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In his 100th year, Kissinger remains a controversial figure


Some consider Kissinger, who celebrates his centenary on Saturday, a visionary, while others see him as a “war criminal”, but “Al-Hakim”, with his bent stature and his famous glasses with their large dark frames, is still active.

On his 100th birthday, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger continues to be heard by top world leaders and adroitly advises on geopolitical issues, still impressing as much as dividing.

On Tuesday, the former foreign minister participated in a ceremony honoring his centenary at the very elite New York Economic Club, where he blew out candles on a chocolate cake.

Of course, he appears in public only rarely and often by video as he did in Davos last January, but for the man who made his mark on US foreign policy in the second half of the twentieth century, that continuity is exceptional.

His New York office and his consulting firm, Kissinger Associates, maintain a relatively high profile with elites in Washington and abroad, including among Democrats such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who once said she “relies on the advice of her friend.”


Kissinger, who was a major player in global diplomacy during the Cold War and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, launched rapprochement with Moscow and Beijing in the seventies of the last century, relying on a pragmatic vision of the world that is a kind of “realistic politics” in the American way.

Indicating that his vision of the world has not changed, he stressed to his hosts on Tuesday that it is the duty of the United States to defend its “vital interests,” and said: “We must always be stronger in order to resist any pressure.”

Even regarding the war in Ukraine, when he called for a cease-fire, he said: “We have reached a point where we have achieved our strategic goal,” considering that “the Russian military attempt to swallow Ukraine has failed.”

But the image of the man with the hoarse voice and accent inherited from his German origins is still associated with dark pages in US history, such as support for the 1973 coup in Chile or the invasion of East Timor in 1975, and certainly Vietnam.

“For me, there is no doubt that his policy has caused the death of hundreds of thousands and the destruction of democracy in a number of countries… I am amazed that he has escaped punishment,” said human rights lawyer Reed Kalman Brody.

bombing operations

In fact, the man did not face any prosecutions, and a case that was filed against him in 2004 was dismissed.

In an investigation published Wednesday, The Intercept for investigative journalism, based on documents from the archives of the US Department of Defense (Pentagon) and testimonies of survivors, confirms that the American bombing campaign in Cambodia between 1969 and 1973, whose architect Henry Kissinger was, was underestimated, as it claimed the lives of a number of civilians is far greater than has been acknowledged.

Muntasir Mamoon, a historian at the University of Dhaka, points out that Kissinger “actively supported the genocide in Bangladesh” in 1971, and said: “I see no reason to praise Kissinger,” stressing that many countries in several countries share his point of view, including Vietnam.

“The irony is that we remember he made peace but we forget everything he did to prolong the war, not only in Vietnam but also in Cambodia and Laos,” says historian Caroline Eisenberg of Hofstra University in the United States.


A young German Jew, Heinz Alfred Kissinger, was born on May 27, 1923 in Fürth, Bavaria, and at the age of fifteen he sought refuge in the United States with his family before becoming an American citizen at the age of twenty.

The teacher’s son joined the military intelligence and the US Army before starting his studies at Harvard University, where he was a brilliant student and also taught.

Kissinger imposed himself as the face of global diplomacy, when Republican Richard Nixon invited him to the White House in 1969 to assume the position of National Security Adviser and then Secretary of State. He held both positions from 1973 to 1975, and he remained the master of American diplomacy under Gerald Ford until 1977.

During that period, the détente with the Soviet Union and the improvement of relations with China were launched under Mao, during secret trips to organize Nixon’s historic visit to Beijing in 1972.

Also, in complete secrecy, and in conjunction with the bombing of Hanoi, he conducted negotiations with Le Duc Tho to end the Vietnam War. For signing the cease-fire he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize with the North Vietnamese in 1973, in one of the most controversial prizes in Nobel history.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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