Henry Kissinger, arguably the most significant Secretary of State in American history since World War II, turns age 100 today.
Sadly, Kissinger has a very checkered history, seen as outstanding in some ways as National Security Adviser and then the head of the State Department under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
But he has also been held complicit for supporting the prolonging of the Vietnam War under Nixon; backing the military coup in Argentina, which led to brutality and the deaths of tens of thousands of Argentines by death squads; the overthrow of the Chilean democracy in 1973, leading to the brutality of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorial regime until 1990; support of the Pakistan dictatorship war against Bangladesh and India in 1971; and the bombing of Cambodia in 1970 and after during the Vietnam War.
On the positive side, he was involved in the negotiation of the Paris Peace Accords ending the Vietnam War; pioneering the policy of detente with the Soviet Union; promoting the opening of relations with the People’s Republic of China; and involvement in shuttle diplomacy that ended the 18 Day Yom Kippur War between Egypt and Israel in 1973.
So Kissinger is looked at by experts as both a “war criminal” but also a statesman who won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the end of the Vietnam War.
Kissinger has been unable to travel freely to many areas of the world, since he left office in 1977, as he could have faced arrest for the evil deeds he endorsed and supported.
He will remain controversial in the future after his passing, but one thing is certain!
You cannot study the history of the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford Presidencies, without realizing the great impact, both negative and positive, of the German Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany!