At 100 years old, Henry Kissinger was still controversial
Visionary for some,
war criminal for others
clever with a curved silhouette, but always recognizable by his large frame of black glasses remains active.
The former head of US diplomacy took part in a tribute to his 100 years at the very select Economic Club of New York on Tuesday, where he blew out candles on a chocolate cake.
His public appearances have become rare over the years, and most often at video conferences such as in Davos last January, but for anyone who has left his mark on US foreign policy in the second half of the 20th century.e century, this longevity is exceptional.
And he maintains from his offices in New York and his consulting firm Kissinger Associatesa relative aura with the elite in Washington and abroad, including among Democrats such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who once said
rely on advice of his
A key player in world diplomacy during the Cold War, this Nobel Peace Prize laureate undertook the rapprochement with Moscow and Beijing in the 1970s, armed with a pragmatic vision of the world, a kind of
Realpolitik american style.
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
We must always be stronger to withstand any pressurehe said.
Or even about the war in Ukraine when he advocates a ceasefire.
” We have reached a point where we have met our strategic goals. Russia’s military attempt to absorb Ukraine has failed. »
Far from unanimous
But the image of the man with the gravelly voice and the strong accent inherited from his German origins remains tarnished and linked to dark pages of US history, such as support for the 1973 coup in Chile or the invasion of East Timor in 1975 and of course Vietnam.
To me there is no doubt that his policies have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and destroyed democracy in many countriesnotes Reed Kalman Brody, an attorney specializing in human rights.
I’m surprised he got away with ithe adds.
Indeed, he has never been concerned by the courts since a complaint was dismissed in 2004.
In a study published Wednesday, The cutan investigative journalism site, claims, based on Pentagon archival documents and survivor testimony, that the American bombing campaign in Cambodia between 1969 and 1973, of which Henry Kissinger was the architect, had been largely underestimated. estimated to cause far more civilian deaths than previously admitted.
Historian Muntassir Mamoon of the University of Dhaka points out that Mr. Kissinger has
actively supported the genocide in Bangladesh in 1971.
I see no reason to praise Kissingerhe 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 Laosadds historian Carolyn Eisenberg, from Hofstra University in the US.
A leading figure in diplomacy
The young German Jew Heinz Alfred Kissinger was born on May 27, 1923 in Fürth, Bavaria. He sought refuge at age 15 in the United States with his family before becoming a naturalized American at age 20.
The son of a teacher, he joined military counterintelligence and the US Army before embarking on brilliant 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 adviser, then as secretary of state. He held both positions from 1973 to 1975, and remained Secretary of State under Gerald Ford until 1977.
It was then that he launched the détente with the Soviet Union and the thawing of relations with Mao’s China during secret trips to organize Nixon’s historic visit to Beijing in 1972.
He also, always in the utmost secrecy and concurrently with the bombings of Hanoi, negotiates with Le Duc Tho to end the Vietnam War.
The signing of an armistice earned him the Nobel Peace Prize with the North Vietnamese in 1973, one of the most controversial in Nobel history.