Henry Kissinger (born 1923), American statesman and exponent of a liberal policy of "realism" in foreign policy; he dominated foreign policy in the administrations of presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, as National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, holding both positions for a time. He won the much-criticized 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for reaching a peace that ended the Vietnam War. In close collaboration with Nixon, he created a détente policy that called for an end to the Cold War and for friendly relations with both the Soviet Union and China. His position on détente was rejected by Ronald Reagan in the 1976 campaign for the presidential nomination. Although Reagan narrowly lost that primary to Ford, due to the immense advantage of incumbency for Ford, Reagan won a landslide victory four years later on a platform that repudiated Kissinger's polices. Kissinger was then left out of any prominent role in the Reagan Administration.
- 1 Life
- 2 Harvard professor
- 3 National Security Advisor and Secretary of State
- 4 Retirement
- 5 Image and reputation
- 6 Evaluation
- 7 Bibliography
- 8 Online sources
- 9 References
Kissinger was born in Fürth, Germany, on May 27, 1923 to a middle class Jewish family. They fled Nazi persecution, and arrived in New York in 1938, where he changed his first name from Heinz to Henry but never overcame his thick foreign accent. He attended public schools and City University before being drafted at age 19. He returned to Europe during World War II fighting with the U.S. Army; he was in the infantry at first, but his heroism, courage, and daring got him promoted to intelligence. He was discharged as a sergeant in 1946. He spent a year as a civilian instructor in de-Nazification at an Army school in Germany; charged with de-Nazifying a German town, he did so with remarkable ease. He had power and responsibility far beyond his years because of his intelligence, his energy, and his commitment to opposing the Nazis.
In the army, Kissinger was informally tutored by Fritz Kraemer, a fellow refugee with two PhD's. In 1950 Kissinger earned his B.A. summa cum laude at Harvard with a 377-page essay on "The Meaning of History: Reflections on Spengler, Toynbee and Kant." He finished his Ph.D. in 1956 at Harvard, with a dissertation on "A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace 1812-22," a study praising how the conservative diplomats of the era built a stable and peaceful international system after the Napoleonic wars.
He married Ann Fleischer in 1949 and was divorced in 1964. There were two children, Elizabeth and David. In 1974 he married Nancy Maginnes.
Kissinger became a full professor in Harvard's Department of Government in 1962. As the director of Harvard's University Summer International Seminar, 1952–69, he brought in nearly 700 young European and Asian scholars, many of whom became high officials in their own country. Kissinger met practically every intellectual in international relations at home and abroad.
Kissinger was eager to serve on national commissions. He served as Study Director, Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, for the Council of Foreign Relations from 1955 to 1956; Director of the Special Studies Project for the Rockefeller Brothers Fund from 1956 to 1958; and Director of the Harvard Defense Studies Program from 1958 to 1971. He resigned from Harvard in January 1971 when his two-year leave of absence expired.
In 1957 Kissinger published Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy, which proposed a flexible defense posture, including provision for "limited warfare" and the strategic employment of nuclear weapons as an alternative to the doctrine of "massive retaliation" against direct foreign aggression, which dominated military thinking during the mid-1950s. The book brought Kissinger to national attention, and he became an mid-level advisor on security questions under presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson; he was foreign policy advisor in Nelson Rockefeller's 1968 quest for the Republican party nomination, but Nixon won the nomination and Kissinger switched to the winner.
Kissinger was consultant to the Department of State (1965–68), United States Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (1961–68), Rand Corporation (1961–68), National Security Council (1961–62), Weapons Systems Evaluation Group of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1959–60), Operations Coordinating Board (1955), Director of the Psychological Strategy Board (1952), Operations Research Office (1951), and Chairman of the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America (1983–84). In 2001 he was not appointed to head the commission studying the 9-11 Attack because he was too controversial.
