Henry Kissinger, America’s most powerful war minister, dead at 100

The former US Secretary of State dies aged 100 at his home in Connecticut • No cause of death given

Henry Kissinger (File photo)
Henry Kissinger (File photo)

Henry Kissinger, who served as America’s top diplomat and national security advisor during the Cold War, has died at the age of 100.

His death was announced by his policy consultancy firm on Wednesday night. No cause of death was given.

Kissinger played a pivotal role in shaping America’s foreign policy durying the latter half of the 20th century.

In 1969, President Richard Nixon appointed Kissinger as National Security Advisor, and later, he became the 56th US Secretary of State.

He became known for his “realism” approach to foreign relations, pursuing a policy of détente to ease tensions between the US and the Soviet Union.

But Kissinger is a divisive figure in America’s political history. His supporters lauded him for his “realpolitik”, and he was awarded a premature Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for negotiating the American military withdrawal from South Vietnam. He was awarded the prize alongside North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho, but he refused to accept, citing that peace had not yet been established.

But his critics scrutinised his involvement in US covert operations, particularly in Chile, where the leftist government of Salvador Allende was ousted in a bloody coup to which America lent its tacit support.

Even his work in Vietnam, despite earning him a Nobel Peace Prize, is not without scrutiny. Indeed, Kissinger negotiated with North Vietnam while agreeing with Nixon to carry out bombing campaigns on Cambodia so as to deprive the communists of resources. This led to at least 50,000 civilian deaths and the Cambodian civil war.

After leaving government service, Kissinger remained an influential figure in international relations, advising subsequent administrations and writing extensively on foreign policy. His books, including "Diplomacy" and "On China," have become essential readings for scholars and policymakers alike.

Henry Kissinger's impact on global affairs and diplomacy is indelible, leaving a lasting imprint on the history of the United States and the world. His legacy continues to be a subject of debate and analysis.