His professional credentials may be seriously impressive, but they don’t prepare you for the fact that Gary Bass – professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University – has just made political revelations about India, Pakistan and the United States that shake the very foundation of our beliefs.
In his new book Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide, Bass relies on hundreds of formerly classified and top secret documents – both in the United States, as well as India – along with records of conversations between Nixon and Kissinger never before made public, to document some devastating facts about the war that created Bangladesh.
It’s a story of political expediency, ruthlessness and self-interest on an unparalleled scale on the part of the US, according to Bass, who indicts his homeland for its shocking role in the ‘genocide’ in Bangladesh. He calls out the two men who built reputations of erudition while they turned a blind eye to the massacre of reportedly half a million people; he reveals Pakistan’s brutality, and the background to India’s war against Pakistan in 1971.
To call the book explosive is to understate the obvious; Blood Telegram is eye-opening, the result of years of meticulous research, interviews and painstaking access Bass earned to top sources. It details the course of events that changed the very face of Asia, and geopolitical equations in this part of the world. This isn’t his first book – he has previously authored Freedom’s Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention and Stay the Hand of Vengeance: The Politics of War Crimes Tribunals – but it is evident that with this book, Bass’ is at once whistleblower and author; political commentator, and conscience-keeper.
A former reporter for The Economist, Bass has written often for the New York Times, as well as for top media organisations globally including The New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, The New Republic, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Slate, and other publications.