Henry Kissinger is still controversial at age 100
The man who – for a part – keeps the ear of the greats of this world and skilfully heeds their advice in geopolitics: former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who celebrates his 100th birthday on Saturday, fascinates and Still divide by the same amount.
Visionary to some, “war criminal” to others, the “wise man” with a curvaceous silhouette but still active remains recognizable by his large frames of dark glasses.
The former chief of US diplomacy attended a tribute to his 100 years at New York’s very exclusive Economic Club on Tuesday, blowing out the candles on a chocolate cake.
His public appearances have become rare over the years, and most often via videoconferencing as in Davos last January, but any number of people who left their mark on United States foreign policy in the second half of the 20th century For man, this longevity is extraordinary.
And he, from his offices in New York and his consulting firm Kissinger Associates, maintains a relative aura with the elite in Washington and abroad, including Democrats like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has one day called “the advice to rely on.” ” Said. his friend”.
– “Realpolitik” –
A key player in world diplomacy during the Cold War, this Nobel Peace Prize laureate began a rapprochement with Moscow and Beijing in the 1970s, armed with a pragmatic vision of the world, a kind of American-style “realpolitik”.
In a sign that his view of the world has hardly changed, he felt in front of his guests on Tuesday that the United States had to defend its “vital interests.”
“We must always be strong enough to resist any pressure,” he said.
Or even on the war in Ukraine when he advocates for a ceasefire. “We have reached the point where we have accomplished our strategic objective. Russia’s military efforts to absorb Ukraine have failed.”
But the image of the man with the gruff voice and strong accent inherited from his German origins remains murky and associated with dark pages in United States history, such as his support for the 1973 coup d’état in Chile or the invasion of East Timor. In 1975 and of course, Vietnam.
“For me, there is no doubt that his policy has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed democracy in many countries,” says Reid Kalman Brody, a lawyer specializing in human rights.
“I’m surprised he got away with it,” he said.
– bombing –
In fact he has never been concerned by the courts, with one complaint being dismissed in 2004.
In an investigation published Wednesday, The Intercept, a journalistic investigative site, based on Pentagon archival documents and testimonies of survivors, claims that the US bombing campaign in Cambodia between 1969 and 1973, whose architect was Henry Kissinger, was greatly was underestimated. Causing far more civilian deaths than those previously admitted.
Historian Muntassir Maimoon of Dhaka University points out that Mr Kissinger “actively supported the genocide in Bangladesh” in 1971.
“I see no reason to praise Kissinger,” he said, adding that his view was shared in many countries, including Vietnam.
“The irony is that we remember that he made peace but we forget all that he did to prolong the war not only in Vietnam, but in Cambodia and Laos”, historian Carolyn of Hofstra University in the United States Eisenberg says.
– Rest –
Heinz Alfred Kissinger, a young German Jew, was born on May 27, 1923, in Fürth, Bavaria. He took refuge with his family in the United States at the age of 15, before becoming a naturalized American at the age of 20.
The son of a teacher, he joined the military counterintelligence and the US Army before beginning illustrious studies at Harvard, where he also taught.
He established himself as the face of world diplomacy when Republican Richard Nixon called him to the White House in 1969 as National Security Advisor, then as Secretary of State – he served in both positions from 1973 to 1975, and Under Gerald remained a master of diplomacy. Ford until 1977.
It was then that he introduced tensions with the Soviet Union and the disintegration of relations with Mao’s China during secret visits to organize Nixon’s historic visit to Beijing in 1972.
He negotiates with Le Duc Tho to end the Vietnam War, always in the greatest secrecy and in parallel with the bombing of Hanoi.
The signing of the armistice won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 along with the North Vietnamese, one of the most controversial in the history of the Nobel.