I feel about Henry Kissinger the way Edmund Burke felt about Warren Hastings

I feel about Henry Kissinger the way Edmund Burke felt about Warren Hastings:

We charge this Offender with…nothing, that does not argue a total extinction of all moral principle; that does not manifest an inveterate blackness of heart, died in grain with malice, vitiated, corrupted, gangrened to the very core….We charge him with nothing, that he did not commit upon deliberation;…They were crimes, not against forms, but against those eternal laws of justice….

…We have brought before you the Chief of the tribe, the Head of the whole body of Eastern offenders; a Captain-general of iniquity, under whom all the fraud, all the peculation, all the tyranny, in India, are embodied, disciplined, arrayed, and paid. This is the person, my Lords, that we bring before you. We have brought before you such a person, that, if you strike at him with the firm and decided arm of justice, you will not have need of a great many more examples. You strike at the whole corps, if you strike at the head.

There might have been a time in the American empire when that last bit was true of Kissinger. Sadly, no more.


  1. Agog September 12, 2013 at 4:36 am | #

    Hastings was of course a faithful, honest, and valuable servant to his country and was never convicted of any crime.

  2. bevin September 12, 2013 at 9:38 pm | #

    He was a servant of the East India Company. To call him honest is to say something which is not immediately evident. His actions were analysed at great length during the impeachment proceedings. On the face of it they would suggest that if he was honest,the common understanding of the word needs amendment.

    As to his value to “his country” which I take to mean England, or the UK, without Ireland, it is by no means certain that the people of England did not suffer more from the imperial connection with India than they gained by it. Hastings certainly proved to be a valuable servant of certain interest groups in society which came to be dominant.

    It would be uncontroversial however to say that Hastings was a plunderer of India and the father of famines. The world would have been a better place if he had never been in Calcutta.
    Still, like Mr Kissinger he was never convicted of the crimes he committed.

Leave a Reply