Thursday, November 30, 2023

RIP Henry Kissinger

Henry Kissinger advised 12 - yes, 12! - presidents on foreign policy and has passed away at the age of 100. I’m not sure whether he helped Calvin Coolidge as a baby, but he got to just about every other U.S. leader since then.

Hard working literally until the end (he recently co-authored a book on AI), Kissinger is regarded as the most powerful Secretary of State since World War I, having been a top negotiator in deals with China, the former Soviet Union, and Vietnam. Even the current Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, admits to being advised by Kissinger within the past month.

Kissinger was one of the very top - if not top - advisor to Richard Nixon, and he said he would have “excruciatingly long conversations” that would go over and over the same material again and again. Much of the time they would land back on the strategy that the U.S. had to stand up to aggression from all corners of the world or it would lose credibility. This of course extended the awful results in Vietnam, contributing to a long losing and mostly pointless war effort for the U.S.

If you were to ask me, a peace-seeking liberal, I would tell you my opinion is that Kissinger really screwed up this country, making it more war-loving and helping us get to today’s more dangerously isolationist place. But, at the same time, he's always been a bit of a mystery to me (maybe I'm too young) and his legacy remains enigmatic - leaning towards brilliant with a touch of evil.

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