Seabrook Election Results 2022

The Seabrook election results are in. The Town warrant results are in the below document.

Posted in Seabrook | Tagged | Leave a comment

Methuen Dedicates the Quinn Public Safety Building

I had prior done a post on the rededication of the Searles Building as the seat of Methuen’s City Government. Of course the City was moving those operations from its prior municipal building, now known as the Quinn Public Safety Building. The dedication of this building occurred on October 24, 1993 at 2:00 p.m. The building was dedicated in memory of retired Methuen Fire Captain William S. Quinn. Captain Quinn was a wonderful gentleman, and the honor was well deserved. The letter from Town Manager Donald DeSantis inviting the Town Council to this dedication is below.

Posted in Methuen, Methuen City Council | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Look at “The Devil’s Alliance: Hitler’s Pact With Stalin

The Devils’ Alliance: Hitler’s Pact with Stalin, 1939-1941 by Roger Moorhouse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A good time to examine one of the root causes of many years of Soviet/Russian political and military dominance of Eastern Europe. I read this book last year after seeing a tremendous bargain on my Kindle. Well worth the price, with a pretty good overview of what became known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that remains so very controversial to this day.

Author Roger Moorhouse has an entire book to focus on the treaty, how it was arrived at, and the politics involved in the run up to the actual treaty signing. I thought he did a good job, but I expected a little bit more on the treaty, and how the treaty ended up being utilized by each side in advance of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. In light of Hitler’s long history of invective towards Soviet Russia many have just assumed that the German violation of the treaty was baked into the German ideological cake. I have never believed that, although Hitler’s writings made clear his desire to conquer lands to the East. Was there something in the post treaty interactions that led Hitler to his invasion decision beyond ideology?

In all matters of World War II a reliance on William Shirer can help to more fully understand some of the details involved. In this case Shirer’s “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” still is an outstanding help in understanding Hitler and Stalins motivations, and gives us some great details on the treaty interactions after signing. After the Hitler takeover of rump Czechoslovakia (a truly terrible story by itself) the German dictator set his sights on new territorial demands to be made on Poland: The status of Danzig, and the German desire for a extra-territorial “corridor” through Poland to connect East Prussia to Danzig and Germany proper. The western powers, having had their eyes opened by Hitler’s duplicity on the Czech issue, now determined to draw a red line on potential German aggression against the Polish state. When both Britain and France issued “guarantees” to protect the Polish borders Adolph Hitler found himself in a predicament. The British and French made diplomatic efforts to secure Soviet participation in a common front against Germany, but these efforts were so ineffectual as to be counter-productive. The Polish government’s refusal to accede to transit rights for the Red Army to move onto Polish soil to meet an aggression by Germany sealed the fate of any common front against Germany that would include Soviet Russia. With Hitler intent on invading Poland by a date certain he began to entertain the concept of a rapprochement with Russia that would allow him, militarily, to finish off Poland and then turn West. Hitler was in a hurry, and Stalin liked what Hitler had to offer, which was the fate of several states, including Poland, that would now fall into the Soviet “sphere of influence.”

German outreach to the Soviets was reciprocated slowly, but eventually German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop ended up in Moscow to finalize the non-aggression treaty, along with the “secret protocols’”that have been the subject of so much discussion, and denial, by Soviet and Russian governments.

Josef Stalin was a tough and notoriously difficult negotiating partner in the best of circumstances. When he understood the imperative to Germany of concluding a non-aggression treaty in short order he drove an especially difficult bargain.

“Discussion swiftly moved to the essence of the Nazi-Soviet arrangement, the so-called secret protocol by which both parties were to divide the spoils of their collaboration. The initiative came from the Soviet side. Realizing that Hitler was impatient to proceed with his invasion plans for Poland, Stalin sought to extract the maximum possible territorial concession. “Alongside this agreement,” he announced, “there will be an additional agreement that we will not publish anywhere else,” adding that he wanted a clear delineation of “spheres of interest” in central and eastern Europe. Taking his cue, Ribbentrop made his opening offer. “The Führer accepts,” he said, “that the eastern part of Poland and Bessarabia as well as Finland, Estonia and Latvia, up to the river Dvina, will all fall within the Soviet sphere of influence.” This was exceedingly generous, but Stalin was not satisfied and demanded all of Latvia. Ribbentrop stalled. Although he had been given the authority to agree to terms as was necessary, he utilized the negotiating trick of breaking off talks to refer a question to a higher authority. Replying that he could not accede to the Soviet demand for Latvia without consulting Hitler, he asked that the meeting be adjourned while a call was made to Germany.”

