Former US State Secretary Henry Kissinger passes away


Henry Kissinger

NEW YORK: Few Nobel Peace Prize winners are called warmongers, but the gravelly-voiced, enigmatic diplomat Henry Kissinger was, writes Aljazeera.

The former United States Secretary of State, Kissinger, breathed his last on Wednesday in his home in Connecticut, at the age of 100.

Kissinger was a holocaust survivor and as a teenager had fled the Nazis. His life’s work has long fallen into the debate about whether his was a wise adviser to the presidents of the world’s most powerful nation, or merely a cruel agent of war. Kissinger served under two Republican presidents; Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

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Kissinger’s work on the diplomatic opening of China to the US, landmark US-Soviet arms deals and peacemaking between Israelis and Arabs are not disputed. However, his role in the Vietnam War and his support for anti-communist dictatorships, particularly in Latin America, remain divisive, said a report by Aljazeera.

Kissinger outlived most of his peers, critics and even students and remained tirelessly active even until his last birthday, which was attended by the current US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“He viewed the world from 30,000 feet, advancing broad interests and long-term goals in a way that under-appreciated the negative costs people would bear, especially those in societies that were different from the US,” Jeremi Suri, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told Al Jazeera.

“Kissinger created a model for operating the machinery of a complex democracy to make strategic choices that lacked public support but served the national interest. He was controversial, but his realpolitik has influenced two generations of policymakers,” said Jeremi Suri, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

A ceasefire deal in January 1973 earned him the Nobel Peace Prize. “He was the first American celebrity diplomat: An iconic foreign policy whiz to save the world and make peace, but who also showed up in People magazine and newspaper style sections,” Thomas Schwartz, a historian at Vanderbilt University, said.

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Schwartz, author of Henry Kissinger and the Dilemmas of American Power said, “Because of his background in Nazi Germany, Kissinger was suspicious that elections didn’t always bring in liberal democracy, but could lead to a different type of people’s choice, mass rule and dictatorship.

Assessing Kissinger’s record is now a job for historians. For the father of two, morality was always complex. In his own words, “The most fundamental problem of politics is not the control of wickedness but the limitation of righteousness.”

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