Author Gary Bass Examines Cold War Foreign Policy In Asia

Jan 16, 2015

This interview was originally broadcast in May of 2014.

It’s no secret that the zero-sum game of Cold War politics often led U.S. policymakers into global alliances that had more to do with anti-communist expediency than lofty democratic ideals. One relatively unknown Cold War episode involves the 1971 atrocities against the Hindus of Bangladesh that led to war between India and a U.S.-supported military dictatorship in Pakistan.

In his book, "The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide," Gary J. Bass reveals unsettling new details about Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger’s patronage of the anti-Soviet military dictatorship in Pakistan.

Eager for Pakistan’s help with opening U.S. relations with China, Nixon and Kissinger aided Pakistan’s unsuccessful, but brutal, crackdown in what would become Bangladesh. The result was hundreds of thousands of people killed and the flight of ten million refugees to nearby India.

"The Blood Telegram" was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction and won the Lionel Gelber prize.

Gary J. Bass is a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. A former reporter for The Economist, he often writes for The New York Times and for many other national newspapers and magazines. His other books include "Freedom’s Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention" and "Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals."

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