Moorhouse, Roger. The Devils’ Alliance . Basic Books. Kindle Edition.


Hitler, after consulting a map, quickly acceded to Latvia falling into the Soviet “sphere.” The conclusion of the treaty was a source of great relief to Hitler, who now felt free from the potential of a two-front war. The Germans launched their invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, and achieved rapid military success. In light of that success Josef Stalin, looking to get his share of the spoils, invaded Poland from the East. This action, regardless of historical revisionism, was one of the most cynical acts of the war.

At 3 a.m. that morning the Polish ambassador in Moscow, Wacław Grzybowski, was summoned to the Kremlin, where he was presented with a note from the Soviet government outlining the grounds for its intervention. As if to emphasize the impossibility of Poland’s predicament, the note itself had been drawn up jointly by the Soviets and the German ambassador in Moscow, Friedrich-Werner von der Schulenburg. It claimed, “The Polish government has disintegrated,” and “the Polish state no longer exists.” Given this apparent collapse, it went on, “the Soviet government cannot remain indifferent at a time when brothers of the same blood, the Ukrainians and the Byelorussians, residing on the Polish territory have been abandoned to their fate.” Consequently, the Red Army had been ordered to “cross the border and take under their protection the lives and property of the inhabitants of Western Ukraine and Western Byelorussia.” By “Western Ukraine” and “Western Byelorussia,” the note meant eastern Poland.

Moorhouse, Roger. The Devils’ Alliance . Basic Books. Kindle Edition.


At this key point the non-aggression pact appeared to be working to further the interests of the Soviets and Germans, but there were the seeds of tension nonetheless. The Germans dutifully turned over Polish territory to the Soviets in accordance with their treaty obligations, and Poland was effectively dismembered. But it was not only Hitler who had large territorial ambitions. Josef Stalin, with attention focused on Hitler, began to make demands on his peaceful neighbors that fell into his “sphere of influence.” Estonia was first, but not the last. The Estonian Foreign Minister Karl Selter was greeted in Moscow by Molotov, with an assist from Stalin, who made it quite clear that unless a “mutual assistance” pact was concluded there would be ominous repercussions for Estonia.

In response to Selter’s protestations of his country’s innocence in the affair, Molotov called upon Stalin himself to join the discussion. The Soviet leader showed his avuncular side upon entering the room soon after, joking with the Estonians, but he quickly got down to business. Once apprised of the essentials, he stated ominously, “What is there to argue about? Our proposal stands and that must be understood.” What passed for negotiations continued for the next couple hours, the Soviets insisting on placing 35,000 Red Army troops in Estonia to “protect order” and demanding a base in Tallinn itself, and the Estonians desperately trying to resist while sticking to the diplomatic niceties that their opponents had long since abandoned. Browbeaten, berated, and bullied, the Estonian delegates returned the following day having decided that they had no choice but to yield. Yet, with Ribbentrop waiting in the wings, they were again met with additional demands and the threat that “other possibilities” existed for ensuring Soviet security. The mutual assistance pact was finally signed at midnight on September 28 and ratified by the Estonian president a week later. Nominally, the treaty obliged both parties to respect each other’s independence; yet, by allowing for the establishment of Soviet military bases on Estonian soil, it fatally undermined Estonian sovereignty. Estonia was effectively at Stalin’s mercy.

Moorhouse, Roger. The Devils’ Alliance . Basic Books. Kindle Edition.



Hitler had used similar tactics in his meetings with unfortunate Presidents and Foreign Ministers of target countries, but Josef Stalin needed no lessons on this score. Similar tactics were used against Latvia and Lithuania, with Stalin effectively gobbling up the Baltic states. Those states appealed to Germany for help, but Hitler turned a deaf ear to their pleas. Despite that fact the Germans were not entirely comfortable with Stalin’s aggressive moves.

Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, himself born in Tallinn, was clear on the potential consequences, confiding to his diary, “If the Russians now march into the Baltic States, then the Baltic Sea will be strategically lost to us. Moscow will be more powerful than ever.”

Moorhouse, Roger. The Devils’ Alliance . Basic Books. Kindle Edition.


In addition to the geopolitical issues there existed a heavy Germanic population in the Baltics that brought political pressure to bear on Hitler. (Yes, Hitler was concerned with German public opinion.) Stalin was not quite done, issuing an ultimatum to Romania over the province of Bessarabia, which Stalin occupied shortly thereafter. He occupied a bit more than the Germans had bargained away in the treaty, and was coming perilously close to Romanian oil fields which were essential for fueling the Nazi war machine. Hitler was appalled, and took measures to protect those oil fields, and what was left of Romania itself. The tension with Soviet Russia had begun, and although Hitler always had an attack on the Soviet Union on the German menu of military options it is my belief that the tensions that started with Romania would ultimately lead Hitler to decide that hostilities with Russia could not be avoided. The Molotov visit to Berlin to discuss some of these issues, in which he directly challenged Hitler in a face to face meeting over Romania, as well as German use of Finland for troop transit, and how to properly divide the geographic spoils of war, did not go well. Hitler’s not so veiled warning to Molotov during that discussion showed that Ribbentrop was not the only dense Foreign Minister in the room. In discussing the status of Finland Hitler, in stark terms, warned Molotov that there must not be a war launched in the Baltics, describing such a possibility as having the potential to create a heavy strain on Soviet-German relations that could have “unforeseen consequences.”

Moorhouse gives us detail on the brutality of the Polish invasion by both Hitler and Stalin, and of the difficulty Stalin had in explaining the pact to communists all over the world, who detested Hitler.

In light of the Soviet aggression against Poland and the Baltic states the question has arisen as to how Stalin got a pass on his actions while the West determined to stop German aggression. The answer is simply that the British and French identified Germany as the greater threat, and took steps to “keep the Soviet Union in play,” refusing to extend the guarantee of Polish borders to potential aggression by the Soviet Union.


Although Whitehall was aware that, in the aftermath of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, the Poles might be reckoning with a Soviet invasion as well as a Nazi one, the guarantee was not extended to include aggression by Moscow. The British Foreign Office viewed the pact as a fundamentally unnatural arrangement, and so—expecting it to prove temporary—was unwilling to close off a potentially vital link to the USSR by prematurely making her an enemy. Thus, though the treaty mentioned only aggression by an unspecified “European Power,” it was appended by a secret protocol, similarly signed by both parties, which provided clarity. By “European Power,” the protocol explained, the signatory parties understood “Germany,” and in the event of aggression by any other power, they resolved only to “consult together” on their response.

Moorhouse, Roger. The Devils’ Alliance . Basic Books. Kindle Edition.


The Devil’s pact ended badly for both Germany and the Soviet Union, with Hitler launching his invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. But as the world deals today with a revanchist Russia it is clear that the territorial demands of Russia are influenced by the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and its secret protocols. Utilization of the Stalin methodology of dealing with weaker neighboring states is still part of the Russian playbook, as evidenced by the brutal invasion of Ukraine. This book is not new but brings back a truly terrible point in history. We should never forget the lessons of that period.

Putin Blames Poland for World War II

Putin Seeks Rehabilitation of Soviet-Nazi Pact





View all my reviews

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Methuen City Government Moves to the Searles

On October 5, 1993 the Town Manager, and former Chief of Police, Donald DeSantis, invited the Town Council to the rededication of the Searles Building as the Seat of Government in Methuen, which occurred on October 17. In looking over some old documents I have found that original invite, which is posted below. Donald DeSantis was a very important person in the history of Methuen, serving as both Chief of Police and Town Manager before the charter was changed to a mayoral form. He was a man of strength and integrity, and I think of him, and the things I learned from him, often.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Look at The Afghanistan Papers by Craig Whitlock

The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War by Craig Whitlock

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Another long term military commitment for the United States, and another large scale failure. After Vietnam the idea that we could commit the same errors, engage in the same type of deceptions, and continue a war based on those deceptions, would not seem possible. Craig Whitlock, in the Afghanistan Papers, pulls the curtain down on the mess that the U.S. made out of this war.

