Henry Kissinger, one of the most powerful and influential Secretaries of State in U.S. history … the man who helped shape foreign policy in the United States for decades, is dead.
The famous statesman, diplomat, author and scholar died Wednesday at his home in Connecticut. The cause of death is unclear.
Kissinger was widely considered the most powerful secretary of state since World War II, serving as a top advisor for presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
During the 1970s, Kissinger negotiated America’s exit from the war in Vietnam, helped open the U.S. to China, stabilized relations between Israel and Arab countries in the Middle East and eased tensions with the Soviet Union. He won the Nobel Prize for his Vietnam peace efforts, but critics say Kissinger saw the handwriting on the wall — the war was a losing battle — and negotiated the peace agreement as a face-saver.
He was always controversial — both revered and reviled. He was praised for opening up China and resetting U.S. relations with Russia, but he also engineered the secret carpet-bombing of Cambodia. And he was central to the effort to topple the democratically-elected president of Chile.
When Kissinger wasn’t shaping U.S. foreign policy, he was cultivating a playboy image in Hollywood … dating movie stars like Candice Bergen, Shirley MacLaine, Jill St. John and Liv Ullman.
Kissinger was born in Germany and fled to the U.S. with other Jewish immigrants as a teenager way back in 1938 … studying at Harvard before climbing the ranks in Washington D.C.
Despite leaving the federal government in 1977, Kissinger remained a prominent influence on foreign policy and business … though his legacy is celebrated by some and despised by others.
Kissinger was 100.
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