Geopolitics & World-affairs
Henry Kissinger, the mastermind behind the US-China alliance and a controversial former Secretary of State with a Nobel Prize, passed away at the age of 100
Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state and diplomat who shaped US foreign policy during the Cold War and built the US relationship with China with the help of its clandestine ally in South Asia, Pakistan, which promoted radicalization and terrorism in the region, died Wednesday at the age of 100 at his home in Connecticut.
Kissinger Associates Inc., his geopolitical consulting firm, announced his death. Kissinger exercised unusual influence on global politics under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford with the help of its controversial regime change policy with the help of pliable anti-communist leaders and supporting dictatorships in China.
As a result, he has always been considered one of the most contentious diplomats in US history, having shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Le Duc Tho for negotiating a cease-fire in Vietnam in 1973. His Nobel Prize prompted resignations from the Nobel committee.
Henry Alfred Kissinger was born in Fürth, Germany in 1923. He fled Germany in 1938 during the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler, who became president in 1934 after the death of President Hindenburg in 1934 and became a US citizen in 1943.
He was a history and political science student who went on to become a professor at Harvard University in 1962. Kissinger became President Richard Nixon's key foreign policy adviser after the 1968 election.
On September 22, 1973, Henry Kissinger was sworn in as Secretary of State in the East Room of the White House.
He was the driving force behind the detente policy with the Soviet Union that led to arms control agreements, orchestrating the opening of relations with the People's Republic of China, engaging in quiet negotiations in the Middle East to end the Yom Kippur War, and negotiating the Paris Peace Accords, which ended American involvement in the Vietnam War.
He is infamous for his policies of US bombing of Cambodia during the time of the Vietnam War, which garnered harsh criticism from civil society at the time.
He also coordinated the regime change operation in Chile to depose the democratically elected government of socialist Salvador Allende by arming the Chilean military officer Augusto José Ramón Pinochet Ugarte, popularly known as Pinochet.
He also handed Argentina's military dictatorship the "green light" for their Dirty War, as well as US support for Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War, notwithstanding Pakistan's genocide.
During the time of the Bangladesh Liberation War, he used derogatory words against Indians and the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. After his death, his statements "Indians b*st*rds, Indira Gandhi a b***h" resurfaced in the news.
He was vehemently opposed to India favoring Pakistan and persuaded President Nixon to send a carrier fleet to the Indian Ocean to support and assist Pakistan. But, with the support of the Soviet Union, India was on its way to liberate Bangladesh, and the country deployed a nuclear-powered submarine into the Indian Ocean ahead of the US carrier fleet, forcing them to detour their route.
However, he eventually accepted his policy blunder. He described the stance as "a case history of political misjudgment." "The issue (Pakistan crisis) exploded on us while Pakistan was our sole path to China," wrote Henry Kissinger in his White House Years, where he served as US President Richard Nixon's national security adviser and later as secretary of state.
This year, precisely 52 years after his secret trip to Beijing in July 1971, when tensions between the US and China went high over the Taiwan and South China Sea issues, he returned to China and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Kissinger's legacy is still contentious and divisive in American politics. He is regarded as a partially successful but controversial Secretary of State while earning accusations of war crimes.
Following his federal tenure, Kissinger established a recognized consulting firm, Kissinger Associates Inc., advised corporate elites, and provided media analysis. George W. Bush appointed him to head a 9/11 investigation commission, but he resigned due to criticism.