Richard Milhous Nixon: India, Pakistan, 1971

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


Tim Weiner’s account

FOR THE RECORD - Nixon called Indians savages, did not give a fig for Bangla genocide

More than four decades after he became the only US president ever to be forced out of office, Richard Nixon remains a riveting subject of study for scholars. Pulitzer winner Tim Weiner is the latest to delve into this complex man, whose dangerous gamesmanship in the sub-continent changed India's perception of the US for more than 25 years before Bill Clinton began to rescue it. Weiner talks to Chidanand Rajghatta about that toxic chapter in US-India history

Nixon's antipathy for India and Indira Gandhi

We knew ages ago that Nixon called Indira Gandhi a bitch. He caused a great tilt in US ties towards Pakistan but initially very few people knew about it aside from Nixon and Kissinger. Yahya Khan knew, the Shah of Iran knew and the King of Jordan knew. Now there are fresh new details about the intensity of the tilt, particularly the ways in which Kissinger and Nixon talk about drawing Chinese to the Indian border and recapitulating 1962.They start staring down the barrel of World War Three in the name of Yahya facilitating the US opening to China. They do this despite knowing there was no question who was going to win this (IndiaPakistan) war.

Aside from Pakistan opening Kissinger's line to China, did Nixon, like many US presidents, simply love military brass?

Yes, but it is deeper than that. Nixon and Kissinger were much more comfortable with dictators than with democrats. Because dictators provided stability whereas democrats could not always promise stability . Nixon himself says in the book that we provide military and economic aid to 90 countries and only a third are democracies. He said this in a press conference. He is not even being subtle about it. With a brief intermezzo between the fall of Berlin Wall and fall of World Trade Center, the US has generally been more comfortable with dictators and tyrants and much more willing to arm and support them. This has been particularly egregious in the case of Pakistan.

Why Nixon and Kissinger ignored the genocide of millions of Bengalis

It actually came before Vietnam, or at least at the height -in the Christmas of '72 when US bombed Hanoi and Haiphong. Vietnam was still very much a plan. Nixon repeatedly calls the people of India savages and cannibals. He repeatedly mourns the fact that Yahya is going down and that (Indira) Gandhi will emerge stronger. He didn't give a fig for the genocide that was being committed in present day Bangladesh, crimes for which people are still being tried and convicted. The origins of this are simply loyalty to Yahya for smuggling Kissinger to China….other than the irrational hatred of India and Indians, no.

Nixon was a hater. He hated blacks, Jews, Indians. He trusted no one of any race, creed or colour ...American or not. He was interested in two things only -a dramatic and overwhelming landslide re-election in 1972, and getting to a point where he could with a straight face say he ended the Vietnam war, which was a lie. He neither settled nor ended the Vietnam war. America lost it eight months after Nixon fell.

How the India-Pakistan war affected his administration

The India-Pak war, like Vietnam, had two aspects. There was a war abroad and a war at home. The war at home was happening between the joint chiefs of staff at Pentagon and the White House and National Security Council, because the mistrust Nixon had for his generals and admirals became mutual. The chiefs thought the covert arming of the Pakistanis was a dangerous mistake and playing the Chinese card against Indians would have gone out of hand.

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