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Henry Kissinger

Henry Alfred Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Kissinger on May 27, 1923) is a German-born American bureaucrat, diplomat, and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the Richard Nixon administration. Kissinger emerged unscathed from the Watergate scandal, and maintained his powerful position when Gerald Ford became President.

A proponent of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a dominant role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. During this period, he pioneered the policy of détente.

During his time in the Nixon and Ford administrations he cut a flamboyant figure, appearing at social occasions with many celebrities. His foreign policy record made him a nemesis to the anti-war left and the anti-communist right alike.

Personal background

Kissinger was born in Fürth, Bavaria, Germany, as Heinz Alfred Kissinger to Jewish parents Louis Kissinger (1887-1982), a schoolteacher, and Paula Stern (1901-1998). His surname was first taken by his great-great-grandfather, Meyer Löb, in 1817 after the city of Bad Kissingen. In 1938, fleeing Nazi persecution, his family moved to New York. Kissinger was naturalized a U.S. citizen on June 19, 1943, while in military training at Camp Croft in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

He spent his high school years in the Washington Heights section of upper Manhattan, but never lost his pronounced German accent, perhaps due to childhood shyness which made him hesitant to speak. Henry Kissinger attended George Washington High School at night and worked in a shaving-brush factory during the day. While attending City College of New York, in 1943, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, trained at Clemson College in South Carolina, and became a German interpreter for the 970th Counter Intelligence Corps, with the rank of sergeant.

Henry Kissinger received his B.A. degree summa cum laude at Harvard College in 1950, where he studied under William Yandell Elliott. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard University in 1952 and 1954, respectively. In 1952, while still at Harvard, he served as a consultant to the Director of the Psychological Strategy Board. His doctoral dissertation was "Peace, Legitimacy, and the Equilibrium (A Study of the Statesmanship of Castlereagh and Metternich)."

Kissinger remained at Harvard as a member of the faculty in the Department of Government and at the Center for International Affairs. He became Associate Director of the latter in 1957. In 1955, he was a consultant to the National Security Council's Operations Coordinating Board. During 1955 and 1956, he was also Study Director in Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He released his Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy the following year. From 1956 to 1958 he worked for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as director of its Special Studies Project. He was Director of the Harvard Defense Studies Program between 1958 and 1971. He was also Director of the Harvard International Seminar between 1951 and 1971. Outside of academia, he served as a consultant to several government agencies, including the Operations Research Office, the Rand Corporation, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and the Department of State.

A liberal Republican and keen to have a greater influence on American foreign policy, Kissinger became a supporter of, and advisor to, Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York, who sought the Republican nomination for President in 1960, 1964 and 1968. After Richard Nixon won the presidency in 1968, he made Kissinger National Security Advisor.

With his first wife, Ann Fleischer, he had two children, Elizabeth and David. He lives with his second wife, Nancy Maginnes, in Kent, Connecticut. He is the head of Kissinger Associates, a consulting firm.

He had triple coronary bypass heart surgery in May 1982.

He has a brother, Walter, who is one year younger.

Kissinger is a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. A life long soccer fan, Kissinger is a supporter and honorary member of the German soccer club Spielvereinigung Greuther Fürth from his hometown, where he was a member in his youth. During the 1970s, Kissinger was among the many celebrity fans of the New York Cosmos.

Foreign policy

Kissinger served as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon, and continued as Secretary of State under Nixon's successor Gerald Ford.

A proponent of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a dominant role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. In that period, he extended the policy of détente. This policy led to a significant relaxation in U.S.-Soviet tensions and played a crucial role in 1971 talks with Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. The talks concluded with a rapprochement between the United States and the People's Republic of China, and the formation of a new strategic anti-Soviet Sino-American alliance. He was awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for helping to establish a ceasefire and U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. The ceasefire, however, was not durable.

