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WorldAsiaOne Hundred Years of Kissinger. From "White House sex symbol" to "patriarch of geopolitics"

One Hundred Years of Kissinger. From “White House sex symbol” to “patriarch of geopolitics”

Throughout these decades, Kissinger was hailed by wide circles of the Western political and media establishment. And at the same time, he was considered a war criminal in countries where the White House, bolstered by “Kissinger’s diplomatic justification”, carried out invasions and started wars. Once he uttered the famous phrase that foreign policy is the same market, negotiation, in which the rights and actions of the strongest are respected. The 50-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate recognized and pursued the power politics that led America to dominate the world after the collapse of the Soviet Union. And today, when all his peers in the world of politics have long since gone to another world, with a hunched figure, recognizable by the wide rims of dark glasses, Kissinger, out of habit, shares his advice in the field of geopolitics and teaches the world. His categorical views, as always, on Ukraine lately lie in Russia’s “immediate signing of a peace treaty on Western terms” and the rapid formalization of Kiev’s NATO membership.

Former US Secretary of State, diplomat and political scientist Henry Alfred Kissinger. Photo: AP Photo

Will to power and thirst for life

In 1938, as a Jewish teenager, he fled with his parents from Nazi Germany to the United States. On June 19, 1943, after completing basic training in the US Army, Henry Kissinger became a US citizen. Sent to Germany at the end of the Second World War, he was tasked with searching for members of the Gestapo. Returning to the United States, he entered the “forge of the American elite” – Harvard University, from which he received a bachelor’s degree (1950), master’s degree (1951) and doctorate of science (1954). He was an adviser to Republican candidate Nelson Rockefeller in the 1960s and became close to Richard Nixon when the latter was elected as the Republican candidate in the 1968 presidential election. When Nixon was sworn in as the 37th President of the United United on January 20, 1969, Kissinger became a national security adviser. On September 22, 1973, Nixon appointed Kissinger as Secretary of State, equivalent to Secretary of Foreign Affairs. He would also hold this position under Gerald Ford.

President Nixon meets with his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger en route to China. Photo: HUM Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Kissinger, thanks to Jack London’s “thirst for life”, his grip, his will, his ability to move forward (in this he resembles the same Russophobic émigrés as the late Zbigniew Brzezinski or George Soros), has become the one of the most influential politicians in the world. Stranger still, as national security adviser and secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford, he became something of a pop icon, notes the Guardian.

At one time, he was called “the sex symbol of the Nixon administration”. In 1969, Kissinger attended a party full of Washington socialites with an envelope marked “Top Secret” under his arm. The other party guests could barely contain their curiosity, so Kissinger unexpectedly responded to everyone, hitting them: They say the envelope contains a copy of Playboy’s latest issue. Its owner, Hugh Hefner, apparently found it amusing and provided the national security adviser with a free magazine subscription. What was actually in the envelope was a draft of Nixon’s Silent Majority Speech, a now infamous speech designed to draw a clear line between the moral decline of anti-war liberals and Nixon’s unwavering realpolitik. Kissinger was known to Washington’s elite in the 1960s and 1970s as a “playboy”. He liked to be photographed, was a regular on the pages of the yellow press, especially when his adventures with famous women were in full view. For example, when he and actress Jill St. John inadvertently set off the alarm at his Hollywood mansion late at night, it was covered in every mainstream newspaper. (“I taught him chess,” Kissinger later explained).

Former Secretaries of State: Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Cynical and darling of high society

<p>The real top-secret work he did in the 1970s is as dated as he is, political scientist Bhaskar Sunkara, founding editor of the Jacobin Portal, and UCLA professor John Walters note in their article. Within a few years, the authors write, explosions were staged at his suggestion in Laos and Cambodia. Kissinger was so connected to Nixon that they were called “Nixongers”. Kissinger scorned the anti-war movement, dismissively calling the protesters “upper-middle-class schoolchildren” and warning, “The very people who shout ‘power to the people’ will not be the ones who will take over this country s ‘it becomes a test of endurance.” He also overlooked women: “For me, women are nothing more than a hobby, a hobby. No one spends too much time on a hobby.” But there’s no denying that Kissinger had a penchant for golden high-society liberalism, exclusive parties, steaks and camera flashes.<p class=””>High society responded to him in return. Famed American journalist Gloria Steinem, now 89, called Kissinger “the only interesting person in the Nixon administration.” Gossip columnist Joyce Haber described him as “a man with a sense of humor, sophisticated and casual with women”.

