Skip to comments.'This woman suckered us', said Nixon of Indira Gandhi: Book
Posted on 03/01/2010 11:11:42 PM PST by sukhoi-30mki
'This woman suckered us', said Nixon of Indira Gandhi: Book
New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) "She suckered us. Suckered us.....this woman suckered us." So said an enraged US president Richard Nixon of Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi after learning that war had broken out on the subcontinent on Dec 3, 1971, and Indian forces had made a decisive push towards then East Pakistan that it recognised as Bangladesh three days later.
Nixon, who had met Gandhi just a month earlier in Washington, had sought assurances from her that India would not take any precipitate military action pending efforts by the US to find a political solution that would not "shatter the cohension of West Pakistan" and end up "overthrowing President Yahya (Khan)" who was pivotal to America's China initiative afer 22 years of diplomatic freeze.
Nixon had then made it clear to Mrs Gandhi that "nothing could be served by the disintegration of Pakistan" and even warned darkly that "it would be impossible to calculate with precision the steps which other great powers might take if India were to initiate hostilities".
Nixon's presentations were heard with "aloof indifference" by Mrs Gandhi, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was quoted as telling author Kalyani Shankar in her just published book "Nixon, Indira and India - Politics and Beyond (Macmillan/Rs. 445).
Nixon's frustration at not being able to make Mrs Gandhi back off from war reflected in his telephone conversation with Kissinger on Dec 6. Almost fumbling for words without breaking into expletives at the turn of the situation in the subcontinent at a time when Yahya Khan's propping up was imperative for American foreign policy interests, Nixon wondered if he was "too easy on that goddamn woman when she was here".
Even as Kissinger tried to pacify a fuming president by saying he was only following advice to be "gracious" to a visiting dignitary, Nixon agreed at one point with Kissinger that he should have probably "brutalised" her and followed up by threatening: "But let me tell you she is going to pay. She is going to pay."
Nixon even asked Kissinger whether the Chinese would make threatening moves towards India. But the Chinese, much to the chagrin of the Americans did not agree to "intimidate the Indians", as the author points out, because the Chinese thought that "independence for East Pakistan was a foregone conclusion.
"It (China) was prepared to endorse UN proposal for a standstill ceasefire and forgo a demand for mutual troop withdrawal," the book states.
When even the Soviets refused to put presssure on New Delh for a ceasefire, Nixon ordered the Seventh Fleet into the Indian Ocean in a threatening gesture. The Fleet, consisting of an aircraft carrier and four destroyers, was to move towards Karachi with the publicly stated aim that they would stand by for "possible evacuation" of Americans although the intention was to browbeat India in case the government in New Delh did not agree to an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal.
India did finally agree to a ceasefire, but that was only on Dec 17 after Indian forces marched into Dhaka (then Dacca). There was a ceasefire also in the west with India assuring that it had no desire to seize the territory of West Pakistan, an assurance it delivered to Wasington via Moscow.
The book provides a fascinating insight for foreign policy researchers into the Nixon era and his famous tilt towards Pakistan based on now declassified 'top-secret' documents and top-level telephone transcripts pertaining to Nixon's visit to India in 1969 and Mrs Gandhi's visit to Washington in 1971 that were obtained from the United States National Archives and the National Security Archives.
Nixon and Kissinger were among the “pragmatist” types in
US foreign policy who for decades have preferred dealing with dictators to dealing with democracies - if this is the alternative to neo-conservatism, I’ll go with neo-conservatism every time. Indira Gandhi was a socialist windbag, but she was the elected leader of a democracy. Around the same time, Kissinger and Nixon were meeting with Chou En-Lai and Mao, with Kissinger messing himself over the high privilege of exchanging a few words with Mao, one of history’s greatest tyrants and mass murderers.
God Bless Richard Nixon. One of the best Presidents ever.
I guess they figured they had to talk to Mao to do so.
The Soviet-Sino block started breaking up in the Kennedy era itself. Nixon didn’t really need to do a great deal other than bend over backwards.
About Indira-windbag or no windbag, if it were not for her, we would have had two Pakistans to deal with. One with nukes pointed at the Gulf and another with nukes pointed at Australia and the Far-East.
The Russia-China bloc was already broken by 1972. It was broken as early as 1961, when the Chinese Communists formally denounced "The Revisionist Traitor Group of Soviet Leadership." Moreso in the later 60s, particularly with the Sino-Soviet border clashes in 1969.
More than anything, the 1972 Nixon visit just increased the "pressure" on the USSR, by presenting the possibility of a US-China de-facto-alliance against the USSR. Combined with such subsequent demands as the perceived need to keep pace with the Reagan-era US re-armament, such pressure helped to keep the USSR's military budget at ruinously high levels, sapping the capacity of their productively-inferior Communist economic system.
Nixon was just a corrupt scum-bag who was kissing dictators and wilfully supporting genocide.
His personal pal, Pakistan President Yahya Khan, is the same one who once uttered, “Kill three million of them, and the rest will eat out of our hands!”, referring to the Bengalis in East Pakistan, whom he managed to slaughter, through the tacit approval of Nixon. It took Indira’s forceful stance to stop it, Nixon’s USS Enterprise Bay of Bengal drama, notwithstanding.
Nixon then graduated to kissing Mao’s rear orifice, and sowed the seeds for every iota of threat that China has now become to the United States.
Tricky Dick got taken by Indira.
Well, well, well!
Realism trumps bringing “Democracy” to savages who have no Democratic tradition. I really wish that the Wilsonian Neocons would get purged Stalin-style or, at the very least, sent back to the Dems.
Which had been the policy of most true conservatives, ie understanding that certain cultures are not as enlightened as we are, but making alliances in pursuit of our national interest.
The invasion of "conservatism" by Scoop Jackson Democrats, who want to sacrifice the lives of young American men in the name of "imposing Democracy" is one of the most noxious political trends of the past 35 years.
And how has that served America today?
A menacing China, with nukes pointed out against the one that resurrected its modern avatar.
Some of these countries are "democratic", others are democratic in name only. Crusading for "human rights" and "democracy" only serves to expose stereotypical Anglo-Saxon hypocrisy, while leading to "mission creep" (ie our soldiers acting as social workers and policemen).
Let's not forget that Ronaldus Magnus, despite having the Scoop Jacksonians as advisers, nevertheless, supported rather unsavory folks in Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East in the guise of rolling back the Soviets. If he would have wasted his time over-committing our soldiers in missionary assignments, we may still be dealing with the Soviets in 2010.
China will be capable of being what the Soviets never could.
They are going to be a far, far more serious threat than the Soviets.