Kissinger favored the maintenance of friendly diplomatic relationships with anti-Communist military dictatorships in the Southern Cone and elsewhere in Latin America.

Détente and the opening to China

As National Security Advisor under Nixon, Kissinger pioneered the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, seeking a relaxation in tensions between the two superpowers. As a part of this strategy, he negotiated the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (culminating in the SALT I treaty) and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party. Negotiations about strategic disarmament were originally supposed to start under the Johnson Administration but were postponed in protest to the invasion by Warsaw Pact troops of Czechoslovakia in August 1968.

He sought to place diplomatic pressure on the Soviet Union; facilitated by Pakistan, he made two trips to the People's Republic of China in July and October 1971 (the first of which was made in secret) to confer with Premier Zhou Enlai, then in charge of Chinese foreign policy. This paved the way for the groundbreaking 1972 summit between Nixon, Zhou, and Communist Party of China Chairman Mao Zedong, as well as the formalization of relations between the two countries, ending 23 years of diplomatic isolation and mutual hostility. The result was the formation of a tacit strategic anti-Soviet alliance between China and the United States. While Kissinger's diplomacy led to economic and cultural exchanges between the two sides and the establishment of Liaison Offices in the Chinese and American capitals, full normalization of relations with the People's Republic of China would not occur until 1979 as Watergate overshadowed the latter years of the Nixon presidency and the United States continued to recognize the Republic of China government on Taiwan. The idea of opening up formal relations with the People's Republic of China is often cited as Kissinger's international masterstroke and the prime example of his faith in realpolitik.

Vietnam War

Kissinger's involvement in Indochina started prior to his appointment as National Security Adviser to Nixon. While still at Harvard he had worked as a consultant on foreign policy to both the White House and State Department and, in the summer of 1967, had acted as one of a series of intermediaries between Washington and Hanoi in a peace initiative codenamed "Pennsylvania." In the autumn of 1968, he used his contacts with the Johnson administration to tip off the Nixon camp about an anticipated breakthrough in the Paris talks, which Nixon feared could cost him the campaign.

Nixon had been elected in 1968 on the promise of achieving "peace with honor" and ending the Vietnam War. In office, and assisted by Kissinger, Nixon implemented a policy of Vietnamization that aimed to gradually withdraw U.S. troops while expanding the combat role of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) so that it would be capable of independently defending South Vietnam against the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam and North Vietnamese army (Vietnam People's Army or PAVN). Kissinger played a key role in a secret American bombing campaign of Cambodia to target PAVN and Viet Cong units launching raids against South Vietnam from within Cambodia's borders and resupplying their forces by using the Ho Chi Minh trail and other routes, as well as the 1970 Cambodian Incursion and subsequent widespread bombing of Cambodia. Some argue that the bombing campaign inadvertently contributed to the chaos of the Cambodian Civil War, which saw the forces of dictator Lon Nol unable to defeat the growing Khmer Rouge insurgency that would emerge victorious in 1975.

Kissinger was awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize along with North Vietnam diplomatic representative Le Duc Tho for their work in negotiating the ceasefires contained in the Paris Peace Accords on "Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam," even though the terms of the agreement were quickly broken. The conflict would continue for two more years after the American withdrawal. Tho declined the award, stating that his country was still not at peace; Kissinger accepted the award "with humility" but, having recently been appointed Secretary of State, did not collect the award in person, citing pressure of work, and it was accepted on his behalf by United States Ambassador to Norway Thomas R. Byrne. The conflict continued until an invasion of the South by North Vietnam resulted in a North Vietnamese victory in 1975 and the subsequent rise to power of Pathet Lao in Laos and the more independent Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

1971 Indo-Pakistan War

Under Kissinger's guidance, the United States supported Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971. Kissinger was particularly concerned about Soviet expansion into South Asia as a result of a treaty of friendship recently signed by India and the Soviet Union, and sought to demonstrate to the People's Republic of China (Pakistan's ally and an enemy of both India and the Soviet Union) the value of a tacit alliance with the United States.