National Security Advisor and Secretary of State
In 1969, Nixon appointed him his top advisor on foreign affairs as "Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs," (or "National Security Advisor") in charge of the National Security Council staff, which he made his base of power. He and Nixon largely ignored the State Department in setting the main lines of foreign policy. In 1973, Kissinger gained the additional role as secretary of state. He was the only person ever to hold the two top national security roles at the same time, and in 1975 he was replaced as head of the NSC.
Kissinger's approach to foreign policy was shaped by his vision of world peace achieved through a global balance of power; and accordingly Kissinger believed that effective U.S. diplomacy needed to be backed by force and guided by the pragmatism of Realpolitik rather than by high ideals and abstract causes. In practice his diplomacy, which mixed a highly visible, personal style with secret, behind-the-scenes maneuverings, was marked by bold, often controversial, initiatives and by frequent travel between world capitals in what came to be known as "shuttle diplomacy".
On taling office Nixon and Kissinger were briefed on the US nuclear war plan, the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP). Appalled by the catastrophic scale of the SIOP, Nixon and Kissinger sought military options that were more credible than massive nuclear strikes. Participants in the Air Force Nuclear Options project also supported more flexible nuclear war plans. Although Kissinger repeatedly asked Defense Department officials to construct limited options, they were skeptical that it would be possible to control nuclear escalation or to introduce greater flexibility without weakening the SIOP. Interagency studies presented a mixed verdict about the desirability of limited options; nevertheless, continued White House pressure encouraged Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird to sponsor a major review of nuclear targeting. In 1972 the John Foster panel developed concepts of limited, selective, and regional nuclear options that were responsive to Kissinger's interest in credible nuclear threats. The Foster panel's report led to the controversial "Schlesinger Doctrine" and further efforts to revise the SIOP, but serious questions endured about the whole concept of controlled nuclear warfare.
Détente with Soviet Union and China
Kissinger's first priority in office was the achievement of détente with the Soviet Union and China, and playing them off against each other . Recognizing and accepting the Soviet Union as a superpower, Kissinger sought both to maintain U.S. military strength and to inaugurate peaceful economic, cultural, and scientific exchanges to engage the Soviet Union in the international system. This policy flourished under Kissinger's direction and led in 1972 to the signing of the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I). At the same time Kissinger successfully engineered a rapprochement with Communist China, leading to the astonishing news in 1971 that Nixon would visit China, which he and Kissinger did in 1972.
Aware that China and the Soviet Union were at sword's point, with rival claims to be the true Communists, Kissinger used the "Soviet card" to win over China by playing up the Soviet threat to the Chinese as a way of promoting closer relations with China. He even hinted at a US-China alliance to oppose the Soviets, and, with Nixon's trips to Moscow, hinted that China had better come to terms lest the US form an alliance with Moscow. The tactics worked, resulting in a friendly relationship with both Beijing and Moscow. As part of the détente, both powers reduced or ended their aid to North Vietnam, thus allowing a settlement of the Vietnam War.
"In the Soviet Union, there is really nobody left who has any memory of an entrepreneurial tradition," said Kissinger. "In China, there are many people left who participated in Chinese entrepreneurial life." He believed that a Sino-US alliance to oppose Soviet aggression could encourage internal reform within the Chinese system while promoting a more peaceful international order. After China made such reforms, hundreds of millions were lifted out of poverty.
Kissinger worked to achieve a disengagement of U.S. forces fighting in Vietnam. He promoted Nixon's policy of "Vietnamization," aimed at turning the burden of actual combat over to the South Vietnamese, with repeated shows of U.S. air strength, notably in the bombings of Cambodia and North Vietnam. Kissinger met secretly with North Vietnamese leaders in Paris from 1969 on, finally concluding a cease-fire in January 1973, for which he and chief North Vietnamese negotiator Le Duc Tho were awarded the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize. Later rumors to the effect that Kissinger knew the South Vietnamese government was too weak to survive long were wrong; Kissinger and Nixon had built South Vietnam into one of the strongest militaries in Asia—much stronger than the North Vietnamese—and they had stripped away much of Hanoi's support from Moscow and Beijing. The problem was that Saigon put all its future on the continuation of Nixon in office and his promises to intervene militarily if necessary. Nixon collapsed unexpectedly (because of Watergate) and his personal promises were gone. Saigon despaired and desperately fought back when Hanoi did invade in 1975, after Nixon was gone and Congress forbad further American intervention.
