Henry Kissingerone of the most powerful and influential secretaries of state in US history… the man who helped shape US foreign policy for decades is dead.
The famed statesman, diplomat, author and scholar died Wednesday at his home in Connecticut. The cause of death is unclear.
Kissinger was widely considered the most powerful secretary of state since World War II and served as a top adviser to presidents Richard Nixon And Gerald Ford.
In the 1970s, Kissinger negotiated America’s exit from the Vietnam War, helped open the US to China, stabilized relations between Israel and Arab countries in the Middle East, and eased tensions with the Soviet -Union. He won the Nobel Prize for his peace efforts in Vietnam, but critics say Kissinger saw the handwriting on the wall — the war was a losing battle — and negotiated the peace deal as a face-saver.
He was always controversial, both revered and reviled. He was praised for opening up China and restoring American relations with Russia, but he also orchestrated the secret carpet bombing of Cambodia. And he played a central role in the effort to overthrow Chile’s democratically elected president.
When Kissinger wasn’t shaping US foreign policy, he was cultivating a playboy image in Hollywood… dating movie stars like Candice Bergen, Shirley MacLaine, Jill St John And Liv Ullman.
Kissinger was born in Germany and fled to the US as a teenager in 1938. He studied at Harvard before climbing the ranks in Washington DC
Despite leaving the federal government in 1977, Kissinger remained a prominent influence on foreign policy and business…although his legacy is celebrated by some and despised by others.