Synopses & Reviews
Analysing US foreign policy towards Angola during the Ford administration 1974-1976, this book provides an intriguing insight into one of the most avoidable and unfortunate episodes in Cold War history and explores the impact on Henry Kissinger's much vaunted reputation for being guided by realist principles.
Kissinger has dominated political discourse and scholarship on US foreign policy, but although his legacy continues to generate controversy, there has been little attention paid to the influence of Vietnam's collapse on the US decision to covertly intervene in the Angolan civil war. This book argues that Kissinger's concern for personal reputation and US credibility following the collapse of Vietnam led to a harmful and unrealistic policy toward Angola that risking dragging the US into a quagmire where its interests were limited. The subsequent exposure of US intervention exacerbated domestic and international political tensions, creating the very problem that Kissinger sought to initially avoid. Thus, it is argued that Kissinger was an 'unintentional realist' rather than an intellectual proponent of realpolitik.
Enhancing our understanding of Kissinger, his relationship with his subordinates, and how the spectre of Vietnam was crucial in negating his supposedly realist approach to foreign policy, this book will be of interest to scholars of Cold War history, US foreign policy and all those fascinated by the personality of Henry Kissinger.