In recent years, Kissinger has come under fire for private comments he made to Nixon during the Indo-Pakistan War in which he described the Indians as "bastards" and then-Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as a "bitch. Kissinger has since expressed his regret over the comments.

1973 Yom Kippur War

In 1973, Kissinger negotiated the end to the Yom Kippur War, which had begun with an attack against Israel by Egyptian and Syrian forces. According to Kissinger, if Israel had initiated the war, they would not have received "so much as a nail" in aid from the United States. Kissinger has published lengthy and dramatic telephone transcripts of his activities during this period in the 2002 book Crisis. Under Nixon's direction, and against Kissinger's initial opposition, the U.S military conducted the largest military airlift in history. American action contributed to the 1973 OPEC embargo against the United States and its Western European allies, which was lifted in March 1974.

Israel regained the territory it lost in the early fighting and gained new territories from Syria and Egypt, including land in Syria east of the previously captured Golan Heights, and additionally on the western bank of the Suez Canal, although they did lose some territory on the eastern side of the Suez Canal that had been in Israeli hands since the end of the Six Day War. Kissinger pressured the Israelis to cede some of the newly captured land back to the Arabs, contributing to the first phases of lasting Israeli-Egyptian peace. The move saw a warming in U.S.–Egyptian relations, bitter since the 1950s, as the country moved away from its former pro-Soviet stance and into a close partnership with the United States. The peace was finalized in 1978 when U.S. president Jimmy Carter mediated the Camp David Accords, during which Israel returned the Sinai in exchange for an Egyptian agreement to recognize Israeli statehood and end hostility.

1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus

In 1974 the junta which then ruled Greece staged an abortive coup against the president Archbishop Makarios III and Turkey launched an invasion "to restore constitutional order" on Cyprus.

In a White House memorandum of a conversation from February 20, 1975, Kissinger said: “In all the world the things that hurt us the most are the CIA business and Turkey aid.” According to The Raw Story, the context and the time period suggests Kissinger had supported illegal financial and military aid to Turkey for the 1974 Cyprus invasion.

Latin American policy

The United States continued to recognize and maintain relationships with anti-Communist and non-Communist governments, democratic and authoritarian alike. John F. Kennedy's Alliance for Progress was ended in 1973. In 1974, negotiations about new settlement over Panama Canal started. They eventually led to Torrijos-Carter Treaties and handing the Canal over to Panamanian control.

Kissinger initially supported the normalization of United States-Cuba relations, broken since 1961 (all U.S.–Cuban trade was blocked in February 1962, a few weeks after the exclusion of Cuba from the Organization of American States under U.S. pressure). However, he quickly changed his mind and followed Kennedy's policy. After Fidel Castro's involvement in the struggle in Angola and Mozambique, Kissinger made it clear that unless Cuba withdrew its forces relations would not be normalized.

Intervention in Chile

Chilean Socialist presidential candidate Salvador Allende was elected by a majority in 1970, causing serious concern in Washington due to his openly Marxist and pro-Cuban politics. The Nixon administration authorized the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to instigate a military coup that would prevent Allende's inauguration and presumably call new elections, but the plan was not successful. The extent of Kissinger's involvement in or support of these plans is a subject of controversy.

United States-Chile relations remained frosty during Salvador Allende's tenure; following the complete nationalization of the partially U.S.-owned copper mines and the Chilean subsidiary of the U.S.-based ITT Corporation, as well as other Chilean businesses. The U.S. implemented partial economic sanctions, claiming that the Chilean government had greatly undervalued fair compensation for the nationalization by subtracting what it deemed "excess profits." The CIA provided funding for the mass anti-government strikes in 1972 and 1973; during this period, Kissinger made several controversial statements regarding Chile's government, stating that "the issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves" and "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its people." These remarks sparked outrage among many commentators, who considered them patronizing and disparaging of Chile's sovereignty.

