- Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger dies.
- He was 100 years old.
- Kissinger was a polarizing figure.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a key figure in American foreign policy during one of the most turbulent times in the country’s history, has died.
He passed away on Wednesday at his residence in Connecticut at the age of 100, according to his consulting firm.
Kissinger was the man who set the course of United States diplomacy in the second half of the 20th century.
With thick glasses and a raspy voice, he emerged as a uniquely influential diplomat during the terms of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger dies
Likewise, his brusque but imposing presence stood out as the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam and built bridges with China.
His command of global affairs was extraordinary, earning both praise and criticism, culminating in the ultimate recognition of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.
However, his legacy is marked by passionate debates surrounding key decisions he made at crucial moments in American foreign policy.
The height of Kissinger’s power coincided with the Watergate turmoil, when the skilled diplomat assumed a crucial role, acting as co-chairman in support of Nixon.
Kissinger’s influence with former presidents
Although its influence declined after Nixon’s resignation in 1974, it continued to play a significant role during Ford’s tenure (1974-1977).
He established himself as a masterful strategist of diplomacy. Even after his official role in the government ended, Kissinger never completely withdrew from the political scene.
He continued to provide his expertise through advice and counsel, becoming a figure revered by some and fiercely criticized by others.
His ability to maneuver behind the scenes and forge international alliances left an indelible mark on modern history.
Who was Henry Kissinger?
Kissinger, a Jew who fled Nazi Germany with his family as a teenager, cultivated a reputation as a respected statesman in his later years.
He gave speeches and offered advice to both Republicans and Democrats, along with running a global consulting business.
Likewise, he appeared at President Donald Trump’s White House on multiple occasions, according to The Associated Press.
But as they have emerged over the years, documents and tapes from the Nixon era brought revelations that sometimes cast him in a harsh light.
He was a key figure in American foreign policy
Never without his detractors, Kissinger, after leaving government, was dogged by critics who argued that he should be held accountable for his policies in Southeast Asia.
For eight restless years, Kissinger covered a wide range of important foreign policy issues.
He led the first “shuttle diplomacy” in the search for peace in the Middle East. He used secret channels to establish ties between the United States and China.
Kissinger also initiated the Paris negotiations that ultimately provided a face-saving means to extricate the United States from a costly war in Vietnam.
Henry Kissinger’s history with Nixon
When asked in a July 2022 interview with ABC if he wished to be able to take back any of his decisions, Kissinger demurred, saying:
“I’ve been thinking about these problems all my life. It’s my hobby as well as my occupation. And so the recommendations I made were the best of which I was then capable.”
Even then, he had mixed feelings about Nixon’s record, saying that «his foreign policy has held up and he was quite effective in domestic policy.»
However he admitted that the disgraced president had «permitted himself to be involved in a number of steps that were inappropriate for a president.»