(CMR) Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who dominated foreign policy as the United States removed itself from Vietnam and broke down barriers with China, died Wednesday, 29 November. He was 100 years old.
According to the Associated Press, with his gruff yet commanding presence and behind-the-scenes manipulation of power, Kissinger exerted uncommon influence on global affairs under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, earning both vilification and the Nobel Peace Prize. Decades later, his name still provoked impassioned debate over foreign policy landmarks long past.
Kissinger’s power grew during the turmoil of Watergate when the politically attuned diplomat assumed a role akin to co-president to the weakened Nixon.
“No doubt my vanity was piqued,” Kissinger later wrote of his expanding influence. “But the dominant emotion was a premonition of catastrophe.”
Kissinger was a Jew who fled Nazi Germany with his family in his teens and later cultivated the reputation of a respected statesman, giving speeches, offering advice to Republicans and Democrats alike and managing a global consulting business, according to AP.
AP reported that fFor eight restless years — first as national security adviser, later as secretary of state, and for a time in the middle holding both titles — Kissinger ranged across the breadth of major foreign policy issues. He conducted the first “shuttle diplomacy” in the quest for Middle East peace. He used secret channels to pursue ties between the United States and China, ending decades of isolation and mutual hostility.