In September 1973, Allende died during a military coup launched by Army Commander-in-Chief Augusto Pinochet, who became President. A document released by the CIA in 2000 titled "CIA Activities in Chile" revealed that the CIA actively supported the military junta after the overthrow of Allende and that it made many of Pinochet's officers into paid contacts of the CIA or U.S. military, even though some were known to be involved in human rights abuses, until Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter defeated President Gerald Ford in 1976 and implemented a tough stance against any state that violated human rights, regardless of its friendliness toward America.

In July 2001, the Chilean high court granted investigating judge Juan Guzmán the right to question Kissinger about the 1973 killing of American journalist Charles Horman at the hands of the Chilean military following the coup. The judge’s questions were relayed to Kissinger via diplomatic routes but went unanswered.

Intervention in Argentina

Kissinger took a similar line as he had toward Chile when the Argentine military, led by Jorge Videla, toppled the democratic government of Isabel Perón in 1976 and consolidated power, launching brutal reprisals and "disappearances" against political opponents. During a meeting with Argentine foreign minister César Augusto Guzzetti, Kissinger assured him that the United States was an ally, but urged him to "get back to normal procedures" quickly before the U.S. Congress reconvened and had a chance to consider sanctions.


In 1974 a leftist military coup overthrew the Caetano government in Portugal in the Carnation Revolution. The National Salvation Junta, the new government, quickly granted Portugal's colonies independence. Cuban troops in Angola supported the Marxist-Leninist Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in its fight against anti-Communist UNITA and FNLA rebels during the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002). Kissinger supported UNITA, led by Jonas Savimbi, the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) insurgencies, as well as the CIA-supported invasion of Angola by South African troops. In 1976 South African troops withdrew due to U.S. Congressional opposition.

In September 1976 Kissinger was actively involved in negotiations regarding the Rhodesian Bush War. Kissinger, along with South Africa's Prime Minister John Vorster, pressured Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith to hasten the transition to black majority rule in Rhodesia. With FRELIMO in control of Mozambique and even South Africa withdrawing its support, Rhodesia's isolation was nearly complete. According to Smith's autobiography, Kissinger told Smith of Mrs. Kissinger's admiration for him, but Smith stated that he thought Kissinger was asking him to sign Rhodesia's "death certificate." Kissinger, bringing the weight of the United States, and corralling other relevant parties to put pressure on Rhodesia, hastened the end of minority-rule.

East Timor

The Portuguese decolonization process brought American attention to the former Portuguese colony of East Timor, which lies within the Indonesian archipelago and declared its independence in 1975. Indonesian president Suharto was a strong American ally in the South East Asia and began to mobilize his army, preparing to annex the nascent state, which had become increasingly dominated by the popular leftist and Chinese-supported FRETILIN party. In December 1975, Suharto discussed the invasion plans during a meeting with Kissinger and President Ford in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. Both Ford and Kissinger made clear that U.S. relations with Indonesia would remain strong and that it would not object to the proposed annexation. U.S. arms sales to Indonesia continued, and Suharto went ahead with the annexation plan, meeting resistance from the East Timorese. The Indonesian army responded with indiscriminate massacres; the 2005 report of the UN's Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor reports a figure of at least 102,800 death during the occupation: 18,600 unlawful executions and 84,200 starvation deaths. The Indonesian government's annexation of East Timor as its 27th province was not accepted by the United Nations or the majority of countries.

Accusations of war crimes and legal difficulties

The Trial of Henry Kissinger (book and movie)

A revival of interest in Henry Kissinger came during the new millennium, when journalist Christopher Hitchens wrote The Trial of Henry Kissinger, a scathing critique of Kissinger's policy that accused him of war crimes, particularly for his policy toward Vietnam, Cyprus, Cambodia, Chile and East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh). Kissinger became a focal point of criticism from the political Left and certain human rights NGOs. According to the book, his foreign policy was chiefly concerned with attaining allies that had valuable geographical and strategic locations, such as Turkey and Pakistan, and turned a blind eye when these allies attacked democracies and murdered countless innocent people.

