On November 29, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger died in the USA. He was a hundred years old.
Kissinger is called the most influential US Secretary of State after World War II. He became President Richard Nixon’s national security adviser in 1969. In 1973, he was also appointed US Secretary of State and held both posts. After the retirement of President Nixon, he continued to serve as the head of the State Department in the administration of President Gerald Ford.
It was during this period that the United States took major foreign policy steps that changed the course of the Cold War. Secret negotiations conducted by Kissinger in 1971 led to the historic visit of Richard Nixon to Beijing and the normalization of relations between the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Kissinger was a strong supporter of improving relations with the Soviet Union. His dialogue with the Soviet leadership launched the so-called detente process, during which the first major American-Soviet nuclear arms control agreements were concluded. Henry Kissinger played a key role in organizing and conducting long-term negotiations with North Vietnam, as a result of which American troops were withdrawn from South Vietnam. His efforts were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The war continued for another two years and ended with the defeat of the United States-allied Republic of Vietnam.
Kissinger’s approach to foreign policy, based on the thesis of the confrontation of two superpowers with their own interests, which must be taken into account, was later called foreign policy “realism”.
Henry Kissinger had many critics who accused his ego of being ready to use any means to achieve his goal. In particular, he was the initiator of the policy of the Nixon administration, which supported the military coup in Chile in 1973. He was accused of sanctioning the bombing of Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam War. In 1975, President Ford, at the request of Kissinger, gave permission for the invasion of East Timor by the Indonesian army to prevent the creation of a left-wing government on the territory of the former Portuguese colony. This invasion led to the death of more than a hundred thousand residents of East Timor.
After leaving the government, Henry Kissinger retained his influence in Washington, remaining an informal adviser to almost all presidents, including Donald Trump, who used Kissinger for contacts with Beijing. The exception to the rule was Barack Obama, who said that he had to help countries that were trying to get rid of unexploded bombs dropped on them fifty years ago.
Henry Kissinger’s opinion continued to be listened to in Washington until recently. He talked a lot about the danger of a conflict between the United States and China. He called Russia a “weakened state”, urging not to underestimate Putin, who believes that Russia has been deceived.
Henry Kissinger was born in Germany. In 1938, at the age of fifteen, he and his family immigrated to the United States. He served in the army, graduated from Harvard University, engaged in research in the field of international relations, wrote several books that brought him fame in political circles and paved the way to work in two republican administrations. Until the end of his life, Henry Kissinger spoke with a noticeable Bavarian accent.