Lessons Learned

Whitlock has gotten to the files of a U.S. government project called Lessons Learned, run by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) that contained interviews with many of the principals involved in policy formulation, as well as with the personnel responsible for developing the military strategies. The resulting work product was not pretty, and like the Pentagon Papers provided a damning view of how the war was conducted, the failure to come to grips with reality, the total deception used to justify continuing it, and the massive failure of the political leadership, from both parties, to confront the nonsense that was put forward by the military. Over the course of decades the Vietnam analogy has been overused, but not in this case. The similarities are eerie.

President George W. Bush, with near unanimous political and public support, launched military action in Afghanistan to root out al-Qaeda and topple the Taliban. That is the mission that earned him such political support, and with the initial military success the effort seemed to be on solid ground. But the seeds of the eventual disaster were formed there.

“Speaking confidentially years later to government interviewers, many U.S. officials who played a key role in the war offered harsh judgements about the decision making during the conflict’s early stages. They said the war’s goal and objectives soon veered off into directions that had little to do with 9/11. They also admitted that Washington struggled to define with precision what it was hoping to accomplish in a country that most U.S. officials did not understand. “

The Afghanistan Papers. A Secret History of the War. Whitlock, Craig page 7

Mission creep. And mission creep without a plan. A recipe for disaster. So how did this extension of the original concept come to be? Stephen Hadley, Deputy National Security Advisor in the Bush Administration:

“ ‘We originally said that we don’t do nation-building but there is no way to ensure that al-Qaeda won’t come back without it,’ Hadley said to a Lessons Learned interview. ‘[We] did not want to become occupiers or to overwhelm the Afghans. But once the Taliban was flushed, we did not want to throw that progress away.’ “

The Afghanistan Papers. A Secret History of the War. Whitlock, Craig page 14

So the Administration that had vehemently criticized “nation building” now determined that there was no alternative to that very concept. Of course the American record on nation building, after the efforts with the defeated Axis powers post World War II, has been abysmal. This effort, kept up through multiple administrations, turned out to be a massive failure. Whitlock gives us some parts of the effort, like the poppy eradication program, that were so inept that clever Afghan farmers managed to get paid for destroying poppy acreage after they had cultivated, thereby doubling their income. Richard Holbrooke, who would get a chance in Afghanistan, said of the Bush Administration poppy eradication program:

“…. the emphasis on eradication ‘may be the single most ineffective program in the history of American foreign policy.’ ‘It’s not just a waste of money. It actually strengthens the Taliban and al-Qaeda,’ Holbrooke wrote.”

The Afghanistan Papers. A Secret History of the War. Whitlock, Craig page 141

There was a revolving door of U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan, all of whom always expressed optimism about the prospects for victory, without defining what victory meant. With the start of the Obama Administration Defense Secretary Bob Gates dismissed one of those commanders, Get. David McKiernan, citing the need for a new direction.
McKiernan, in his last press conference as NATO and U.S. commander, from the book:

“McKiernan described the war as ‘stalemated’ in the south and ‘a very tough fight’ in the east. Hours later, at a private dinner at military headquarters, Gates told him he was done.”

The Afghanistan Papers. A Secret History of the War. Whitlock, Craig page 147

As soon as we got a bit of honesty from a war commander that general was cashiered. Whether that was the reason for the sacking may never be known but the message was sent nonetheless. After this sacking General Stanley McChrystal took over as commander, with General David Petraeus as his boss. They unveiled a counter-insurgency plan that would require a substantial infusion of new troops to undertake. McChrystal is a major talent, but his prescription had major flaws, and was undercut by a public announcement, from President Obama, that the “surge” would end by a date certain. The ability, surge or not, to win over the Afghan people was just not there, and while they were happy to take in all the cash being thrown at them, the American effort was simply inept, and never came close to achieving the goal of winning over the people of Afghanistan.

