Well, I applaud you for your intelligent, civil and thoughtful response, Vigo. Much appreciated, too.
This will be a long rebuttal. A very long one. But it needs to be said. As I mentioned in another thread, simple explanations are for simpletons. That sentiment is not to be taken as a slight. It's simply a truth. We are exceedingly complex creatures living complex lives in an exceedingly complex world. Not all is as it appears. In fact little of it is as it appears. Beware of taking all at face value.
My assumption is not that everyone plays by the rules. Not at all. I understand quite well that many do not play by the rules. And that would, of course, apply to Kissinger and Nixon. Now they obviously believed in the means, any means in fact, justifying their ends. And I'll repeat, their ends. It's important to distinguish between the ends of politicians and governments and the ends of the people for they are indeed vastly different in many respects. Though I would not deny that there's some overlap.
Now there are operative beliefs in play upon which men act. One of those beliefs is that force must be met with force. Is that belief, is that idea, an absolute truth about reality? Or is it simply a belief about reality? That's a question which needs to be asked and answered.
As long as the idea that force must be met with force is held as true then men will not look to find solutions to their conflicts elsewhere. If, on the other hand, it is understood that peaceful solutions to conflicts do exist then that idea will spur men to look away from violent conflict and violent, inhumane actions as the only solution possible.
Men can only act upon the ideas and beliefs they hold. One cannot act otherwise. It is an impossibility. With that in mind then the appearance of inevitable war becomes the only reality possible when given the firm belief that force must be met with force, violence must be met with violence. The subscription to and acceptance of the idea then creates a literal endless loop, with each such violent response reinforcing the truth of the idea.
In the end, the truth is that violence of that nature is never justified. Whether or not one can understand that truth is another matter and it is the ultimate responsibility for each of us to gain that understanding. When alternate solutions are at least thought possible then, and only then, can peaceful solutions be found.
I'll relate a few personal experiences of mine to illustrate my points so that you don't take what I say above as mere assumptions or as my personal theory but in fact knowledge. Uncommon knowledge.
In my early twenties I was once at a bar with a male and female friend of mine. The place was packed and as there was no available seating we stood facing each in conversation. Along came another male who approached the lady we were with and began an argument with her. Now this lady had just broken up with this guy and not on amiable terms. I stood aside and did not interfere in their back and forth, which was quite nasty, as it was not my concern.
Now the ex-boyfriend then spat in the lady's face. A violent gesture but rather harmless. At that point I stepped in and calmly suggested to her ex that he leave. He took my advice and left.
Shortly after, as the three of us were occupying the same space and conversing, out of the corner of my eye I saw the ex approach us once again. This time, though, he had pressed something against my abdomen and as I looked down I saw it was a gun. Since I had defended his ex he assumed I was her new beau, though I was in fact only a friend to her.
It was an odd moment in that I didn't feel the slightest tinge of fear at having a gun potentially go off into my stomach. I raised my head and looked him straight in the eye with a wide smile. I actually found this potentially deadly situation to be humourous in it's surreality. As I looked him in the eye with my warm smile I simply said to him calmly, "why don't you just give me the gun" as I held out my hand. And he took my advice again, handed me the gun, turned and walked out of the bar.
I thought it a good time to go as I did not want to have any encounters with the police so the three of us left as well. But not before I stopped at the bar and handed the gun to the bartender telling him to take care of it.
Second story. Again in my twenties I had a job selling steaks and seafood out of the back of a pickup truck. It was high quality product (and they're still in business). Now one might assume that the best areas to cold sell rather expensive, high quality product would be wealthy neighborhoods. But the most successful sales people told me that, though it was counterintuitive, the best areas are actually poor neighborhoods.
So off I went to the heart of the west side of Chicago, Madison & Cicero Avenues, where no sane white person would dare find themselves, even in broad daylight. My idea was to go to the bars as there would be multiple potential customers. So here I am in a bar with few customers, none of whom were interested. It was late in the afternoon and I decided to call it a day. The bar had a pool table with a couple of guys playing. Now I love playing pool so I laid my quarter on the table to take the next game.
I found myself a stool at the short end of the L-shaped bar closest to the pool table. As my turn came up I called the bartender over and ordered a beer, handing him a $20 bill. I then took my shots on the table whilst keeping an eye on the bar. The bartender placed the beer at my spot and deposited my change next to it. I continued to keep my eye on the bar as I was shooting.
Now there was a young black fellow seated next to me and I saw him reach over and pocket my money. When I finished shooting I walked to the bar, took a swig of my beer, and turned to the guy next to me and flatly said to him while looking him in the eye, "I saw you take me money." Of course he flatly denied it. I repeated myself, flatly and calmly, three times. Each time he denied it. At which point the bartender joined to my defence and told the guy as well, "you took his money." The guy then reached into his pocket, took the money and laid it on the bartop next to me. I turned to the bartender and told him to buy the man a beer.
