Gary Bass: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Bangladesh Genocide

This is an Archive of a Past Event

Gary J. Bass shows how Nixon and Kissinger supported Pakistan’s military dictatorship as it brutally quashed the results of a historic free election. The Pakistani army launched a crackdown on what was then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), killing hundreds of thousands of people and sending ten million refugees fleeing to India — one of the worst humanitarian crises of the twentieth century. Driven not just by Cold War realpolitik but by a bitter personal dislike of India and its leader Indira Gandhi, they silenced American officials who dared to speak up, secretly encouraged China to mass troops on the Indian border, and illegally supplied weapons to the Pakistani military — an overlooked scandal that presages Watergate. 

Gary J. Bass is the author of Freedom's Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention andStay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals. He is a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University. A former reporter for The Economist, he has written often for the New York Times, and has also written for The New Yorker, theWashington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Slate, and other publications.