Demographic evidence indicates that the US bombings of Cambodia, especially the Menu bombings, ultimately killed about 40,000 Cambodian combatants and civilians. Some estimates go as high as 100,000 killed by the bombing. The US Seventh Air Force argued that the bombing prevented the fall of Phnom Penh in 1973 by killing 16,000 of 25,500 Khmer Rouge fighters besieging the city. Documents uncovered from the Soviet archives after 1991 reveal that the North Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1970 was launched at the explicit request of the Khmer Rouge and negotiated by Pol Pot's then second in command, Nuon Chea.
The communist leaders had expected that the ceasefire terms would favor their side. But Saigon, bolstered by a surge of U.S. aid received just before the ceasefire went into effect, began to roll back the Vietcong. The communists responded with a new strategy hammered out in a series of meetings in Hanoi in March 1973, according to the memoirs of Tran Van Tra.
As the Vietcong's top commander, Trà participated in several of these meetings. With U.S. bombings suspended, work on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and other logistical structures could proceed unimpeded. Logistics would be upgraded until the North was in a position to launch a massive invasion of the South, projected for the 1975–1976 dry season. Trà calculated that this date would be Hanoi's last opportunity to strike before Saigon's army could be fully trained.
In 1974, Congress voted not to enforce the commitments agreed to in the Paris Peace Accords. Air support for Cambodia, South Vietnam, and Laos was cut off. The military aid promised was scaled back or never materialized, and the North was allowed to resume support for the Khmer Rouge. "After Nixon stepped down over Watergate," said one Communist commander, "we knew we would win." Without the logistical support provided by the Ho Chi Minh trail, the North would not have been able to launch an invasion of South Vietnam by 1975, which it predicted would be its "last chance" before the South was self-sufficiently able to defend itself. The US canceled the bombing of Communist positions on the trail. In Cambodia, last minute efforts on the part of the US to arrange for a peace settlement involving Sihanouk ended in failure. When the US Congress vetoed Ford's call for a resumption of air support in Cambodia, panic and a sense of doom filled the capital, which was mercilessly shelled for more than a year by the Communists. President Ford openly predicted a "bloodbath" and stated that the Congress's decision to abandon Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge, in particular, would lead to "an unbelievable horror story". The US frantically abandoned Saigon, and the Pathet Lao advanced throughout Laos. The Ford administration's prediction that the Khmer Rouge would murder at least one million people was laughed off by liberal reporters. Some journalists, mocking the claims of a bloodbath, were so bold as to sing the following lyrics to the tune of "She Was Poor But She Was Honest": "Oh will there be a dreadful bloodbath/ When the Khmer Rouge come to town?/ Aye, there'll be a dreadful bloodbath/ When the Khmer Rouge come to town."
In one of the largest mass killings since the Nazi Holocaust, the victorious Communists murdered 3-4 million people throughout Indochina, including over 2 million killed by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia alone.
One challenge to détente under Kissinger came with the outbreak of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War. Faced with a threat of Soviet intervention, Kissinger successfully urged that U.S. forces be placed on worldwide alert. With Israel facing possible defeat at the hands of the Arab aggressors, President Nixon launched the largest airlift in military history to replenish Israel's stocks (the left would condemn his actions no matter how big or how small, Nixon said, so "let's make it big"). Kissinger had urged Nixon to delay the airlift so as to let Israel "bleed a little", in the hopes that a badly bruised Israel would be more pliable to concessions in post-war negotiations, but Nixon refused.
