SO now the eulogies flow from the great and the good extolling the virtues of that "towering statesman" Henry Kissinger ("Infamous plots of Nobel peace laureate Kissinger", The Herald, December 1). One can’t help but be sickened by the sycophancy and hypocrisy displayed by those who really should know better. With no sense of irony Tony Blair fawns that Kissinger was motivated by a genuine love of the free world and the need to protect it.

Let’s face facts: Kissinger was a war criminal and as such should have been prosecuted by the International Court of Justice in The Hague but, of course, the United States doesn’t recognise this court for precisely that reason. America answers to no-one.

Kissinger was an obscenity; a revolting, despicable apology for a human being who thought nothing of the murder - for that is what it was - of half a million innocent Laotians and a similar amount of Cambodians, in pursuit of American domination of south-east Asia and the insane fear of an imagined "domino theory" concocted by the State Department and the Pentagon whereby the loss of one nation to communism would result in the collapse of them all in the area. In his giant geopolitical game of Parcheesi each coloured piece wiped off the board representing the deaths of a hundred thousand innocent civilian Asian peasants was no more than a mere throw of the dice to him. Bear in mind that these campaigns were illegal even by American standards, not having been approved by Congress. But the law was an irrelevance to Kissinger and his monstrous President, Richard Nixon.

Not one Cambodian peasant threatened the life of a solitary American, not a single Laotian laid a land mine in the prairies of the Mid-west nor had any Vietnamese dropped an ounce of napalm or Agent Orange in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey or the bayous of Louisiana yet in the fevered mind of Henry Kissinger the peoples of these simple lands had to bend to the yoke of American imperialism or pay the price, and what a terrible price it was.

This was the man who, after the devastating nuclear testing on Christmas Island in 1962 and the resulting deaths, radiation cancers and mutations within the indigenous population, said dismissively: "There are only 90,000 people out there. Who gives a damn?". One could go on almost endlessly about Kissinger’s crimes against humanity; the thousands killed in East Timor, Cuba, Chile, and more besides and it is to our undying dishonour that he was never brought to book; in fact, quite the opposite. In a grotesque, grisly parody akin to Alice’s looking-glass world, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. One assumes that the bloodied citizens of south-east Asia were not invited to cast their vote.

Shame on those who eulogise him.

Bob Buntin, Skelmorlie.

• INSPIRED by the Congress of Vienna of 1814-1815, Henry Kissinger promoted the reality of multiple powers, the idea of strategic openness to limited incremental change and the importance of personal relationships as three keys to dealing with the communist threat and maintaining US hegemony and the associated world order.

Dr Kissinger also freely made full use of the dark arts of spying, bribery, corruption, assassination, invasion and bombing. It was all for a good cause.

History will now be the judge.

Stewart Sweeney, Adelaide, South Australia.

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Praise for the tributes

I WAS most impressed to see the wonderful tributes made by politicians of all parties in respect of the life and times of Alistair Darling ("Tributes paid as former Labour chancellor and Better Together chairman Alistair Darling dies", The Herald, December 1). Such praise for politicians is rare but it is encouraging to see that in the cut-throat business of politics there are some who can shine above others.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Aberdeen.

Scotland could power ahead

RISHI Sunak makes his mark at COP 28 by calling on China to do more to limit emissions of harmful gases, but when the Chinese company, Jingye, buys Scunthorpe Steel works and proposes to get rid of its ageing coal-fired furnaces and replace them with clean-energy electric furnaces, he says nothing to stop the unions and workers threatening strikes and walk-outs. Instead he proposes building nuclear power plants all over Britain, except of course near London, that will increase nuclear waste stores to pollute Britain for ever.

Forked-tongue diplomacy is no way to approach the global danger of increasing climate change. The Scottish Government has refused to build another nuclear power plant and has the support for its refusal from every party except the minority of Scottish Tories who kow-tow to Westminster’s bully boys.

Scotland has the water, sea and wind power to be able to build plants producing electricity that would not only power Scotland but be a welcome export commodity.

It is past time to run our own country to our and the world’s benefit.

Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh.

