thus forged his myth as the benchmark of state pragmatism.
“He’s a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch,” he is said to have said of Pinochet. That’s how Kissinger was… and that’s how he is. Because Kissinger is not dead. His identification with historical moments of the second half of the 20th century is so clear that the fact that he is still alive surprises many. Kissinger turns 100 years old this Saturday.
There was a time when Henry Alfred Kissinger was constantly on television. Those were the black-and-white images of the newsreels. which showed him with heads of government, kings and mandarins setting the world to rights, which for a U.S. leader was more like giving orders on how things should be.
Before the spotlight, was Secretary of State from 1966 to 1977first under Richard Nixon as president and then under Gerald Ford. Then, behind the scenes of power he continued to command a lot.
A German-born American Jew
Kissinger was born in Germany on May 27, 1923, into a Jewish family in the Bavarian city of Fürth. In 1938, fleeing Nazi persecution, his family moved to New York. Arriving in America, he was a shy and quiet teenager. His education was spent in a high school in the German Jewish immigrant community. Later, he worked in a shaving brush factory, while in the evenings he studied at George Washington High School.
In early 1943, when he was drafted into the U.S. Army in anticipation of the country’s entry into World War II. There he ended up working for Military Intelligence. His intelligence, training and fluent German led him to perform or lead missions in enemy territory.
‘Peace, Legitimacy and Balance’.
After the war, Kissinger studied political science at Harvard University. and while studying he continued to work there as a professor or as an advisor to the Psychological Strategy Board. It was clear to him. His doctoral thesis, entitled Peace, Legitimacy and Equilibrium.was on the statesmen of Castlereagh and Metternich. He did not leave Harvard. His work as a teacher and professor was always related to defense and international relations.
He entered politics on the side of the Republican Party. In 1955, he became an advisor to the National Security Council and the Security Operations Coordinating Board. In 1955 and 1956, he was director of study in Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was also a consultant to various government agencies.
From Rockefeller to Nixon
He wanted to have a greater influence on American politics and took sides. Kissinger was a supporter and advisor to Nelson Rockefeller.. The New York governor sought the Republican Party nomination for president in 1960, 1964 and 1968. But he never succeeded.
Richard Nixon learned of Kissinger’s abilities and appointed him National Security Advisor. He was put in charge of everything related to internal order, security and other issues in the field, and more importantly, he became the president’s closest advisor.
Kissinger survived because he became entrenched in so many areas of the political structure that removing him would have led to chaos.”
He became indispensable. He became involved in virtually every activity of the Nixon administration.. As such, he was one of the few who could go against the president. In spite of this, he was never one of those who fell in the many government crises of that Republican cabinet.
“Not because he was the best diplomat he (Nixon) could find -there were other excellent negotiators-, nor because the two got along well -that was not the case-. Nor because they shared political convictions or ideas. Kissinger survived because he gained a foothold in so many areas of the political structure that removing him would have led to chaos“says Robert Greene in his book 48 Laws of Power.
Kissinger in 6 sentences
“Diplomacy is the art of limiting power.”
“Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.”
“Communism finds a large audience where it does not rule.”
“Intellectuals are cynical and have never built a cathedral.”
“Ninety percent of politicians give the remaining ten percent a bad name.”
“As a statesman, one has to operate on the assumption that problems have to be solved.”
Nobel Prize… of Peace?
So great was Kissinger’s power and influence that his support for Nixon’s candidacy was crucial to the president’s repeat as the Republican candidate in the 1972 election. Nixon won and appointed him secretary of state.. Then the Watergate bomb exploded, taking the president but not Kissinger, who continued with Gerald Ford.
He is the greatest war criminal on the loose in the world,” the writer Gore Vidal has said of Kissinger.
In 1973, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, but not without controversy. His solutions to the problems were seen by much of the world as partial and unfair. Two members of the committee awarding the prize resigned to express their disagreement.
The writer Gore Vidal defined Kissinger as. “the greatest war criminal on the loose in the world.” The reality is that he is accused of many human rights violations and of being the instigator of systematic genocides of political groups. Baltasar Garzón even sent a rogatory commission concerning human rights violations in the United States, but the U.S. State Department rejected it.
From Vietnam to Mao
At the helm of U.S. foreign policy, Kissinger directed the opening of relations with. Mao’s China and was a pioneer in the policy of détente with the Soviet Union. In addition, it succeeded in signing the SALT I Treaties and preparing the ground for the subsequent signing of its successor, the SALT II Treaties, all of them to limit ballistic missiles.
The archives have shown Kissinger’s involvement in bombing raids on Laos and Cambodia to cut off North Vietnamese supplies.”
To his credit also appears the negotiation of the Paris Peace Accords, ending US involvement in the Vietnam War. However, later declassified archives have shown that the US had not been involved in the Vietnam War. Kissinger’s involvement in the bombing of Laos and Cambodia. To cut off supplies to the North Vietnamese army.
He was involved in initiating the process of collaboration and negotiation in the Middle East, specifically in the conflict in the Arab world, sitting the basis for the realization of the Camp David Accords.and succeeded in putting an end to the Yom Kippur War. However, the documents and archives show a Kissinger little interested in the Israeli cause. He felt that the government of Israel was nothing more than a nuisance.
His weakness for American dictatorships
Under Kissinger the US continued to recognize and maintain relations with right-wing governments, whether dictatorial or democratic.with the ultimate aim of ensuring the predominance of capitalist and neo-liberalist tendencies over leftist, communist and socialist ones in South America. But Kissinger would go further than any of his predecessors in the region.
He was one of the most destructive Secretaries of State in the history of this country.”
“Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the history of this country,” Democrat Bernie Sanders, who in recent years has tried unsuccessfully to be the Democratic nominee for the U.S. presidency, assures today. “I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend.. Consider me someone who will not listen to Kissinger,” he said in 2016.
Against Allende’s “communist” Chile.
Kissinger was key to the rise of all the Southern Cone dictatorships, from that of Chile to that of Argentina, passing through that of Uruguay. It recognized and maintained relations with right-wing governments, whether dictatorial or democratic, in order to ensure the predominance in the region of capitalist and neoliberalist options over left-wing, communist and socialist ones.
I do not see why we have to allow a country to become communist due to the irresponsibility of its people.”
Official documents consulted in the last few years show that in 1976 Kissinger outlined plans to “crush Cuba”. with air raids. That did not happen, but Chile did. He was the greatest advocate of the need to intervene in the country that had democratically elected Salvador Allende. He considered his government communist.
“I don’t see why we have to wait and allow a country to become communist because of the irresponsibility of its own people,” Kissinger went so far as to say. Thus, he supported the coup d’état of September 11, 1973, which killed Allende and Chilean democracy. In return, Augusto Pinochet became a son of a bitch, “but our son of a bitch”.