One of America’s most distinguished diplomats Henry Kissinger has died at the age of 100. The Reuters news agency reports he was a “diplomatic powerhouse whose roles as a National Security Adviser and Secretary of State under two presidents left an indelible mark on US foreign policy and earned him a controversial Nobel Peace Prize.”
Dr. Kissinger had been active past his centenary, attending meetings in the White House, publishing a book on leadership styles, and testifying before a Senate committee about the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. Last July he made a surprise visit to Beijing to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.
During the 1970s in the midst of the Cold War, he had a hand in many of the epoch-changing global events of the decade while serving under President Richard Nixon. The German-born Jewish refugee’s efforts led to the historic opening of diplomatic ties with China, landmark US-Soviet arms control talks, expanded ties between Israel and its Arab neighbors, and the Paris Peace Accords with North Vietnam.
Dr. Kissinger’s reign as the prime architect of US foreign policy waned with President Nixon’s resignation in 1974 amid the Watergate scandal. But he continued to be a diplomatic force as Secretary of State under President Gerald Ford, and to offer strong opinions throughout the rest of his life.
Reuters writes:”While many hailed Dr. Kissinger for his brilliance and broad experience, others branded him a war criminal for his support of anti-communist dictatorships, especially in Latin America. In his latter years, his travels were circumscribed by efforts by other nations to arrest or question him about past US foreign policy.”
His 1973 Nobel Peace Prize – awarded jointly to North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho, who would decline it – was one of the most controversial ever. Two members of the Nobel committee resigned over the selection as questions arose about the secret American bombing of Cambodia.
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