Imperfect Hindsight

Kissinger's critics may be justified in attacking his role in the Vietnam peace talks, but there is nothing to suggest that he was callous toward the fate of POWs

It is a reliable rule of statecraft that it is hard to win at the bargaining table what you are unable or unwilling to win on the battlefield. Henry Kissinger, a cold-eyed realist and practitioner of power politics, knew this well. During the four years that he negotiated America's exit from Vietnam, he regularly resisted those people -- ranging from Defense Secretary Melvin Laird to the doves in the Senate -- who wanted to speed up troop withdrawals and, in Kissinger's view, undercut U.S. leverage at the Paris peace talks. And after the peace accord was signed in January 1973, he...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!