President Bill Clinton speaks with former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and James A. Baker III. Photo: AP Photo/Dennis Cook

When Kissinger turned 90 in 2013, the Clintons, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former presidential candidate and former Secretary of State John Kerry and about 300 other celebrities walked into the restaurant on the carpet red to celebrate his birthday. . A Women’s Wear Daily article reports that Bill Clinton and the late John McCain toasted her birthday in a Chinese-style ballroom to make her happy. During the party, McCain enthused that Kissinger “has been a consultant and advisor to every president, Republican and Democrat, since Nixon.” McCain added, “I don’t know anyone who has more respect in the world than Henry Kissinger.”

A follower of realpolitik (“realpolitik”), the principle that foreign policy is determined more by the balance of forces, capabilities, and effectiveness than by doctrine, Kissinger influenced President Nixon to ease relations with the USSR. As for Nixon’s famous trip to China in February 1972, it was preceded by secret meetings of Kissinger in Beijing. “He was extremely good at it, especially considering the president for whom he worked,” Raphael Jacob, a junior researcher at the Raoult-Dandurand Chair at the University of Quebec in Montreal, told the Canadian edition of La Presse. “Before becoming president, Nixon built most of his political career on opposing communism.” “Kissinger has touched or influenced virtually every crisis or opportunity facing us today, and along the way, he has changed the world like few other people,” CNN notes.

“There is no doubt in my mind that his policies have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and the destruction of democracy in many countries,” said Reed Kalman Brody, a human rights lawyer. “I’m amazed he got away with it,” he added.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger with Senator John McCain, 2015. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

accused and untouchable


p class=””>Kissinger had a major influence on Nixon’s decisions during the Vietnam War. “This policy includes illegal bombing in Cambodia. Kissinger was at the forefront of that,” Jacob said. In fact, most people scold Kissinger. The former Secretary of State even avoids going to several countries for fear of being detained and accused of war crimes. In 2002, for example, a Chilean court asked him to answer questions about his role in the 1973 coup and Pinochet’s rise to power. In 2001, a French judge sent police to Kissinger’s hotel room in Paris to serve him with a formal questioning request for the same coup in which several French citizens disappeared.

Around the same time, he canceled a trip to Brazil after rumors surfaced that he would be detained and forced to answer questions about his role in Operation Condor, a 1970s plan to eliminate opponents of pro-American regimes in South America. But in the United States, Kissinger is untouchable. Here, one of the toughest foreign policy strategists of the 20th century, the “playboy”, once shocked by the deaths of his relatives in Nazi Germany, is loved by the rich and powerful, regardless of their political affiliation. . As analysts note, Kissinger’s bipartisan appeal is simple: he became the chief strategist of America’s capital empire at a critical time in that empire’s development.

The Kissinger Doctrine persists today: if sovereign countries refuse to stand on the American side, the United States will quickly begin to undermine their sovereignty. It’s business as usual in America, regardless of the party in the White House. And Kissinger, as long as he lives, will remain one of the main guardians of this “American status quo”.

Photo: REUTERS/Kieran Doherty KD/NMB

In the meantime

Historian Gerald Horn once told the story of how Kissinger nearly drowned while canoeing under one of the largest waterfalls in the world. Thrown into these swirling waters, the statesman was forced to face the horror of losing control, facing a crisis in which even his own incredible influence could not save him from personal disaster. But the panic was temporary – his guide leveled the boat and Kissinger once again escaped unscathed from the clutches of death, appearing in public as an equally inscrutable strategist.

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