Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a towering figure in U.S. foreign policy, passed away at 100. According to Kissinger Associates, Inc., Mr. Kissinger died at his home in Connecticut on Nov. 29.
Kissinger’s Impact on Global Affairs
A German-born American diplomat, Henry Kissinger served as Secretary of State under two U.S. presidents.
His significant role in global events during the 1970s included opening relations between the U.S. and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under President Richard Nixon and engaging in U.S.–Soviet arms control talks.
He also contributed to developing ties between Israel and Arab nations and the Paris Peace Accords in 1973, eventually leading to the end of the Vietnam War.
Controversy and Criticism
While Kissinger was praised by many for his diplomatic prowess, he also faced criticism and was labeled a war criminal by some due to his support for authoritarian regimes.
His involvement in Latin America, particularly the 1973 Chilean coup, remained debated.
A 1975 Senate committee investigation confirmed U.S. covert involvement in Chile but found limited evidence directly linking the U.S. government to the coup led by Augusto Pinochet.
Legacy and Late Career
Despite diminishing prominence following President Nixon’s resignation, Kissinger remained influential under President Gerald Ford and active in diplomatic circles.
He participated in high-profile activities, including White House meetings, publishing a book on leadership, and testifying before a Senate committee on North Korea’s nuclear threat.
Restrictions and Criticisms in Later Years
Kissinger faced travel restrictions in his later years as various nations sought to question or arrest him over past U.S. foreign policy decisions.
President Gerald Ford once described Kissinger as a “super secretary of state” while acknowledging his challenging personality.
Tributes and Remembrances
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who served under President Donald Trump, paid tribute to Kissinger, saying, “From the day he came to the United States as a teenager fleeing Nazi Germany, Dr. Kissinger dedicated his life to serving this great country and keeping America safe. He left an indelible mark on America’s history and the world.”
Kissinger’s Early Life and Career
Born Heinz Alfred Kissinger in Germany in 1923, he relocated to the United States in 1938 to escape Nazi persecution.
After anglicizing his name to Henry and obtaining U.S. citizenship, Kissinger served in the U.S. Army during World War II.
He later attended Harvard University, earning his master’s and doctorate degrees, and joined Harvard’s faculty for nearly two decades.
Henry Kissinger’s death marks the end of an era in U.S. diplomacy. His impact on international relations, his controversial legacy, and his contributions to U.S. foreign policy will continue to be subjects of study and debate for years.