Statesman Henry Kissinger Dead At 100

Former Secretary of State and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger died Wednesday at age 100. The only person to hold both positions simultaneously in U.S. history, he passed away at his Connecticut home.

Kissinger fled Nazi Germany to the U.S. when he was only a teenager. The future statesman was educated at Harvard and taught there before entering the political world.

His foreign policy years under President Richard Nixon saw accomplishments that were a stroke of genius and challenges as harsh as the Vietnam War. Kissinger went on to also serve in the Gerald Ford administration.

Kissinger is largely credited with the policy of detente reached with the former Soviet Union in the early 1970s. This was an easing of tensions between the two nuclear superpowers that walked both nations back from the brink of war.

This landmark was accomplished in large part to the brilliant strategy of building closer ties with Communist China. Nixon’s landmark visit to Beijing marked a watershed moment in international politics and a glowing triumph for Kissinger.

This “shuttle diplomacy” also pushed Moscow to reassess its relationship with the West.

Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for his work in pulling the U.S. out of the Vietnam War. He was also recognized for conducting peace talks between Israel and Arab nations that led to the end of the Yom Kippur War.

During the Watergate scandal, Kissinger was seen by many as a co-president as Nixon was pummeled by Democratic accusations. He later wrote that it was a heady time, though his “dominant emotion was a premonition of catastrophe.”

Concerning his boss and mentor, Kissinger acknowledged that Nixon’s record on the international stage is virtually unmatched. “His foreign policy has held up and he was quite effective in domestic policy.”

He conceded that Nixon “permitted himself to be involved in a number of steps that were inappropriate for a president.”

Just before his 100th birthday, Kissinger was still out on a book tour promoting his latest work on leadership. ABC News asked him last year if he would change any of the decisions he made during his long career in public life.

Kissinger declined, noting, “I’ve been thinking about these problems all my life. It’s my hobby as well as my occupation. And so the recommendations I made were the best of which I was then capable.”

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