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Remembering Henry Kissinger: A Historical Figure and Controversial Diplomat


TOKYO (AP) — The death of former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has sparked polarized reactions across the globe. Even decades after his official service, Kissinger’s impact as one of America’s most influential diplomats cannot be denied.

Kissinger, who passed away at the age of 100 on Wednesday, has been hailed by world leaders as a skilled defender of U.S. interests. However, on social media and elsewhere, he is widely criticized as a war criminal responsible for long-lasting damage around the world.

Former President George W. Bush expressed his grief, stating, “America has lost one of the most dependable and distinctive voices” in foreign affairs. This sentiment echoes the thoughts of numerous high-level officials, both past and present.

Kissinger’s own personal history added to his legendary status. Having fled Nazi persecution as a young Jewish boy, he later served in the United States Army, fighting against the regime that had forced him to flee. His appointment as Secretary of State held great significance, symbolizing not only his greatness but also America’s.

During his time in office, Kissinger wielded immense power and influence, serving under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. He played a pivotal role in the United States’ withdrawal from Vietnam and the establishment of diplomatic ties with China.

In China, Kissinger’s death has reverberated throughout social media, with many mourning the loss of an “old friend.” The state broadcaster CCTV even shared an old segment documenting Kissinger’s groundbreaking secret visit to China in 1971. During this visit, he laid the groundwork for the eventual normalization of relations between China and the United States.

Chinese Ambassador to the United States, Xie Feng, expressed deep shock and sadness at Kissinger’s passing. He emphasized that Kissinger would always be cherished as a valued old friend by the Chinese people.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also acknowledged the indelible mark left by Kissinger on American and world history.

Henry Kissinger’s death has evoked a range of responses, illustrating the complex legacy of this influential figure. Whether viewed as a stalwart defender of U.S. interests or a controversial war criminal, his impact on global diplomacy cannot be ignored.

Remembering Henry Kissinger

Fond Words from Secretary Pompeo

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took to Twitter to express his gratitude for the wisdom and support he received from Henry Kissinger during his time in office. Pompeo praised Kissinger’s guidance, stating that their conversations always left him feeling better prepared and more knowledgeable.

A Controversial Figure

While many mourned Kissinger’s passing, there were also those who criticized his actions. Social media platforms buzzed with videos celebrating his death, and Rolling Stone magazine referred to him as a “war criminal beloved by America’s ruling class.”

A Legacy of Destruction?

Scholar Sophal Ear highlighted the devastating consequences of Kissinger’s bombing campaign in Cambodia. Ear argued that these operations laid the groundwork for the Khmer Rouge regime and resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Cambodians. Even today, the cluster bombs dropped during that time continue to inflict harm on innocent lives.

A Global Influence

Despite leaving his official position, Kissinger remained a prominent figure in global affairs. During a diplomatic low point in US-China relations, he met with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Beijing, showcasing his ability to maintain influence beyond his time in office.

A Legacy of Peace

Nixon’s daughters, Tricia Nixon Cox and Julie Nixon Eisenhower, praised their father’s partnership with Kissinger, which they believe brought about a generation of peace in America. They credited Kissinger with initiating the Paris negotiations that led to the US’ withdrawal from the costly Vietnam War. Furthermore, they highlighted his role in opening diplomatic channels with China and advancing détente with the Soviet Union.

In summary, Henry Kissinger leaves behind a complex legacy that deserves both remembrance and critical examination. While some appreciate his influence on politics and diplomacy, others condemn the devastating impact of his actions. No matter one’s perspective, there is no denying Kissinger’s profound impact on global affairs.

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