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Henry Kissinger has reached his 100th birthday and there is no living being with more experience in international affairs than he is. From his office on the 33rd floor of a Manhattan skyscraper, he still advises heads of state, prime ministers, dictators and monarchs on world affairs and how to avoid World War III. There is nothing to celebrate about him, his enemies say: he was only good at recognizing the changes that were taking place and moving in the interest of the United States, and his foreign policy model never respected the moral values, such as democracy and human rights, that were the consensus. The Americans won it in the world. America’s innocence ended in the eight years he spent as secretary of state for Richard Nixon and Henry Ford, when realpolitik trumped all other considerations.
Born on May 27, 1923 in Fürth, a small town in Bavaria, to Jewish parents, Kissinger left Germany in 1938 with his family because he was unable to continue his studies. He would like to play football, he was good at it, but even that was not possible for a Jew. They went to London, and then to America, where he graduated from Harvard University. He was smart, daring and full of ideas. At the age of twenty he received citizenship, and since he spoke German, he was drafted into the army and sent to the Ardennes. Once he occupied Krefeld, they gave it to him to run, and he did it very well. His native language earned him a role in counterintelligence and proximity to agencies, which came in handy when returning home from war. He aimed to become an FBI agent, but they didn’t trust him. He began dealing with international affairs, writing and giving advice wanted and unsolicited. I love. He’s had stories with famous celebrities, including Diane Sawyer, Candice Bergen, Shirley MacLaine, and Liv Ullman. He explained that legitimacy is important in foreign policy and should not be confused with justice. Something unjust can also be done, such as the partition of Poland after the Congress of Vienna in 1815, but if other countries agree, the injustice becomes legitimate.
friendship with Nixon
he met Richard Nixon in 1967, calling him “the most dangerous man ever to run for president.” But she quickly changed her mind and helped him win the 1969 election. They found they complemented each other: Kissinger was smart, cosmopolitan, and brilliant. Nixon was a classic American pragmatist. They were united by one common trait: insatiable ambition.
Appointed Secretary of State, Kissinger began a policy of deterrence with Russia and rapprochement with China with the aim of creating an anti-Soviet alliance. But there was a problem of the Vietnam War still to be resolved. He didn’t care much about that small country in Southeast Asia, but he knew that if the Americans abandoned it, their allies around the world would think they could meet the same fate someday. It was Kissinger, to speed things up, who advised bombing Cambodia, from which enemy raids were launched. Americans dropped more explosives on the country than were used in all of World War II, causing thousands of civilian casualties. He then negotiated an end to the conflict with North Vietnamese leader Le Duc Tho and they were both awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. Rejected by Le Duc Tho, Kissinger “humbly” accepted it amid thousands of arguments.
In November 1972 he gave an interview to the journalist Oriana Fallaci, which he later bitterly regretted. He said the Vietnam War was “absurd” and that he did not care about people’s judgment or approval. He felt like a cowboy out of a Western movie, “entering town alone with his horse.” He is unarmed, but he acts by being in the right place at the right time.” After the interview, Nixon did not want to see him again for weeks. Kissinger went to his ranch to make peace, but the president turned him away through security. As a reclusive cowboy, Kissinger favored General Videla’s seizure of power in Argentina and was not averse to eliminating thousands of opponents of the junta. He also supported Augusto Pinochet’s coup d’état in Chile, which overthrew and killed elected President Salvador Allende. He did nothing to stop the Pakistani massacre of Bengalis in 1971, which killed three million people and raped 400,000 women. In one conversation, he called Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi a witch and a whore. In another conversation with Nixon, after a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, he said that the emigration of Jews from Russia was not a goal of American policy, and that “if the Russians put the Jews in a gas chamber, this should not be an American problem but a human problem.” “.
Kissinger regretted many of the things he said and did, and he often apologized. But who knows what the world would be like today if he wasn’t there. Perhaps we would have had a nuclear war, perhaps all of South America would have been indoctrinated by Soviet-supported Cuban communists, the Soviet Union would still have existed, and Israel would have been wiped out by a coalition of Arab states. It is likely that the hope that foreign policy will have ethics is an illusion, that realpolitik is the only way to keep the world going. But Kissinger, even now that he is 100 years old, continues to give advice, write books, and attend conferences. He says we need to stop fooling ourselves that China is Westerning and that America should have a patient dialogue with Beijing. He says that Russia will not be able to accept defeat, and therefore peace with Ukraine must be sought, and a way to bring Moscow back into the international context should be found. I also think that World War III has never been this close. Let’s hope it’s a blur of age, but it’s not a certainty.
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