Kissinger, the European roots of pure American cynicism
A diplomatic genius for some, a war criminal for others, Henry Kissinger has just turned 100. An opportunity for Dominique Moïsi, who has known him well, to reflect on the German-born U.S. diplomat's roots and driving raison d'être in French daily Les Echos.
My first contacts — by letter — with the "diplomat of the century" date back to the autumn of 1971. As a Sachs scholar at Harvard University, my teacher, renowned French philosopher Raymond Aron, had written me a letter of introduction to the man who was then President Richard Nixon's National Security Advisor.
Aron's letter opened all the doors. Kissinger invited me to meet him in Washington, before canceling our appointment due to "last-minute constraints." I later learned that these constraints were nothing less than his travels in preparation for Washington's historic opening to China.
In the five decades since that first contact, I've met Kissinger regularly, at the Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg conference, Davos Forum or, more intimately, at his home in New York. As a young student of international relations, I was fascinated to read his doctoral thesis on the Congress of Vienna: "A World Restored."
Kissinger's fascination with the great diplomats who shaped European history — from Austria's Klemens von Metternich to Britain's Castlereagh — was already present in this book. He clearly dreamed of joining their club in the pantheon of world diplomacy. Was his ambition to "civilize" his adopted country, by introducing the subtleties of Ancien Régime diplomacy?
Yet from Asia to Latin America, in his fight against communism, wasn't he closer to Theodore Roosevelt's "Carry a big stick" than to European equilibrium a la Bismarck?
Our relationship was always complex. He felt that I was more "liberal" in the Anglo-Saxon sense of the word than he was. So much so that he once told me, as I hugged him, that he must be a victim of "Stockholm Syndrome," that surprising emotional relationship that sometimes grows between a hostage-taker and his victim. [...]
— Read the full Les Echos article by Dominique Moïsi, translated into English by Worldcrunch.
• Dam destroyed near Kherson: A large Soviet-era dam has been blown up on the Dnipro river near Kherson, Ukraine. Kyiv and Moscow are blaming each other for the attack, which is flooding nearby war zones. The dam, located in the Russian-occupied part of Kherson, supplied water to Crimea and the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. Experts say that there is no immediate nuclear safety risk, and evacuations are underway as catastrophic flooding could affect 16,000 people.
• Haiti floods kill 42: Flooding and landslides in Haiti over the past several days have killed at least 42 people. Already suffering from a long-term humanitarian crisis, seven of the island nations’ 10 departments were hit by deadly weather. The UN reports that the severe rains affected 37,000 people and displaced 13,400 across the country.
• Iran unveils its first hypersonic ballistic missile: Iran has presented what it described as its first domestically-made hypersonic ballistic missile today. The missile named Fattah was revealed in a ceremony attended by high ranking officials, including President Ebrahim Rahisi. Hypersonic missiles can fly at least five times faster than the speed of sound on complex trajectories, making them hard to be detected and shot down by anti-aircraft weapons.
• Fighting intensifies as Sudan fighting enters eighth week: Sudan's capital was hit with shelling and heavy clashes as conflict between rival military factions enters its eighth week. Khartoum has been heavily damaged by battles, air strikes and looting, while a second consecutive day of fighting has also plagued neighboring Omdurman and Bahri. This violence has displaced 1.2 million people within Sudan, with 400,000 more fleeing to neighboring countries.
• Mike Pence joins 2024 Republican presidential race: Former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has filed the paperwork for his bid in the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. He will face off against the man he served, ex-President Donald Trump, as well as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Pence is slated to formally announce his candidacy on Wednesday.
• Prince Harry’s rare court testimony, in case against tabloids: In the first court testimony by a British royal in 130 years, Prince Harry suggested that the UK press has blood on its hands in a London court appearance as a part of a case against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN). More than 100 people are suing the tabloid publisher – accused of phone-hacking and other unlawful activities. Prince Harry asked "How much more blood will stain their typing fingers before someone can put a stop to this madness?"• Word auction:
Following the passage of a law
last February that allows auctions to sell intangible works, the Paris’ Drouot auction house will put up for auction a word
chosen by Italian artist Alberto Sorbelli, to be revealed to the buyer only. This is the first time in art history that a word will be auctioned off for ownership as it now has legal validity.
A Ukrainian music teacher has created an illustrated book to help children cope with the war. The book’s hero, Brave Goose (Хоробра Гуска), puts on disguises throughout the story and plays several roles, such as a medic or a volunteer. Nadia Sadoviak, who was born in western Ukraine and now lives in Berkshire, UK, said she created the book to “help children cope with a situation they can barely understand” and will launch her book at her local library on June 14.
“Unsustainable,” titles Portuguese daily Jornal I, reporting on potential solutions “to end the drought” that is plaguing several countries around the world. In southern Europe, Spain and Portugal have experienced record-breaking spring temperatures, pushing the countries’ governments to ask for support from the European Union.
Tech giant Apple has unveiled the Apple Vision Pro, its much-hyped new augmented reality headset which CEO Tim Cook said would "seamlessly blends the real world and the virtual world" — that is, if you can afford the $3,499 price tag.
Blue-yellow visions, bioweapon warnings: the face of Russian paranoia
Today's Russia is similar to Stalin's USSR in more and more ways, including the constant search for enemies and the paranoia of betrayal. Some examples of this panic may be funny, but also help inform what Moscow might do next, writes Mykhailo Kriegel in Ukrainian online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda.
🇺🇦🚨 Take Olga Z., a resident of the Moscow neighborhood, who was taking the metro when a neighbor caught her eye. He wore a yellow jacket with a blue sweatshirt peeking out from underneath. She was also concerned that a man who was a lookalike of Ukrainian nationalist Dmytro Yarosh was sitting beside the suspicious citizen in yellow and blue. She immediately informed the police.
🇷🇺 What is happening today in the Russian world is not a temporary dizziness but a time-tested national idea of the Soviet world. Conspiratorial searches for disguised enemies and denunciations have been the norm since at least the 1930s. However, back then, it was not the yellow and blue colors, but Nazi swaztikas.
☣️ But it's not just colors and symbols. News about secret biological warfare laboratories on the territory of Ukraine is coming off the Russian propaganda conveyor belt all the time. Ukraine is portrayed as a testing ground for developing biological weapons commissioned and funded by the Americans. At some point, it was supposed to rise into the air and bring ethnic Russians to their knees with a buzz and a squawk.➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
“Brazil has resumed its leading role in tackling climate change.”
— Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva unveiled his plan to prevent and control deforestation in the Amazon by 2030, as part of an international commitment to environmental protection made at the COP26 climate negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2021. Aimed at breaking with the policies of his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro, which he described as “four years in which the environment was treated as an obstacle to the immediate profit of a privileged minority,” Lula’s plan to combat deforestation also comes at a time when Brazil has reached record deforestation levels.
Flooding reaches the center of the occupied town of Novaya Kakhovka, following the destruction of a large dam part of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant in Ukraine’s Kherson region. Kyiv and Moscow are blaming each other for the attack on the dam, which provides water to the south of the country and is also used to cool the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. — Photo: Alexei Konovalov/TASS via ZUMA
✍️ Newsletter by Yannick Champion-Osselin, Chloé Touchard, Marine Béguin and Anne-Sophie Goninet