Kissinger, the International Republican Institute (IRI), Freedom and Democracy and Other Conundrums

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Thursday November 26, by Jerome F. Keating Ph.D.

The International Republican Institute (IRI) needs to do some serious soul-searching. Its stated purpose is to advance freedom and democracy worldwide; it promotes open elections, good government and rule by law. It supports the United Nation's Declaration of Human Rights where "Freedom is not the sole prerogative of a lucky few but the inalienable and human right of all human beings." This is all well and good, so then why of the many people who have sacrificed for cause of freedom is it honoring former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger with the Freedom Award (October 2009)?

In giving the award, Senator John McCain stated that Kissinger "influences the debate and direction of American foreign policy." There is no question about that, Kissinger's Machiavellian tactics, chicanery, and the "ends justify the means" performance around the world leave plenty of room for debate about the policy of a country that professes to be a leader in the forefront of democracy.

McCain went on to state that Kissinger got the award for his "contribution to the security and progress of the United States" (one would not argue with that) and "the continued success of our (read USA) democracy." There is the rub and the question that the IRI, the USA and any believer in democracy must face, how can you promote the cause of democracy when selling out the democracy and freedom of others? Or to put it another way, Can one achieve alleged ethical ends by unethical means?

If you look at Kissinger's past track record in cases relating to Chile, East Timor, Taiwan and others for example, in Kissinger's mind, freedom belongs to the "lucky few" who are on the side that he serves for the moment. Kissinger has always wanted to be a power broker. Whatever cause he momentarily professes, his history reads that his ultimate service is to money and power. If Kissinger should get any award, I would suggest the "Machiavellian Award for Ruthless Self-Advancement at the Cost of Others" and glorying in it all the way.