USA | Henry Kissinger has passed away
Defence Redefined
Published on 30/11/2023 at 09:44

Henry Kissinger breathed his last at the age of 100 at his home in Connecticut, USA, leaving his indelible mark on the science of international relations and diplomacy and having been honored for his contribution with a Nobel Prize.

Kissinger was born in Furth, Germany on May 27, 1923. To avoid the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime he immigrated with his family to the USA in 1938.

He acquired US citizenship in 1943 and served as an intelligence officer during World War II. After the war he studied on scholarship at Harvard University, earning a Master’s Degree in 1952 and a Doctorate in 1954. He was a professor at Harvard for the next 17 years, where he established the famous summer seminar, which happened to be attended by Valéry Giscard d’Estaing and Bullet Ezevit.

Kissinger served as an adviser to government agencies, including in 1967 when he acted as the State Department’s intermediary in Vietnam. He used his connections with President Lyndon Johnson’s administration to pass information about the peace negotiations to the Nixon camp.

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When Nixon’s promise to end the Vietnam War helped him win the 1968 presidential election, he brought Kissinger into the White House as national security adviser. In 1973, in addition to his role as national security adviser, Kissinger was appointed Secretary of State, giving him unquestioned authority over foreign affairs.

The 1973 Arab-Israeli conflict launched Kissinger’s reputation as a diplomat in a recital of personal diplomacy that made him famous. For thirty-two days he went back and forth between Jerusalem and Damascus until he forged a long-term agreement between Israel and Syria on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

In an effort to reduce Soviet influence, Kissinger reached out to China, the Soviets’ main ideological rival. The result was Nixon’s historic summit in Beijing with Chairman Mao Zedong and the final formalization of relations between the two countries.

The Watergate scandal, which forced Nixon to resign, did not affect Kissinger, who continued as Secretary of State when Ford took office in the summer of 1974. But Ford replaced him as national security adviser in an effort to listen to more voices on foreign policy.

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Later that year Kissinger went with Ford to Vladivostok, Soviet Union, where the US President met Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev, and agreed on a framework for a strategic arms pact. The agreement led to a recession and easing of US-Soviet tensions.

In 1970 he worked with the CIA to overthrow the Marxist but democratically elected President of Chile, Salvador Allende, while he said in a memo in the wake of Argentina’s bloody 1976 coup that military dictators should be encouraged.

When Ford lost to Jimmy Carter in 1976, Kissinger left public office.

After leaving the government, Kissinger founded a consulting firm in New York, Kissinger Associates Inc, which offered advice to the global corporate and political elite. He served on corporate boards and various foreign policy and security forums, wrote books, and became a regular media commentator on international affairs.

Divorced from his first wife, Ann Fleischer, in 1964, he married Nancy Maginnes, an aide to New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, in 1974. He had two children with his first wife.

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