Home Bangladesh Goodbye to Kissinger New innings to Haas
Bangladesh - December 2, 2023

Goodbye to Kissinger New innings to Haas

Farhad Chowdhury: The famous former US Secretary of State diplomat Henry Kissinger has to taste death in Pakka Shatayu. Kissinger was the Secretary of State of former US President Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. His name is associated with the controversial comment of calling Bangladesh a “bottomless basket” during the Liberation War. On December 6, 1971, this topic was raised in the meeting on the situation in South Asia in Washington. When former US Ambassador to Japan Alexis Johnson made that much-discussed comment, then US Security Adviser Henry Kissinger agreed. But the statement was established in Kissinger’s name. He was widely criticized for his silence on the atrocities of the Pakistani forces in East Bengal, the expansion of the Vietnam War in Cambodia and Laos, and his support for military coups in Chile and Argentina. He is considered a symbol of American diplomacy in the post-World War II period.

Kissinger did the last thing behind the scenes by re-aligning America’s relationship with China. In 1971, it was he who visited Peking to establish US diplomatic relations with China in great secrecy. In that context, President Nixon went to China and met with Mao Tse Tung, starting a new diplomatic activity. HuffPost, a progressive American news website, published a side report on Kissinger following the news of his death. It has come up in 1971 to move the diplomat Archer Blood from Dhaka. Titled ‘Tukhor’ Foreign Minister, not infamous ‘War Criminal’. US diplomat Archer Blood was US Consul General in Dhaka in 1971. He sent diplomatic messages to Washington detailing Pakistani atrocities in Bangladesh. Archer Blood said in a diplomatic message, Pakistan is systematically exterminating Bangladeshis by dispossessing them, shooting them. A month later, Archer Blood sent another telegram to Washington. He accused the United States of showing moral bankruptcy for refusing to condemn or try to control violent repression in East Pakistan. “Our government has failed to condemn the suppression of democracy,” Archer Blood said in a telegram. Our government has failed to condemn the atrocities.’
Shortly after sending such a memo about Pakistan, Archer Blood was taken back from Dhaka to Washington. He was assigned another diplomatic post in Washington by then US President Richard Nixon and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. According to HuffPost’s report, Kissinger, the once prominent figure in US foreign policy, played a role in the deaths of millions of people around the world. But he never regretted his decision. Kissinger has been accused of expanding the Vietnam War into Cambodia and Laos, supporting military coups in Chile and Argentina, supporting Indonesia’s bloody 1975 campaign in East Timor, and turning a blind eye to widespread atrocities by Pakistani forces during the Bangladesh War of Independence. However, he did not have to face the trial even though he was called the ‘artisan’ of war-conflict in various parts of the world.
The relations of independent Bangladesh with the United States have been developed in various ways by following the curve of world diplomacy. Sometimes there is deterioration. At this time, it is extremely hostile. Relationship swings. Winter has started in nature. The season to cross the Atlantic by making a 20-hour journey is also coming. The Tok-Jhal-Mitha movement on the streets is a different situation compared to the US sanctions-visa policy. Ambassador Peter de Haas is the name discussed in the current events in the politics of Bangladesh. Kissinger and Haas are not the same stage. Foreign Minister and Ambassador, a wide gap in importance-distance. There is no connection between Haas’ activities in the Bangladesh region and Kissinger’s departure from the United States. Still relevant to circumstances and events.
There have been various speculations about US Ambassador Peter Haas in Bangladesh politics for years. The busyness is endless. Till the announcement of the schedule of the elections, he went on a vacation to Sri Lanka with the agenda of fair and free elections. Going doesn’t mean leaving. At that time there were rumors about him. Mission failed, summons to Washington, withdrawal, etc. are also mentioned. Returned from Sri Lanka after a week and a half. He did not move anywhere for two or three days after returning to Dhaka. But there is no information that he was ineffective. His formal activities took place on Thursday at the Rashtriya Guest House Padma. He had a meeting with Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen for an hour there. However, neither the Foreign Secretary nor Peter Haas said anything about the meeting. According to the Facebook page of the Bangladesh Embassy of the United States, this is a regular routine meeting on the ongoing development of bilateral relations. The concept of diplomatic circles, upcoming elections, labor rights policy, human rights may be discussed in the meeting. Among these is the renegotiated labor rights policy.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh embassy has warned the government about possible sanctions. Bangladesh could be one of the ‘targets’ for tougher measures such as sanctions, trade penalties and visa restrictions threatened by the US presidential memorandum on labor rights, warning the country’s mission in Washington. Although this order of labor rights applies globally, Bangladesh is a special target. A week of labor unrest in the garment industry demanding higher wages and subsequent violent clashes with police that left at least four workers dead prompted the Bangladesh embassy in Washington to raise the issue. The mission felt the US President’s mid-November memorandum could also touch Bangladesh, explaining it as a ‘signal’ of possible action. In a letter sent to the Ministry of Commerce on November 20, the embassy noted-the Secretary of State and the Labor Secretary spoke strongly on the labor issues of Bangladesh at the MoU launch. The diplomatic mission had earlier warned that the government should take note of the memorandum to avoid any possible consequences for the country’s garment industry. As explained in the diplomatic note, the MoU may also affect Bangladesh’s garment sector and should be taken into consideration on a priority basis by the relevant stakeholders.
A few other samples are circulating, including the letter “America is not backing down, Peter Haas is not giving up.” There is also wheezing. In detailing the memorandum, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned that sanctions, trade sanctions and visa bans would be imposed on individuals who threaten, intimidate or attack labor-union leaders, labor-rights activists and trade unions. Blinken cites the example of Kalpana Akhtar, a Bangladeshi garment worker-turned-rights activist, whom she credits for surviving US intervention. The US is Bangladesh’s single largest apparel buyer. Despite a year-on-year decline of more than 23 percent, Bangladeshi garment exports earned the country $5.77 billion in the first nine months of 2023. Apart from Blinken’s specific mention of Bangladeshi labor leaders and possible adverse effects on garment exports, the Bangladesh Mission expressed concern about the ‘political context’ of the memorandum. The description of labor rights in the memorandum is full of politics and diplomacy.
Since the Democratic Biden administration took office in 2021, Washington has become more vocal in promoting democracy and human rights issues around the world. In December 2021, the United States imposed sanctions on the RAB and its top officials, citing human rights violations and extrajudicial killings. Ahead of Bangladesh’s national elections in the first week of January 2024, the US has also been urging the government to ensure free and fair elections. This year’s announcement-imposing visa restrictions on people who obstruct fair elections. Keeping the issue of human rights, election fresh, now the issue is trade embargo. The letter to the commerce ministry warned that the memorandum was a “red signal” for Bangladesh.
USA is Bangladesh’s largest export market. Total exports in the last financial year were about 9.75 billion US dollars. Don’t have election ties to labor-garments, don’t tie Kissinger’s death and Haas events; The US has got Bangladesh-that’s the bottom line. The way the United States sees Bangladeshi garments or a Kalpana Akhtar, there is a worse situation in the country. Labor rights are not discussed especially in African countries. There is only one trade union in Vietnam. It is also under the control of the Vietnamese government. The US also trades with other countries that are not democracies. Nor are labor rights an issue. Instead, one-party rule is going on. The United States, the European Union are not going that way. Their special eyes are on Bangladesh. The role of the United Nations is no exception. They said they will not send any observers to the upcoming elections. There are some human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch. In 1971 Nixon, Blinken, and Hass did not even look at it.

Check Also

No immediate solution over Teesta water deal

Mamata expressed her displeasure Asifiqbal Thakoor, Delhi: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheik…