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Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger dies aged 100

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Washington DC | November 30, 2023 9:50:59 AM IST
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger died on Wednesday at his home in Connecticut at the age of 100, The Washington Post reported.

Kissinger's death was announced in a statement by his consulting firm, which did not mention the cause. Kissinger, a scholar, statesman and celebrity diplomat held unparalleled power over US foreign policy during the administrations of US Presidents - Richard M Nixon and Gerald Ford and afterwards as a consultant and writer, shared opinions that shaped global politics and business, according to The Washington Post report.

Heinz Alfred Kissinger was born in Germany's Furth on May 27, 1923. He was 12 years old when the Nuremberg Laws stripped Germany's Jews of their citizenship. Sponsored by a relative in New York, Kissinger and his family left Germany and moved to the US in August 1938. He became Henry after he moved to the US.

As the only person ever to be White House National Security Advisor and US Secretary of State at the same time, he had control over US foreign policy that has rarely been equalled by anyone who was not the president, The Washington Post reported.

Kissinger and Vietnam's Le Duc Tho shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the secret negotiations that led to the 1973 Paris Agreement and ended the participation of the US military in the Vietnam War. His "shuttle diplomacy" after the 1973 Middle East war helped stabilize ties between Israel and its Arab neighbours.

He was the architect of Nixon's historic opening to China. As the theoretician of detente with the Soviet Union, Kissinger earned much of the credit for policy shifts that redirected the course of world affairs, according to The Washington Post report.

With his German accent, incisive wit, owlish looks and zest for socializing in Hollywood, he was instantly recognized across the world. When he was appointed US Secretary of State, a Gallup poll found him to be the most admired person in the country, the report said.

He also became the target of critics who called him unprincipled and amoral. He refrained from visiting Oslo to accept the Nobel award over fear of hostile protests.

After leaving the government at the end of the Ford administration, Kissinger accepted consulting positions. However, he spent most of the first few years working on the first two volumes of his massive memoirs, written with the help of British editor Harold Evans.

He even started a business advising blue-chip corporate clients on international policy. Apart from consulting work, Kissinger wrote a syndicated column about world affairs and appeared frequently on "Nightline" and other television news programs.

Even in his final years, he continued to write books and participated in conferences and parties. In July 2023, at the age of 100, Kissinger visited China. During his visit to China, he received a warm welcome from senior Chinese officials, who praised him for being a statesman unrivalled in the US.

His visit to Beijing came amid the strained ties between the US and China. Notably, the ties between the US and China became strained after the then-US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August 2022, which China claims part of its territory. (ANI)

 
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