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Centenarian Diplomat: Henry Kissinger's Enduring Legacy in Shaping US Foreign Policy

  • Posted on May 28, 2023
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  • By Top Stories
Henry Kissinger at 100: Polarising US diplomat's legacy in spotlight

US foreign policy:-

Henry Kissinger, a former diplomat and presidential advisor, celebrated his 100th birthday on May 27, 2023. Born inGermany in 1923, Kissinger is renowned for his significant role in shaping American foreign policy during the 1960s and 1970s. 

He outlived many of his political counterparts and situations that guided the United States through challenging times, including the presidency of Richard Nixon, the Vietnam War, and many more.

Henry Kissinger continues to give speeches and attend public events
Henry Kissinger continues to give speeches and attend public events

Despite his efforts to eventually withdraw the U.S. from Vietnam, Kissinger became closely associated with many controversial actions of the conflict. 

His son, David Kissinger, reflected on his father's centenary, noting that it seemed inevitable given his strong character and affinity for historical symbolism. Kissinger not only outlasted most of his peers, critics, and students but also remained actively engaged well into his 90s.

To commemorate his 100th birthday, Kissinger planned visits to New York, London, and his hometown of Fürth, Germany. In recent years, he has maintained his influence over Washington's power brokers as an esteemed statesman. 

Kissinger has provided counsel to Republican and Democratic presidents, including during the Trump administration, and runs an international consulting business where he delivers speeches with his distinct German accent, a reminder of his teenage escape from the Nazi regime.

During his tenure as a national security advisor and secretary of state, Kissinger played pivotal roles in significant foreign policy events. These include pioneering "shuttle diplomacy" for Middle East peace, engaging in secret negotiations with China to thaw relations, and initiating the Paris peace talks to seek an end to the Vietnam War and the presence of U.S. troops there. 

However, Kissinger faced criticism for the fall of Saigon to North Vietnamese forces and the subsequent rise of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.

While recognized for his contributions to détente, a diplomatic effort to reduce Cold War tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, Kissinger has also faced accusations of prioritizing American interests over global harmony. His realpolitik policies allegedly supported repressive regimes in countries like Pakistan, Chile, and Indonesia. 

Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, speaks virtually during the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore
Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, speaks virtually during the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore

Nevertheless, his influence and impact on American foreign Policy during a transformative period remain significant.

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