Sydney. Former US Secretary of State (equivalent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs) and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger died on November 29 at the age of 100. Kissinger was an influential member of the US government under two presidents, but was also often described as a ‘warmonger’. He was seen by many as a controversial figure.
The former Harvard professor and later diplomat helped shape U.S. foreign policy in the 1970s by advising Republican President Richard Nixon and his successor Gerald Ford. He was also awarded the Nobel Prize in 1973 for helping to reach agreements during the Vietnam War. The agreement soon broke down, becoming a point of criticism against Kissinger and broader US policy on the war, which also reflects the polarized legacy he left.
Henry Kissinger, the last champion of foreign policy battle
Henry Kissinger was the ultimate champion of America’s foreign policy battle. The former US Secretary of State died on November 29, 2023, after living for a century. His influence on the geopolitics of the free world cannot be underestimated. From World War II, when he was a soldier in the U.S. Army, through the end of the Cold War, and even into the 21st century, he has had a significant, continuing influence on global affairs.
Henry Kissinger’s journey from Germany to America
From Germany to America and then back Born in Germany in 1923, he came to America as a refugee at the age of 15. He learned English in his teens and the German touch in his accent remained with him until his death. He attended George Washington High School in New York City before joining the Army and serving in his native Germany. Working in the Intelligence Corps, he identified Gestapo officers and worked to liberate the country from the Nazis. For this he was awarded the Bronze Star. Kissinger returned to the US and studied at Harvard before joining the university’s faculty. He advised liberal Republican New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller—who was a presidential candidate—and became a world expert on nuclear weapons strategy.
Pair of Richard Nixon and Kissinger
When Rockefeller’s main rival, Richard Nixon, won the 1968 primaries, Kissinger immediately switched to Nixon’s team. A powerful role in the White House While in Nixon’s White House, he became National Security Advisor and later also held the post of Secretary of State. Since then no one has played both these roles at the same time. For Nixon, Kissinger’s diplomacy arranged the end of the Vietnam War and the rise of China: two related and important events in the resolution of the Cold War.
‘War instigator’ Kissinger’s formula
He won the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for his Vietnam diplomacy, but the left condemned him as a war criminal for alleged American excesses during the conflict, including a bombing campaign in Cambodia that likely killed hundreds of thousands of people. Despite criticism, he persisted The pivot toward China not only rearranged the global chessboard, but it almost instantly shifted the global conversation from the American defeat in Vietnam to the anti-Soviet alliance.
After Nixon was forced to resign due to the Watergate scandal, Kissinger served as Secretary of State under Nixon’s successor Gerald Ford. During that brief, two-year administration, Kissinger’s stature and experience overshadowed the beleaguered Ford. Ford happily handed over American foreign policy to Kissinger so he could concentrate on politics and run for an office to which the people had never elected him.
During the turbulent 1970s, Kissinger’s stature and status continued to grow. He may not have been extremely attractive, but his status as a global power gave him an aura that Hollywood actresses and other celebrities noticed. His romantic life was the subject of many gossip columns. It was even said of him that “being strong is the ultimate aphrodisiac”. His legacy in American foreign policy continued to grow after the Ford administration. He advised corporations, politicians, and many other global leaders, often behind closed doors and at times in public. Criticism and Condemnation Kissinger has been and continues to be harshly criticized.
Rolling Stone magazine’s obituary of Kissinger is titled “America’s Ruling Cl’s Favorite War Criminal Is Dead at Last”. His ociation with American foreign policy during the divisive Vietnam years is something of an obsession for some critics, who cannot forgive his role as the corrupt Nixon administration perpetrated horrific acts of war against the innocent people of Vietnam.
Kissinger’s critics see him as the ultimate figure in American politics – willing to do anything for personal power or to advance his country’s goals on the world stage. But in my opinion this interpretation is wrong. Niall Ferguson’s 2011 biography, Kissinger, tells a very different story. In over 1,000 pages, Ferguson details the impact of World War II on the young Kissinger. First fleeing, then coming back to fight against, an immoral regime showed the future U.S. Secretary of State that global power must be well managed and ultimately used to further the objectives of democracy and individual freedom. should go.
Whether he was advising Nixon on Vietnam war policy to set up plausible peace talks, or arranging the details of the opening up to China to checkmate the Soviet Union, Kissinger always had an eye on totalitarianism and hatred. The focus was on preserving and advancing the liberal human values of the West against the forces of oppression. The way he saw it, the only way to do this was to work for the primacy of America and its allies. No one did more to pursue this goal than Henry Kissinger. For this he will be both praised and criticized.