At the age of 100, Henry Kissinger passed away. He was a key figure in US foreign policy throughout the Cold War and a polarizing figure overall. While Presidents Nixon and Ford were in office, he oversaw foreign policy and was the nation’s security advisor. Even though he stepped down from his position in the mid-1970s, many leaders sought his advice for decades afterward.
At his home in Connecticut, the former diplomat who was born in Germany passed away. In his eulogy, former US President George W. Bush addressed the nation’s “lost one of the most dependable and distinctive voices on foreign affairs” and led the tributes.
Blair, the former prime minister of the United Kingdom, praised Kissinger as a master diplomat and said that “a genuine love of the free world and the need to protect it” were his driving forces. Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, daughters of President Richard Nixon, praised Kissinger’s life story, calling it “so unique – and so thoroughly American.”
“Henry Kissinger will long be remembered for his many achievements in advancing the cause of peace,” the statement said. “But it was his character that we will never forget.” The schoolteacher’s son was born in Germany in 1923, but he and his family fled the Nazis in 1938 and initially arrived in the United States. His natural Bavarian accent lingered in his speech.
Following his naturalization in 1943, he served for three years in the United States Army, eventually being transferred to the Counter Intelligence Corps. He was a professor of international relations at Harvard University after completing his undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees. His appointment as national security adviser by President Nixon in 1969 gave him tremendous influence over US foreign policy.
Under his leadership, the United States withdrew from the Vietnam War, mended fences with China, and ended the 1973 Yom Kippur War in the Middle East, which pitted Israel against Egypt and Syria. He served as both national security adviser and secretary of state from 1969 to 1977. All of shuttle diplomacy sprang from that one endeavor.
The president of Israel, Isaac Herzog, praised Kissinger’s role in the peace deal with Egypt, writing on social media, “the entire family of nations is blessed to this day by the fruits of the historic processes he led.” Israel is presently engaged in a conflict with Hamas. The news of Kissinger’s death quickly became a trending topic on the Chinese social media site Weibo, where he had long-lasting fame.
He was described as “an old friend of the Chinese people” in his obituary published in China News. He had a significant impact on US-China ties, and China Central Television hailed him as “a legendary diplomat” and a “living fossil”.
Kissinger faced harsh criticism over the years from individuals who claimed he prioritized human rights over international relations and supported authoritarian governments, such as Augusto Pinochet in Chile, and his rivalry with the Soviet Union.
Even after he passed away, people continued to be angry with his actions, particularly those pertaining to Argentina and Cambodia. “Henry Kissinger, War Criminal Beloved by America’s Ruling Class, Finally Dies” reads Rolling Stone’s obituary, while the left-leaning Huffpost splashes “The Beltway Butcher” over a portrait of him on its home page.
But Kissinger was unconcerned about criticism. The gray-haired statesman told CBS, “That’s a reflection of their ignorance,” in an interview just before he turned 100. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with North Vietnamese leader Le Duc Tho in 1973, but Duc Tho declined to accept the prize.
As a result of the prize, two Nobel committee members decided to step down. Although Kissinger resigned from his position in 1977, he remained an active public affairs analyst. His advice was sought after by legislators and twelve US presidents, ranging from John F. Kennedy to Joe Biden.
The tweet below verifies the news of Henry Kissinger Death:
Henry Kissinger has died at 100. https://t.co/20jBH8npuS
— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) November 30, 2023
Notably, no American has ever dealt directly with every single Chinese leader, from Mao Zedong to Xi Jinping, save for Kissinger. In addition to writing 21 books and serving on the boards of several companies, he was a regular at conferences discussing national security and international affairs.
Despite a thaw in relations between China and the US, Kissinger continued a busy life after turning 100. In July, he made an unexpected trip to Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, where he was feted.
It was “it’s unfortunate that a private citizen” had access to Chinese authorities but the US government did not, according to National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who expressed the White House’s disapproval of the visit. The question of whether Kissinger would reconsider any of his actions came up during an interview he gave to ABC in July 2022, while on a book tour, at the age of 99.
“I’ve been thinking about these problems all my life. It’s my hobby as well as my occupation,” he said. “And so the recommendations I made were the best of which I was then capable.” His five grandkids, two children from a prior marriage (Elizabeth and David), and his wife of nearly 50 years, Nancy Maginnes Kissinger, will carry on his legacy.
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