers lost their lives in a place called Vietnam. Suggesting that ridding Iraq and Syria of ISIS would leave a power vacuum shows how far gone Kissinger as become. Whatever happens with Iran’s sphere of influence, it has nothing to do with ridding Iraq and Syria of an outlaw Islamic criminal gang like ISIS. Confusing the U.S. support for the seven-year-old Saudi proxy war to topple al-Assad, Kissinger shows he doesn’t understand today’s war against ISIS. Far from leaving a power vacuum, ISIS’s defeat in Mosul and expected loss in Raqqa can only help Iraq and Syria regain some stability. Iran isn’t waiting around looking to gobble up ISIS held territory. Kissinger’s analysis is so misguided, so off-the-wall, so wrong that it makes you wonder about his age-related problems.