The American effort, as in Vietnam, was infused with an ignorance of the country that we were seeking to “help.” Like the government of South Vietnam the Afghan government of Hamid Karzai was riddled with corruption, and could not project military power beyond Kabul. Our ignorance of the tribal system in Afghanistan, and our belief that we could convert Afghanistan into a western style democracy was borne of the same hubris that led to disaster in Vietnam. Finally, as in Iraq, our understanding of the regional relationships between the nations in the neighborhood appeared to be non-existent. Our total failure with Pakistan, who was receiving major military and financial assistance from the U.S. while providing border sanctuary and some political support to the Taliban, is but one aspect of the total failure of American diplomacy.

Is this method of operation just baked into the American cake? I hope not, but the record is not impressive. Whitlock gives an excellent view of the 20 year failure of American policy in Afghanistan, with the words of the participants providing the evidence not only of failure, but of the deception that helped to create that failure.



View all my reviews

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Seabrook 2022 Warrant

The Seabrook Board of Selectmen have finalized the 2022 Warrant in advance of the Town Deliberative Session on February 8, 2022. The 2022 Warrant is posted below. Thanks to the Board of Selectmen, all of the Department Heads, and the Budget Committee for all of their hard work.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Rep. Campbell Steps Down

State Representative Linda Dean Campbell has announced that she is not going to stand for re-election. Rep. Campbell will have served eight terms in the House of Representatives at the conclusion of this term. I had the pleasure of serving with her on the Methuen City Council, where she was the West District Councilor for six years.

Rep. Campbell has served her district well, and that service is reflected in her never losing an election, either as a candidate for Representative, or as a candidate for City Council. As the Mayor I filed the necessary applications for the Methuen High School Project, and as Methuen’s Representative Linda Campbell was instrumental in delivering the state aid that made that project possible. Rep. Campbell joined myself and Senator Baddour as we toured the City, bringing informational meetings to all of the City’s districts to build support for the financing for the project.

Rep. Campbell has been a strong voice, and a real leader, in filing legislation to correct the terrible tragedy that happened at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. When it came to Veteran’s issues there was no stronger voice than Campbell, herself a veteran of the U.S. Army, and a paratrooper. Her press release is below. We will miss her, and her dedicated public service. I am quite sure that she will not appreciate the pictures I have placed below, showing her over the years. Congratulations and best wishes to Rep. Linda Dean Campbell.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Look at Master of the Game by Martin Indyk

Master of the Game: Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy by Martin S. Indyk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Martin Indyk has written a fascinating book on the diplomatic efforts undertaken by Henry Kissinger in the Middle East after the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War. Indyk comes to this effort with huge credentials of his own, having served as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, and President Obama’s special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian talks in 2013-2014. It is quite clear that Indyk has a huge amount of respect for Kissinger but in my view that respect did not prevent him from giving a balanced view of Kissinger’s work on the seemingly impossible problems presented by the outbreak of war between Israel and Egypt and Syria.

Of all the books I read in 2021, a good year for books, this might be the best. That opinion comes not only from the book giving us a great historical look at the monumental diplomatic effort undertaken by Kissinger, but by Indyk’s insights into Kissinger’s true diplomatic objectives, which were not always what they appeared to be. Kissinger’s goals were ambitious, and of course those goals were not always shared with his diplomatic partners. Indyk was afforded access to Kissinger for this book, along with historical documents, so he is in a great position to bring to us some of the less visible objectives of Kissinger.

