Gary Bass in The New Yorker:
On March 25, 1971, the Pakistani Army launched a devastating military crackdown on restive Bengalis in what was then East Pakistan. While the slaughter in what would soon become an independent Bangladesh was underway, the C.I.A. and State Department conservatively estimated that roughly two hundred thousand people had died (the official Bangladeshi death toll is three million). Some ten million Bengali refugees fled to India, where untold numbers died in miserable conditions in refugee camps. Pakistan was a Cold War ally of the United States, and Richard Nixon and his national-security advisor, Henry Kissinger, resolutely supported its military dictatorship; they refused to impose pressure on Pakistan’s generals to forestall further atrocities.
My new book, “The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide,” tries to reconstruct this dark chapter of the Cold War, using declassified documents, investigative reporting, and countless hours of White House tapes, including about a hundred newly transcribed conversations. Thanks to the secret taping system that he installed to record his own blunt conversations, Nixon inadvertently left behind the most transparent Administration in American history. The tapes offer the most revealing account of Nixon and Kissinger’s raw thinking. Staffers at the White House and the State Department were often more pragmatic than their principals, so the documents they produced make the Administration appear more moderate than it was. It’s only on the audio tapes that Nixon and Kissinger’s full radicalism is on display.
More here. [Thanks to Tunku Varadarajan.]