This paper is focused on a book written by William Shawcross, titled Sideshow, Kissinger,
Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia. What was unique about this book was that it
focused on a series of issues or blunders committed by both Secretary of State Henry
Kissinger and former President Nixon, among many others, in an attempt to highlight just
how involved politics was in the Vietnam conflict.
Henry Kissinger could be described as a true success story. From a very young age, he was
confronted with situations many of us would not have survived through. From his early
childhood where he fled the Nazis, winding up an immigrant in the United States, to his
service in the United States Army as a counterintelligence agent, and ultimately ending up
as the Secretary of State of the United States. Many would consider his life as having a
storybook appeal to it. On his way to his post as Secretary of State, Dr. Kissinger was
educated at Harvard, where he became very vocal about his anti-Soviet beliefs. Kissinger
later authored a book titled Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy that he first brought up
that he felt nuclear was somewhat respectable. He believed "the problem is to apply
graduated amounts of destruction for limited objectives", (Shawcross, 1979) while leaving
a sufficient amount of breathing room for political negotiations to take place. Kissinger
and Nixon shared similar views on the use of nuclear weapons in war. President Nixon
felt "tactical atomic explosives are now conventional and will be used against the targets of
any aggressive force." (Shawcross, 1979) This, along with many other similarities, are viewed
as some of the reasons Kissinger and Nixon were able to work well with each other,
especially in light of the fact Kissinger was once quoted as saying Nixon was not capable of
being the President of the United States.
One of the many things Kissinger and Nixon agreed on was their dislike of...