The book was later adapted into a documentary entitled The Trials of Henry Kissinger. The film focused on Kissinger's policies towards Vietnam, Cambodia, East Timor, and Chile.

Involvement in Operation Condor

On May 31, 2001, French judge Roger Le Loire requested a summons served on Kissinger while he was staying at the Ritz Hotel in Paris. Loire wanted to question Kissinger for alleged U.S. involvement in Operation Condor—a mid-1970s campaign of kidnapping and murder coordinated among the intelligence and security services of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay—as well as the death of five French nationals under the Chilean junta. Kissinger left Paris that evening, and Loire's inquiries were directed to the U.S. State Department.

In August 2001, Argentine Judge Rodolfo Canicoba sent a letter rogatory to the U.S. State Department, in accordance with the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), requesting a deposition by Kissinger to aid the judge's investigation of Operation Condor.

On September 10, 2001, a civil suit was filed in a Washington, DC, federal court by the family of Gen. René Schneider, former Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Army, asserting that Kissinger gave the order for the elimination of Schneider because he had refused to endorse plans for a military coup. Schneider was killed by coup-plotters loyal to General Roberto Viaux in a botched kidnapping attempt, As a part of the suit, Schneider’s two sons are attempting to sue Kissinger and then-CIA director Richard Helms for US$3 million.

On September 11, 2001, the 28th commemorations of the Pinochet coup, Chilean human rights lawyers filed a criminal case against Kissinger along with Augusto Pinochet, former Bolivian general and president Hugo Banzer, former Argentine general and dictator Jorge Rafael Videla, and former Paraguayan president Alfredo Stroessner for alleged involvement in Operation Condor. The case was brought on behalf of some fifteen victims of Operation Condor, ten of whom were Chilean.

In late 2001, the Brazilian government cancelled an invitation for Kissinger to speak in São Paulo because it could no longer guarantee his immunity from judicial action.

Kenneth Maxwell's review, in Foreign Affairs November/December 2003, of Peter Kornbluh's book The Pinochet File: A Declassified Dossier on Atrocity and Accountability, discussed Kissinger's relationship with Augusto Pinochet's regime, in particular concerning operation Condor and Orlando Letelier's assassination, in Washington, DC, in 1976.

A 1978 cable released in 2000 shows that the South American intelligence chiefs involved in Condor "[kept] in touch with one another through a U.S. communications installation in the Panama Canal Zone which [covered] all of Latin America". Robert E. White, the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay, was concerned that the U.S. connection to Condor might be revealed during the then ongoing investigation into the 1976 assassination of Letelier. Kornbluh and Maxwell both draw the conclusion from this and other materials that the U.S. State Department, on Kissinger's watch, had foreknowledge of the assassination.


In 2002, during a brief visit to the UK, a petition for Kissinger's arrest was filed in the High Court in London based on Indochinese civilian casualties and environmental damage resulting from U.S. bombing campaigns in North Vietnam and Cambodia in the period between 1969 and 1975.

Transcripts obtained by the National Security Archive show Kissinger receiving his orders from President Nixon:

PRESIDENT: The second thing is as I have put on here now I want you to get ahold of [Chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Thomas H.] Moorer tonight and I want a plan where every goddamn thing that can fly goes into Cambodia and hits every target that is open.
PRESIDENT: That's to be done tomorrow. Tomorrow. Is that clear?
KISSINGER: That is right
PRESIDENT: I want this done. ... I want them to hit everything. I want them to use the big planes, the small planes, everything they can that will help out here and let's start giving them a little shock ... let me tell you on this business on Cambodia - I want something done tonight, I don't want any screwing around...

