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Sanders Slams Clinton's Admiration for "Destructive" Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

February 12, 2016
Story
WATCH FULL SHOW

Guests

Gregory Meeks

Democrat of New York and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus political action committee, which has endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Jeffrey Sachs

leading economist and the director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University. He’s the author of many books, including, most recently, The Age of Sustainable Development. His recent article for The Huffington Post is titled "Hillary is the Candidate of the War Machine."

During Thursday’s Democratic debate, Bernie Sanders picked up on a point that Hillary Clinton made during last week’s face-off in New Hampshire about her admiration for former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. "She talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger," Sanders said. "Now, I find it rather amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country. … I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger." Clinton responded that Sanders has failed to answer questions about whom he would have advise him on foreign policy. Sanders told her, "Well, it ain’t Henry Kissinger. That’s for sure." We get reaction from economist Jeffrey Sachs, whose recent article is headlined "Hillary is the Candidate of the War Machine," and from Congressmember Gregory Meeks, Democrat of New York and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus political action committee, which has endorsed Hillary Clinton.


TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, I want to go back to the debate last night in Milwaukee, when Bernie Sanders picked up on a point that Hillary Clinton made during last week’s debate in New Hampshire—that is, Clinton’s admiration, and his admiration for her, talking about Henry Kissinger.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Where the secretary and I have a very profound difference, in the last debate and, I believe, in her book—very good book, by the way—in her book and in this last debate, she talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger. Now, I find it rather amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country. I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger.

And, in fact, Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia, when the United States bombed that country, overthrew Prince Sihanouk, created the instability for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some 3 million innocent people—one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. So, count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.

GWEN IFILL: Secretary Clinton?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy, and we have yet to know who that is.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, it ain’t Henry Kissinger. That’s for sure.

HILLARY CLINTON: I—that’s fine. That’s fine.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debating last night in Milwaukee. The significance of what Bernie Sanders raised, Professor Sachs?

JEFFREY SACHS: He’s raising the basic point that when Hillary Clinton says she has experience, her experiences of regime change, that’s the Henry Kissinger mode of operation. It is to back the CIA and the military-industrial complex for violent regime change. She’s done it now three times, that has led to disaster: Iraq, Libya and now Syria. No responsibility. Most of it’s secret, except when The New York Times gives a little bit of a public window to what’s happening. That experience is a dreadful experience, and it is a significant mark against her candidacy.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressman Gregory Meeks?

REP. GREGORY MEEKS: Yes. Well, let me—first, let’s go back to Libya, because I don’t know where Mr. Leeds [sic] was—

AMY GOODMAN: Well, could you—could you respond, though, on this issue of using Henry Kissinger as an example?

REP. GREGORY MEEKS: Well, Henry Kissinger, I will tell you, as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I talk to all people, especially if someone has an expertise in one area or another, so that I can dissect and determine what did happen, what has happened in the past, utilize advice, take in and take out. I know that I talk to all, because that’s the best way for me to make a decision, as opposed to just leaving someone out. So if I was going to be or was appointed secretary of state, I think that I would talk to as many secretaries of states that had been alive to figure—get from them what they did, when they did it, how—their advice. It’s similar to when you have a transition team. And even if it’s a different party, you talk to your former colleagues to find out what they did and how they did it. And sometimes, you might find a bit of advice that you could utilize, and some you may not.

And I think that what she was talking about was that, for example, one of the things that was important was the opening up of relationships and dialogue with China. It was extremely important. Just as Mr. Sanders admitted and said today the same thing: There’s a huge difference when we talk and open up a dialogue with Cuba. And we would want to make sure that those kinds of things are happening. So, if—

AMY GOODMAN: I mean, interestingly, on that issue of China that Hillary Clinton raised, how important Henry Kissinger was, Bernie Sanders replied that it was about offshoring jobs, companies moving to China. Jeffrey Sachs?

JEFFREY SACHS: I think the problem for Hillary is that she has a record. She has a foreign policy record, which is not an enviable one. And she has a domestic record of going with the special interests.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break here and come back for another five minutes, and then I know Congressmember Meeks has to leave. This is Democracy Now! We’re talking to the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus political action committee, Queens Congressmember Gregory Meeks, and Professor Jeffrey Sachs, economist, a professor at Columbia University. Stay with us.


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