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Friday, February 16, 2024

Henry Kissinger dies at age 100

The former US secretary of state passed away on Wednesday

Former US Secretary of State and Nobel Peace Prize winner Henry Kissinger passed away at age 100 on Wednesday.

The renowned diplomat and influential foreign policy thinker died at his home in Connecticut, his consulting firm, Kissinger Associates, said in a statement.

After quitting the military, Kissinger earned a PhD degree at Harvard University and taught international relations before becoming President Richard Nixon’s top national security adviser in 1969.

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He eventually served as secretary of state under Nixon and his successor, President Gerald Ford.

A skilled negotiator committed to realism, Kissinger was instrumental in improving US relations with the Soviet Union in the 1970s and paved a way for the normalization of Washington’s ties with China.

With Kissinger’s stewardship, the Nixon administration’s easing of travel and trade restrictions against Beijing was instrumental in kick-starting China’s rise to prominence as an industrial economy.

In 1973, Kissinger shared the Nobel Peace Prize with diplomat Le Duc Tho for negotiating the Paris Peace Accords, which facilitated the withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam. In 1974, he helped to negotiate Israel’s disengagement agreements with Syria and Egypt, which officially ended the Yom Kippur War.

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Kissinger remained active after leaving office, giving lectures and interviews, in which he commented on world affairs. One of his last trips was a visit to Beijing in July 2023, during which he met with President Xi Jinping. He also repeatedly warned the US and China that if they continued on their current foreign policy course, they risked sliding into open military confrontation.

On the Ukraine conflict, Kissinger described the West’s decision to offer Kiev a pathway to NATO as “a grave mistake” which led to the hostilities in the first place. While the veteran diplomat opposed Ukraine’s membership in the US-led military bloc before the conflict, he later changed his stance, arguing that the country’s neutrality is “no longer meaningful” amid the ongoing fighting.

Last year, he also suggested that Ukraine could relinquish its territorial claims to Crimea and grant autonomy to the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics – all Russian territories now – to achieve peace, an idea repeatedly rejected by Kiev.