Kissinger: Jews in Gas Chambers MAYBE Humanitarian Concern

If the Soviets had put Jews into gas chambers, it would have been a pity.

Jeffrey Goldberg breaks into his Sabbath to bring us this gem from the Nixon Administration:

“The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy,” Mr. Kissinger said. “And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern.”

“I know,” Nixon responded. “We can’t blow up the world because of it.”

Now, as a matter of grand strategy, this happens to be absolutely correct.  Indeed, it’s a rather classic statement of Realpolitik of the type for which Kissinger is famous.

But, damn, it’s a callous conversation.  Even though we wouldn’t risk thermonuclear annihilation over it, mass murder would an “an American concern.”  And there’s no “maybe” as to whether it would be “a humanitarian concern.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. One imagines similar conversations in the Roosevelt White House in the 1940s

  2. Don L says:

    And as such, mass murder can never be allowed to include those millions of innocent pre-borns we slaughter and now export the money for others to do it, all the while calling it a good thing – choice

    .”Choice” or the “final solution” are just code words. It remains man”s greatest flaw to do such grave evil, whle insisting with absolute pride and certainty, that it is a good thing.

  3. TG Chicago says:

    I assume what he meant by “not an American concern” was that it wasn’t vital to America’s national security or anything. The “maybe” in front of “humanitarian concern” is odd, but I doubt it was intended literally – it was more of a rhetorical device.

    I’m not a fan of Kissinger’s, but I can’t get worked up over this.

  4. Franklin says:

    The “maybe” in front of “humanitarian concern” is odd, but I doubt it was intended literally – it was more of a rhetorical device.

    Life would not be pleasant if people analyzed every single word choice I made in informal, supposedly private conversation.

  5. Jeff Dunetz says:

    Kissinger was not as callous as he seemed nor is he as good as others say.

    Just Like Today,In History Nothing is Ever As It Seems-Anti-Semitic Nixon Tapes Released

  6. DavidL says:

    What Nixon and Kissinger was trading were private thought never meant for public consumption. LIke making sausage, politics is often not pretty. I really doubt that the conversation inside the Nixon Oval office are all that much different from what other presidents and their aides said that also was never meant for publication.