måndag, oktober 08, 2007

Schlesingers anteckningar

I New York Times’ Sunday book review levererar Maureen Dowd en njutbart välskriven anmälan av Arthur M Schlesinger Jr:s postumt utgivna dagboksanteckningar. Schlesinger var historiker och författare, tillika en long-timer i maktens korridorer, aktiv kring politiker i det demokratiska partiet. Han togs in i statstjänst av John F. Kennedy efter dennes valseger 1960. Om Kennedyåren skrev Schlesinger sedan boken A Thousand Days, för vilken han fick en Pulitzer.

Säga vad man vill om amerikansk politik, men visst är det på sitt sätt kittlande läsning. Och mycket män – skapande en homosocial atmosfär, en där uppfattningen om makt och manlighet glider in i varandra till oskiljaktighet.
“We not only look like imperialists ... we look like stupid, ineffectual imperialists, which is worst of all,” Schlesinger moans afterward. [Grisbukten, Kuba]

Kennedy’s confidence is banged up, and he grows rueful about the intelligence community, telling his Boswell that “if it hadn’t been for Cuba, we might be about to intervene in Laos now.” (Ike advises a stunned Kennedy that he had been told by an official at State that Laos is “a nation of homosexuals.”)

[...]

He is seduced by Kissinger’s Scheherazade tales of power. Henry describes a scene in 1968 in the Cabinet Room when Johnson harasses McNamara, growling: “How can I hit them” — meaning the North Vietnamese — “in the nuts?”

After Nixon invades Cambodia, Henry — with “a Key Biscayne tan” — explains that he can’t resign, partly because he thinks “the great need for the United States is to preserve institutions of authority” like the presidency. By the time of Watergate, Schlesinger deems Kissinger “one of the most disgusting figures” in the Nixon White House.

Yet when Gerald Ford takes over and Henry asks Arthur to lunch at the State Department, our diarist overcomes his distaste and has “an agreeable” time — even with “not bad” food and wine and “mediocre” cigars. Kissinger, now more likely to have a Southampton tan, tells Schlesinger that Nixon was sometimes evil and lazy (with the work habits of Hitler) and a liar and obsessed with destroying the reputations of the Kennedys, and that he had Howard Hunt forging documents proving that John Kennedy had ordered the assassination of Diem. “He was unquestionably a weird president, but he was not a weak president,” Kissinger says. “But everything was weird in that slightly homosexual, embattled atmosphere of the White House.” Schlesinger doesn’t press on the “slightly homosexual”; he deems Henry “a highly intelligent and charming man.”
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1 kommentar:

Magnus sa...

!"How can I hit them in the nuts?" - underbart talande inpass från Vietnamåren. Stilenligt, men Kissinger lär också ha suttit och förhandlat med Ali Bhutto i Kabul och sagt att "vi kan göra kyckling av dig om du inte vill spela på våra villkor"