Henry Kissinger, New York celebrates the former Secretary of State

John Kerry defined him ” an indispensable statesman” and John McCain, to whom the most significant intervention of the night must be ascribed “a great mentor” and “one of the giants”. The republican senator remembered how Kissinger preserved his honor when he refused that a favor treatment be reserved to McCain by repatriating him from Vietnam: “He knew my early release would be seen as favoritism to my father and a violation of our code of conduct. By rejecting this last attempt to suborn a dereliction of duty, Henry saved my reputation, my honor, my life, really. And I’ve owed him a debt ever since”.

Henry Kissinger was National Security Advisor and American Secretary of State. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for favoring the composition of the war in Vietnam. His undeniable political ability goes at the same pace as a strong recklessness: the responsibilities in Vietnam and the support to Pinochet’s military coup come up beside the pursuit of a pacification of the relationship between the United States, on the one hand, and Russia and China on the other.
Shrewd statesman, of long view and extraordinary timing, he let Nixon take credit for the historical visit to the Chinese Republic, knowing that, in the long run, his diplomatic value would emerged regardless. Thanks to the dense network of political relationships he was able to weave together, he made himself necessary to the Nixon administration even though he did not share many of the ideas of the President. He was one of the few to survive the Watergate and carry on his career even under Gerald Ford.

Kissinger is portrayed as one of the supporters of the “Realpolitik“, a term he considers simplistic and caricatural because it doesn’t reflect the “complexity of statesmanship”, that political strategy that, instead, requires a rigorous analysis, a meticulous preparation and the capacity to promptly take an initiative. Probably the most suitable Henry Kissinger’s portrait was the one given by Oriana Fallaci: “He would weigh every phrase to the milligram, he wouldn’t say anything he didn’t mean, and whatever he said always reentered in a utility mechanism”.


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Claudia Pellicano

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