Kissinger’s diplomacy is often referred to as coming from a “realist” perspective. Realpolitik and Kissinger are mentioned together often, but it is simply an incomplete idea of Kissinger’s underlying philosophy. No work on Kissinger can ignore the influence of Prince Clemens von Metternich, the architect of the Congress of Vienna and a model for Kissinger’s diplomatic ideology. We get a real look at that ideology courtesy of both Indyk and Kissinger:

“As we shall see , he would consistently shy away from aiming for peace treaties, instead seeking agreements that would give all sides a stake in preserving the existing order. As he told me decades later, ‘I never thought there could be a moment of universal reconciliation.’ Kissinger’s skepticism first found expression in the subtitle he chose for A World Restored. It was Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace. The fact that after years of deep research and contemplation he concluded that peace was problematic would have a formative influence on his approach to peacemaking in the Middle East. On the first page of the introduction to A World Restored, Kissinger explains why, ‘[T]he attainment of peace,’ he writes, ‘is not as easy as the desire for it.’ He asserts that eras like the period he had studied turned out, paradoxically, to be most peaceful because the statesmen involved were least in search of peace. In his analysis, peace was abstract and reversible. What mattered more was an absence of war, produced by the combination of ‘legitimacy’ and ‘equilibrium.’ Clemens Von Metternich, the foreign minister of the Austrian Emperor Francis I, was one of his role models in this respect. While Metternich’s Emperor believed that ‘peace, lasting peace is the most desirable goal of any decent man’ what he sought was stability, not the realization of theoretical ideals. And that is what Kissinger would seek too when he had the opportunity.”

Master of the Game Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy. Indyk, Martin p 31-32

Stability, preservation of order, and equilibrium. Those goals, as interpreted by Kissinger, would drive his diplomacy.

The Yom Kippur War caught both the State of Israel, and Henry Kissinger by surprise. That surprise led to initial military success for Egypt and Syria against Israel, and forced President Nixon and Kissinger to order a massive military resupply effort for Israel. The State of Israel turned the military tide, erasing the initial success of Egypt and Syria, going on the military offensive, and springing Kissinger into the shuttle diplomacy that Indyk chronicles so well in this book. We see some of the biggest historical figures in the Middle East, including Golda Meir, Anwar Sadat, Hafez al-Assad, Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak, and so many others. Indyk, while highly respectful of Kissinger, pointed out Kissinger’s initial error in the run-up to the Yom Kippur War. Sadat, after taking over from Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt, had given strong signals that the status quo ante was not satisfactory. Kissinger took these signals lightly:

“I thought [Sadat] was a clown… We all used to think sending the Russians out was a dumb thing; he got nothing for it. In the whole context, it was not such a bad strategy.”

Master of the Game Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy. Indyk, Martin p 77

Kissinger’s efforts centered not only around getting the combatants to stop their military operations, but negotiating agreements that got down to maps with very little acreage causing major disagreements with strong willed negotiating partners. As Kissinger began a three year process of shuttle diplomacy he was not only dealing with cease fire issues but using the crisis to marginalize the influence of the Soviet Union in the Middle East. He did this all the while “including” the Soviets in a nominal peace process that was an effective dead end. The real diplomatic activity was centered on Kissinger and what agreements he was able to put together.

Kissinger’s brilliance is often times, in my opinion, a problem for him. He came to have an understanding of minutiae involved in the government to government negotiations, including the mapping so critical to the disengagement negotiations. His construct of where he wanted all parties to end up diplomatically was solid, and based on outstanding understanding of all the issues involved. But in order to get to the desired spot all parties had to swallow some bitter medicine, which they were all reluctant to do. In those instances Kissinger deployed tactics that were tough, including some pretty rough treatment of the Israeli leadership. He brought the parties to where he wanted them to go, and maybe to where it was in their interests to be, but their trust in him was often times bruised by the necessities of diplomacy, including Kissinger’s subterfuges.

As mentioned above it was never Kissinger’s goal to achieve a “comprehensive” solution to the difficult problems of the Middle East. He sought to, and achieved, measures that set boundaries, political and military, that restored stability, equilibrium, and order, giving all parties involved a stake in continuing to avoid war, and to respect the established boundaries. Kissinger’s achievements here are not without fault, but on balance they were significant, and advanced the interests of the United States, and protected the State of Israel from potential disaster. It must be pointed out that Kissinger undertook the Middle Eastern diplomatic effort while serving a President, Richard Nixon, who was becoming engulfed in a political scandal that would consume his Presidency, and create a desire by Nixon to get political mileage out of Kissinger’s efforts, undercutting Kissinger at some key times. He was engaged in a political turf war with Nixon’s Secretary of State William Rodgers, with whom Kissinger had major disagreements with on the direction of U.S. policy in the Middle East. Kissinger carefully had to calibrate how tough he could be with the Israeli leadership, who were not afraid to turn up domestic political heat on Nixon and Kissinger when the going got especially difficult. He was dealing with the final negotiations on the Vietnam war, as well as a multitude of other serious crisis in the world. His success in the Middle East is a testament to not only his skills as a diplomat, but his unrivaled willingness to work around the clock.

