February 21, 2010

Even the ordinary White House staff was somewhat alarmed. Kissinger was asked at a meeting whether the invasion did not expand the war. "Look," he replied, "we're not interested in Cambodia. We're only interested in it not being used as a base." The wider justifications he cited dealt with superpower relations. "We're trying to shock the Soviets into calling a Conference," he said, "and we can't do this by appearing weak." William Safire asked if it did not breach the Nixon Doctrine, and Kissinger replied, "We wrote the goddamn doctrine, we can change it." At the end of the meeting Haig stood up and shouted, "The basic substance of all this is that we have to be tough." That was indeed a point. -William Shawcross

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