I continued playing pool as I was on top of my game, did not lose to anyone, and I was thoroughly enjoying myself. The bar began to fill up. Twice I was approached by young black men asking me if I was an undercover cop, to which i replied each time with a smile, "no." When I had my fill of fun I left the bar. And lived to tell the story.
Third story. A short one. When in junior high as an eighth grader, at the tail end of the greaser era, I had some conflict with a seventh grade greaser who thought he could pick on me. Leaving school one day on my way home this seventh grader came chugging out of school after me. He was a tad overweight. I paused to let him approach me and he immediately tried to pick a fight. I am not into violence and so I had no intention of fighting him.
Instead, what I did was reason with him by asking him that if he had a choice would he choose to have a friend or an enemy. I talked a bit more but can't recall what else I said to him. He thought about it and decided he'd rather have a friend. And we did become friends.
Now you might pass off the peaceful results I experienced in these three instances to pure luck. In truth, no luck was involved, as such a thing does not exist in reality. I know, luck certainly appears to have it's own reality. But luck is merely a word invented to explain events for which a rational explanation cannot be found.
So how would I explain the results of my encounters? Easily, yet not so easily. Easily in the sense that I understand quite well the dynamics involved and not so easily as those dynamics are not so well understood by others. Easily if I were to explain them to someone with similar understanding. Not easily if I were to explain them to someone who not only is not familiar with the dynamics but understands them to be otherwise. Understanding the dynamics is quite simple. Yet almost impossible when one holds opposing beliefs as true which then prevent any true understanding of something that is, again, otherwise simple to understand.
For one there is what is called influence. Whilst it is true that no one can control the thoughts and actions of another it is equally true that one can exert influence over another. What is the extent of the power of influence? Whilst no one can say with certainty we do have a clear indicator via the question, "What is propaganda?" Quite powerful, no?
What is intent? It is true to say that we all have this subjective "thing." When does intent pan out and when does it not? What is the dynamic which determines whether intent is fulfilled or not? Might it be beliefs? I would most certainly point my finger in that direction.
So my explanation for my above personal experiences would be that I understood the power of influence and the power of intention. Now I wouldn't say those are the only two ingredients which created my specific outcomes. But they did play heavily in the results.
The influence aspect in all three cases should be clear enough without having to expound further. As to the intent portion of it my overriding intention was never to avoid any violence. Rather it was an intention of peace. Personal peace and, as well, personal safety in these cases.
I'll add to my comment some more insight. There is certainly a divergence of opinion in the world with your view as you expressed it. Which is basically that sometimes quite disgusting action is required to counter the ignoble aims and actions of others, whom you have no control over. And, to be honest, I can't think of any action more disgusting than that of the taking of innocent lives for a perceived "greater good" (certainly, though, not the "greater good" of the victims), passing them off as "acceptable and necessary losses" in order to justify the taking of whatever disgusting actions are deemed "required."
That view is, in my humble opinion, an unimaginative one. Unimaginative in the sense that other solutions do indeed exist, peaceful ones, yet those types of solutions never enter the imagination. And again, that is due in great part to beliefs such as force must be met with force and, I lay blame here to the much taught Christian ethos, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I should mention as well, and importantly, that both of those beliefs generate fear. They both become rooted in fear. Hence the dire imaginative (not necessarily real) scenarios painted and then sold as real. As you suggested, Kissinger averted a potential nuclear conflict!! via his ignoble actions.
What so greatly confounds those who adopt these ideas, these beliefs, is the opposing views of others who believe in the possibility of peace as an achievable reality. Back in the days of Nixon and Kissinger these people were given the term of endearment "bleeding heart liberals." They were ridiculed for their idealism and their refusal to accept the sole reality of eternal violence, as it existed in the limited minds of the antagonists and proponents of war.
You mention a few noble qualities and virtues of mankind such as decency, honour, chivalry, etc. I'd throw in respect for the sanctity of life, which is nowhere to be found in the ideologies of those who lobby for violent measures and wars. Rather, though they understand the concept of sanctity of life quite well and are acutely aware of it, they provide only an endless litany of justifications as an attempt to excuse their blatant disregard for life and, importantly, to avoid any accountability for their choices and actions.
You see, Vigo, the rift between the ideology and beliefs you express and those who desire and believe in peace comes down to idealism. Everyone is an idealist at heart. But there is the idealist and the practicing idealist. The idealist believes any means justify the ends whereas the practicing idealist believes the means never justify the ends. Now I might add that the true definition of fanaticism is precisely one who subscribes to and holds the belief that any means justify the ends. Fanatics will sacrifice everyone and anything, including often times themselves, in pursuit of their ideals. They have what can be called a perverted idealism.
Kissinger was an idealist. He was also a fanatic. And in his fanaticism he did commit abominable crimes.
As we bemoan the passing of this historically nasty sociopath, be aware that he was just one of [too] numerous players of this exclusive club. His death is almost a token to what is still out there.
Most important, today, would be to recognize the current players and do what we can to rid them from our existence....in one fashion or another.
The game is still being played and they're not finished......they're never finished. Unless they're eliminated or removed from their evil influence and puppet strings.