A few minutes later, Kissinger transmits Nixon's orders to military assistant Alexander Haig:

KISSINGER: Two, [Nixon] wants a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. He doesn't want to hear anything. It's an order, it's to be done. Anything that flys on anything that moves. You got that?
HAIG: ...sounded like Haig laughing...

Noam Chomsky commented about this accusations:

Simultaneously, Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, who had engaged in a failed attempt to get Pinochet extradited from the United Kingdom for questioning, requested that Interpol detain Kissinger for questioning. British authorities refused his request.

East Timor Action Network (ETAN) activists have repeatedly sought to question Kissinger during his book tours for his role in the Ford administration in supporting Suharto and the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975. Transcripts of Ford and Kissinger's endorsement of the invasion are available on the National Security Archive.

Kissinger had knowledge of the 1971 atrocities committed by the Pakistani army and its allies during the war (see above), but did not advise President Nixon to put pressure on the Pakistani government to stop them.

Public perception

Kissinger, like the rest of the Nixon administration, was extremely unpopular with the anti-war political left, particularly after the congressionally-unauthorized and secret U.S. bombing of Cambodia was revealed. However, few doubted his intellect and diplomatic skill, and he became one of the better-liked members of the Nixon administration, though some Americans came to view Kissinger's talents as increasingly cynical and self-serving. Kissinger was not connected with the Watergate scandal that would eventually ruin Nixon and many of his closest aides, and this greatly improved Kissinger's reputation as he became known as the "clean man" of the bunch.

At the height of his popularity, he was even regarded as something of a sex symbol, earning him the nickname "Henry the Kiss. He was seen dating such starlets as Jill St. John, Marlo Thomas, Shirley MacLaine, and Candice Bergen. He was quoted as saying "Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac". There was even discussion of ending the requirement that a U.S. president be born in America by amending the U.S. Constitution so that Kissinger could have a chance to run.

In 1992 Jornal do Brasil published an unflattering photo of Henry Kissinger on the front page. Kissinger's lawyer sent a cease and desist letter threatening to sue them if they sold the photo. The newspaper refused and one of the buyers was the advertising agency Woolward & Partners who were also threatened with legal action, after using it in an advertisement for computer equipment. The photo was featured in the 1996 book Washington Babylon by Alexander Cockburn and Ken Silverstein.

The musical satirist Tom Lehrer says that "political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Prize.

In a 1999 radio interview with BBC news presenter Jeremy Paxman, ostensibly to promote the latest volume of his memoirs, Dr Kissinger reportedly walked out after being asked some tough questions about the U.S. role in the bombing of Cambodia. However, BBC sources claim he was late for another appointment and merely had to leave early.

Later roles

Business interests and public service

In 1977, Kissinger was appointed to Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies. Kissinger published a dialogue with the Japanese philosopher, Daisaku Ikeda, On Peace, Life and Philosophy.

In 1989, Kissinger founded a consulting firm, Kissinger Associates, and is a partner in affiliate Kissinger McLarty Associates with Mack McLarty, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton. He also serves on board of directors of Hollinger International, a Chicago-based newspaper group, and as of March 1999, he also serves on board of directors of Gulfstream Aerospace.

From 1995 to 2001, he served on the board of directors for Freeport-McMoRan, a multinational copper and gold producer with significant mining and milling operations in Papua, Indonesia. In February 2000, then-president of Indonesia Abdurrahman Wahid appointed Kissinger as a political advisor. He also serves as an honorary advisor to the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce.

Kissinger served for many years as a director of Hollinger International, the chief executive officer of which was disgraced media tycoon Conrad Black. Hollinger's board is widely viewed to have not exercised sufficient oversight, enabling Black and other senior executives to defraud the company.

In 1998, Kissinger became an honorary citizen of Fürth, Germany, his hometown. He has been a life-long supporter of the Spielvereinigung Fürth football club and is now an honorary member.

He served as Chancellor of the College of William and Mary from February 10, 2001 to the Summer of 2005.

In April 2006, Kissinger received the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Woodrow Wilson Center of the Smithsonian Institution.

Kissinger delivered eulogies during the state funeral of former President Richard Nixon and Gerald R. Ford in 1994 and 2007 respectively.

In June 2007, Kissinger received the Hopkins-Nanjing Award for his contributions to reestablishing Sino–American relations. This award was presented by the presidents of Nanjing University, Chen Jun, and of Johns Hopkins University, William Brody, during the 20th anniversary celebration of The Johns Hopkins University--Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies also known as the Hopkins-Nanjing Center.

Role in U.S. foreign policy

Kissinger left office when a Democrat, former Governor of Georgia and "Washington outsider" Jimmy Carter, defeated Republican, Gerald Ford in the 1976 presidential elections. During the campaign, Carter criticized Kissinger, arguing he was "single-handedly" managing all of America's foreign relations. Through the 1980s and early 1990s, Kissinger's role in U.S. government and policy was minimized, as the neoconservatives who rose to dominance in the Republican Party under the Reagan administration beginning in 1981 considered Nixonian détente to be a policy of unwise accommodation with the Soviet Union. Kissinger continued to participate in policy groups, such as the Trilateral Commission, and to maintain political consulting, speaking, and writing engagements. He would often appear as a foreign-policy commentator on American broadcast networks.

In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed Kissinger to chair a committee to investigate the events of the September 11 attacks. This led to criticism from Congressional Democrats who accused Kissinger of being secretive and not supportive of the public's right to know. Leading Democrats insisted that Kissinger file financial disclosures to reveal any conflicts of interest. Both Bush and Kissinger claimed that Kissinger did not need to file such forms, since he would not be receiving a salary. However, following continual Democratic pressure, Kissinger stepped down as chairman on December 13, 2002.

Kissinger and Iraq

In 2006, it was reported in the book State of Denial by Bob Woodward that Kissinger was meeting regularly with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to offer advice on the War in Iraq. Kissinger confirmed in recorded interviews with Woodward that the advice was the same as he had given in an August 12, 2005 column in The Washington Post: "Victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy.

In a November 19, 2006 BBC Sunday AM interview, when asked whether there is any hope left for a clear military victory in Iraq, Kissinger said, "If you mean by 'military victory' an Iraqi Government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible... I think we have to redefine the course. But I don't believe that the alternative is between military victory as it had been defined previously, or total withdrawal.

Kissinger has endorsed Senator John McCain in his bid for the presidency in 2008.
Kissinger met India's main Opposition Leader Lal Krishna Advani in early October 2007 and lobbied for the support of his Bharatiya Janata Party for the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement
Kissinger was present at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Summer Olympics. He was in the Chinese capital to also attend the inauguaration of the new US Embassy complex.

Kissinger and Iran

Kissinger's position on this issue of U.S.-Iran talks was reported by The Tehran Times to be that "Any direct talks between the U.S. and Iran on issues such as the nuclear dispute would be most likely to succeed if they first involved only diplomatic staff and progressed to the level of secretary of state before the heads of state meet."


  • Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.
  • Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
  • Most foreign policies that history has marked highly, in whatever country, have been originated by leaders who were opposed by experts.
  • The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.
  • The New World Order cannot happen without U.S. participation, as we are the most significant single component. Yes, there will be a New World Order, and it will force the United States to change its perceptions. Just like Zishan says.
  • I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.
  • Even a paranoid has some real enemies.


Further reading

  • Foreign policy
    • Taiwan Expendable? Nixon and Kissinger Go to China by Nancy Bernkopf Tucker (2005)
    • Rescuing the World: The Life and Times of Leo Cherne by Andrew F. Smith, Henry A. Kissinger (2002) ISBN 0791453790
    • Does America Need a Foreign Policy?: Toward a Diplomacy for the 21st Century (2001) ISBN 0684855674
    • Diplomacy (1994) ISBN 067165991X
    • On Men and Power: A Political Memoir by Helmut Schmidt, Henry Kissinger (1990) ISBN 0-224-02715-8
    • Observations: Selected Speeches and Essays 1982-1984 (1985) ISBN 0-316-49664-2
    • The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House, by Seymour Hersh, 1983, Summit Books, ISBN 0671506889.
    • For the Record: Selected Statements 1977-1980 (1981) ISBN 0-316-49663-4
    • Uncertain Greatness: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy, by Roger Morris (American writer).
    • A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812-22 (1973) ISBN 0-395-17229-2
    • American Foreign Policy: Three essays, (1969) ISBN 0-297-17933-0
    • The Troubled Partnership: A Re-Appraisal of the Atlantic Alliance (1965) ISBN 0-07-034895-2
    • The Necessity for Choice: Prospects of American Foreign Policy (1961) ISBN 0-06-012410-5
    • Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy (1957) (ISBN 0-865-31745-3 (1984 edition))
  • Memoirs
    • Crisis: The Anatomy of Two Major Foreign Policy Crises: Based on the Record of Henry Kissinger's Hitherto Secret Telephone Conversations (2003) ISBN 0-7432-4910-0
    • Vietnam: A Personal History of America's Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War (2002) ISBN 0-7432-1916-3
    • Years of Renewal (1999) ISBN 0-684-85571-2
    • Years of Upheaval (1982) ISBN 0-316-28591-9
    • The White House Years (1979) ISBN 0-316-49661-8
  • Biographies
    • Kissinger: A Biography, by Walter Isaacson, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992, (updated, 2005), ISBN 0-671-66323-2
    • The Flawed Architect: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign Policy, by Jussi M. Hanhimaki (2004) ISBN 0-19-517221-3
    • The Nixon-Kissinger Years: Reshaping of America's Foreign Policy, by Richard C. Thornton (1989) ISBN 0-88702-051-8
    • The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House, by Seymour Hersh (1983) ISBN 0-671-44760-2
    • Kissinger, by Marvin L. Kalb, Bernard Kalb (1974) ISBN 0-316-48221-8
    • Kissinger on the Couch, by Phyllis Schlafly (1974) ISBN 0-87000-216-3
    • Kissinger: Portrait of a Mind, by Stephen Richards Graubard (1973) ISBN 0-393-05481-0
    • The Trial of Henry Kissinger, by Christopher Hitchens (2002) ISBN 1-85984-631-9
    • Die Kissinger-Saga, by Evi Kurz (2007) ISBN 973-3-940405-70-8
  • Historiography
    • Larry Berman: No peace, no honor. Nixon, Kissinger, and Betrayal in Vietnam New York, NY u.a.: Free Press 2001. ISBN 0-684-84968-2.
    • Jussi M. Hanhimäki, 'Dr. Kissinger' or 'Mr. Henry'? Kissingerology, Thirty Years and Counting, in: Diplomatic History Vol. 27, Issue 5, pp. 637-76.
    • Holger Klitzing: The Nemesis of Stability. Henry A. Kissinger's Ambivalent Relationship with Germany. Trier: WVT 2007, ISBN 3-88476-942-3.
    • Robert D. Schulzinger: Henry Kissinger. Doctor of diplomacy. New York: Columbia Univ. Pr. 1989, ISBN 0-231-06952-9.
  • Other
    • Kissinger Transcripts: The Top Secret Talks With Beijing and Moscow by Henry Kissinger, William Burr (1999) ISBN 1-56584-480-7
    • Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon, and the Destruction of Cambodia by William Shawcross, (Revised edition October 25, 2002) ISBN 0-8154-1224-X
    • Dallek, Robert (2007). Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power. HarperCollins. ISBN 0060722304.

External links

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