Issuing praise of Kissinger, even today, can be a difficult thing. After many years he remains a figure reviled in many quarters. The review of this book in the New York Times by Jeremy Suri gives an indication of how hard praise is. Kissinger’s construction of a new Middle Eastern order out of the chaos of the Yom Kippur War is acknowledged, but Suri casts doubt on the positive benefits to the United States “in the long run.” Many of the breakdowns in the Middle East that occurred after Kissinger left are indirectly laid at his feet. That criticism, in my view, is nonsensical. It might be said that the Presidents that succeeded Nixon had less diplomatic success than Kissinger in the Middle East, but that cannot be laid at his feet. Like those that blame the Nixon/Kissinger opening to China for the rise of China as a major competitor to the United States that criticism seems based on misunderstanding the fundamental basis for both policies.

Indyk does offer criticism that to me seems to resonate. Kissinger’s fundamental misreading of the initial diplomatic thrust of Anwar Sadat before he launched the Yom Kippur War is detailed. A longer term impact criticism is Kissinger’s ignoring the potential for a Palestinian settlement with Israel that would have Palestinian aspirations met by a confederation with Jordan.

“Jordan and the PLO were relegated to minor roles in Kissinger’s design because their limited power denied them the ability to disrupt the new order. Therefore, by his calculation, their grievances did not need to be satisfied. Jordan was already in the American camp when Kissinger began to engage in Middle Eastern diplomacy, and King Hussein was effectively dependent for his regime’s survival on the United States and Israel. That was demonstrated in the 1970 Jordan crisis when they acted effectively together to pressure Syria to end its intervention there. Because of that assessment, Kissinger missed the role Jordan might have played in containing and eventually resolving the Palestinian problem in the framework of an existing, functioning state. “

Master of the Game Henry Kissinger and the Art of Middle East Diplomacy. Indyk, Martin p 554

Indyk has presented a fantastic book that recognizes the massive effort, and largely successful diplomatic effort of Henry Kissinger in the Middle East. Kissinger badly outplayed the Soviets in this effort, and that success provided a tangible, and immediate, victory for the interests of the United States (and Israel.) This book offers really great detail, and is sourced impeccably, and does bring a greater understanding of the intricacies of Middle Eastern diplomacy. Highly recommended.


Immanuel Kant: Perpetual Peace



View all my reviews

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Seabrook 2022 CIP

The Seabrook 2022 CIP has been presented to the Board of Selectmen, the Budget Committee and the Planning Board. I have submitted the analysis of prior capital spending in Seabrook to help us understand where capital dollars are going, and how we are financing capital spending in Seabrook. Thanks to our Department Heads for all of their work, and to Shaylia Wood for her assistance on the 2022 CIP.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Seabrook Wastewater Plant Resiliency Study

The Seabrook Board of Selectmen authorized a study on climate resiliency at the Seabrook Wastewater Plant, which was unveiled on a recent visit to the Plant by Congressman Pappas. This project was funded by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management in conjunction with New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Coastal Program.

The goal of the study was, in the most basic terms, to identify the vulnerabilities of the plant to climate based sea level rise. We have also identified plant “hardening” measures that can be taken to mitigate the very real and severe challenges faced in the runup to 2050. The recommendations will inform Seabrook’s capital planning in the wastewater department.

I am appreciative of the work of Curtis Slayton, Sewer and Water Superintendent, and Daumanic Fucile, Chief Sewer Operator. My thanks to Weston and Sampson for their fine work on this project as well.

Posted in Resiliency, Seabrook | Tagged , | Leave a comment