Preeminent US Diplomat Henry Kissinger Dies at 100

( – Henry Kissinger, controversial and longtime U.S. diplomat, has died at age 100. Born in Germany in 1923, Kissinger’s Jewish family escaped the Nazi-controlled country in 1938 to emigrate to the United States. Though he barely spoke English when he arrived in the U.S., he quickly learned English after arriving. He was drafted to the U.S. Army in 1943 and attended Harvard when he was done with his service, eventually becoming a professor at the university.

Kissinger was tapped by President Richard Nixon to become his Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, beginning a long and illustrious career as a statesman.

In 1973, Kissinger and Vietnamese politician Le Duc Tho were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work in making the 1973 Paris agreement happen, which ended the American military’s involvement in the Vietnam War. Tho, however, rejected the Nobel prize, and two members of the deciding committee resigned in protest over Kissinger being given the award. That same year, he worked to stabilize relations between Israel and the rest of the Middle East.

Though many on the right, such as President George W. Bush, lauded Kissinger as an “accomplished and respected public servant,” many on the right saw Kissinger as untrustworthy and bloodthirsty. In the 2016 debate between Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, Sanders attacked Clinton’s record of consulting with Kissinger by saying he was “proud” to not consider Kissinger a friend.

Critics point to Kissinger’s involvement in the 1969 “secret bombings” of Cambodia, which led to the installation of totalitarian dictator Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge, who oversaw the Cambodian genocide of nearly two million Cambodians. One of Kissinger’s greatest critics was the late Christopher Hitchens, called him a war criminal for his actions as a statesman. In “The Price of Power” by journalist Seymour M. Hersh, Kissinger was described as “blind to the human costs” of the actions he encouraged the U.S. government and military to take.

Describing his approach to working for the U.S. government, Kissinger said he wanted to leave the country “better than he found it.”

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