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Henry Kissinger, dominant former secretary of state, dead at 100

Former diplomat left major impact on US policy around the world

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Thursday 30 November 2023 16:56 GMT
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Henry Kissinger, America's most famous diplomat, dies aged 100

Henry Kissinger, the influential US diplomat who served under presidents Nixon and Ford, died on Wednesday, 29 November, according to his consulting firm.

Kissinger, who lived to be 100, died at home in Connecticut of unspecified causes, the firm said.

The diplomat, who served as Secretary of State in multiple administrations, “was a respected American scholar and statesman,” according to Kissinger Associates, Inc.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Maginnes Kissinger, two children, and five grandchildren.

The US statesman, who helped negotiate an end to the US role in Vietnam, guided a rapprochement with China, and facilitated arms control agreements with the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War, will be interred at a private family service, with a public memorial planned at a later date in New York City.

“Henry Kissinger will be long rembered for his many achievements in advancing the cause of peace,” former president Nixon’s daughters Tricia Cox Nixon and Julie Nixon Eisenhower said in a statement on Wednesday.

The former Harvard University faculty member is also remembered for his role in controversial US actions around the world.

He authorised the secret carpet-bombing of neutral Cambodia in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, which killed at least 150,000 civilians.

He helped sculpt the Nixon administration’s attempt to foment a coup that deposed Chile’s democratically elected socialist leader, Salvador Allende, in 1973.

Kissinger privately believed the Vietnam War could not be won outright, and advocated for a gradual drawdown and an armistice with North Vietnam, eventually resulting in the 1973 Paris Peace Accords after secret negotiations with North Vietnam President Le Duc Tho.

The diplomat has been blamed for the fall of Saigon two years after the agreement, which allowed North Vietnamese troops to remain in the South.

Historian Greg Grandin has estimated that the diplomat’s favoured policies in Cambodia, Chile, and other nations contributed to the death of between three and four million people.

In addition to his formal roles in the Nixon and Ford administrations, Kissinger advised numerous other US presidents, from JFK to Joe Biden.

After leaving public office, Kissinger wrote numerous books, continued to raise his profile as a celebrity public intellectual, and consulted with US leaders, including advising George W Bush’s presidency in the aftermath of 9/11 and supporting the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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