The Herald: ishi Sunak speaking to the media at COP28 in Dubai yesterdayishi Sunak speaking to the media at COP28 in Dubai yesterday (Image: PA)

COPs and robbers

THE very day the monstrously-polluting COP28 kicks off, the much-vaunted "renewable solutions" have once again failed to generate enough power to heat UK homes.

Freezing temperatures for the week ahead and no wind mean energy demands are soaring but low winds mean output at all wind farms has plummeted. Data from the National Grid confirms that the UK is reliant on gas for an astonishing two-thirds of its electricity this weekend. This criminal neglect of energy security can’t go on.

It also means the UK has had to buy record amounts of electricity from Europe, at the extortionate cost of £2 billion, government figures have revealed.

When will the ever-so-green billionaires, in their private jets, allow poor, cold, ordinary folk, with common sense, to address their conference? How many more COPs and robbers will we have to endure?

George Herraghty, Elgin.

Political parties are meaningless

POLITICAL parties are now hollowed out and meaningless. They have been replaced by global organisations that dictate policy on health, the environment and finance, to name only the few we know about. Domestic governance has been eclipsed, and instead of representing those who support political parties for a valid purpose - such as improvement in working conditions, or the protection of business interests - political parties now merely bicker with each other over legislation relating to domestic trivia, or how to implement the policies of the unelected in those faceless global organisations.

Even the single-issue parties find themselves wrestling with irrelevances such as political correctness, gender balance, and the claptrap of individual self-obsession that now distracts from what was once their particular achievable objective.

The electorate is thus mostly ignored, having become an irrelevance to the MPs of those now equally irrelevant political parties, whose interest is the personal one of survival, to give the illusion of serving the electorate, and to continue talking about matters as though they had some control over them.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.

Rule of law is under threat

IT would appear that the rule of law and the presumption of innocence are going out of fashion; charming trinkets from a bygone age. Despite supporting civilised society for thousands of years they have had their day. Their application is a matter for lawyers to play with in the confines of the courtroom; nothing to do with the rest of us.

Whether it is compliance with the law of warfare (joking, right?), turning a blind eye to people injecting heroin, removing juries from rape trials so as to boost the conviction numbers and anything to do with the actions of climate protestors as well as inconvenient Supreme Court judgements, if the outcome doesn’t suit the current collective narrative, then just ignore or break the relevant law.

This is sleepwalking back down the road to perdition and reflects a complete misunderstanding of the concept of law.

In the beginning there was chaos and brute force until we decided to put an end to the violence by creating courts to impose a solution in what we would say today was in the public interest based on reason, the experience of human frailty and fear of the alternative.

Law is not just an instrument of corrective or distributive justice, it is an expression of collective values and an alternative to violence and arbitrary and random authoritarianism.

The rule of law is not fixed for all time.

If the law does not reflect current social mores the answer is to change the law not to break it, and this is for a duly-elected parliament to decide and legislate on (note, it is not for governments to decide).

As an example, homosexual acts were criminal until 1967 and even later in Scotland. Now the law has moved to the opposite extreme and banned the discrimination that was once compulsory. That’s how it works.

Of course, the rule of law is difficult to define but some guidance may be gleaned from a US Supreme Court judge dealing with a pornography case who said: "I cannot define pornography, but I know it when I see it.” The same applies to the rule of law or at least we know when the rule of law is absent.

So, it is an ideal worth striving for and protecting in the interests of good government and a peaceful existence.

To quote from Greek mythology: "Let no man live uncurbed by law or curbed by tyranny”.

Keith Swinley, Ayr.

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Dogs aren't everything

I REFER to the report that Girvan has been voted the UK’s most dog-friendly destination ("It’s a dog’s life in Girvan - home of KitKats, cannibals and pups", The Herald, December 1). I hope that the douce denizens of Girvan appreciate that is not entirely good news.

The proprietors of any business relying upon public custom, particularly hotels, public houses, cafes, shops and the bike hire company and amusement arcade in Girvan, have to make a commercial judgment on whether or not to be dog-friendly, because the public response can be mixed. Much as many dog lovers would wish otherwise, it is not every one who loves, or likes or can be bothered with dogs.

I wish the people of Girvan well in their new enterprise and that they get as many canine visitors, with their human attendants, as they hope for. I found a comment once made by Josh Billings, the American humorist, on the subject of dogs and their owners interesting: "A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than you love yourself."

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.