When the Israelis surrounded the Egyptian Third Army at the end of the war, Kissinger believed that the United States had a tremendous opportunity. Egypt was now dependent on solely the United States for the survival of its Third Army, and Kissinger hoped that the United States could mediate the dispute and wean Egypt from Soviet influence. As a result, he exerted intense pressure on Israel not to destroy the Third Army and to allow it to receive non-military supplies. Among other things, he threatened that the United States would resupply the Third Army by helicopter, support a UN resolution demanding an Israeli withdrawal to positions held before the Third Army's encirclement, and falsely told the Israelis that the Soviet Union had threatened to intervene over the Third Army.
Kissinger then employed shuttle diplomacy to secure disengagement agreements between Israel and the Arab states and to restore U.S.-Egyptian diplomatic ties, broken since 1967. Kissinger's goal was to drive the Soviets out of Egypt by showing the Egyptians that only the United States could persuade Israel to make concessions. The US assisted in a vast rescue operation conducted by Israeli forces to save Egyptian troops stranded in the Sinai. US-brokered peace negotiations between Israel and Egypt continued past Nixon's term. Though negotiations were tough, with both sides sometimes intransigent, President Ford ended up securing the first peace agreements between Israel and Egypt, which would be finalized under President Carter. In turn, Jordan felt compelled to reach a separate peace, which resulted in a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan in 1994.
Kissinger and Nixon approved a covert CIA campaign of subversion and sabotage designed to weaken the Socialist government of Iraq in 1973. Done in collaboration with the Shah of neighboring Iran, it involved Soviet arms captured from Egypt and Syria in the 1973 war being dispatched to Kurdish rebels in Northern Iraq. The Shah cynically used the Kurds to pressure the Ba'athist government to back down on a number of serious territorial disputes between the two nations. The US brokered a peace treaty between Iraq and Iran in 1975, and aid to the Kurds was subsequently cut off. The Kurds were then viciously slaughtered. "Covert action should not be confused with missionary work," Kissinger famously declared.
Kissinger helped to diffuse sectarian conflicts in Lebanon in order to prevent a possible regional war, and opposed the Soviet-backed attempt by Communist forces to conquer North Yemen (which was the recipient of much US aid).
On 20 July 1974, Turkey invaded northern Cyprus, overthrew its Greek-backed dictatorship (headed by Nikos Sampson), and installed a new regime. This led to the collapse of the Greek military junta, and the restoration of democracy in Greece, three days later—July 23, 1974. Sampson had been brought to power by the Greek Cypriot national guard (acting under the orders of Athens), which ousted the elected president, Makarios; Turkey removed him from power after a mere eight days in office. "Had Turkey not intervened," Sampson told the Greek newspaper Eleftherotipia, "I would not only have proclaimed Enosis [union of Cyprus with Greece] but I would have annihilated the Turks in Cyprus as well." Turkey took control of one-third of the country. Civilian casualties were remarkably light. Turkey restored democracy to Cyprus, and new elections brought Glafcos Clerides to power. President Makarios, in his speech to the UN Security Council on 19 July 1974, described the coup that replaced him as "an invasion of Cyprus by Greece."
Both the Turks and the Greeks committed indiscriminate ethnic cleansing against the other side. Facts and information on the death and the burial site of 201 out of 500 cases of Turkish Cypriot "missing" persons were provided by the Cyprus government on 12 May 2003. A typical report stated:
In a Greek raid on a small Turkish village near Limassol, 36 people out of a population of 200 were killed. The Greeks said that they had been given orders to kill the inhabitants of the Turkish villages before the Turkish forces arrived.
Numerous studies reported accounts of "anti-Turkish pograms," hostage taking, and mass murder.
Kissinger approved of the Turkish invasion, viewing the Greek junta as a Cold War liability. Kissinger had resolved to find a solution to the Cyprus problem in May 1974. Kissinger intervened to prevent a planned British military response to the second phase of the Turkish invasion in order to avoid a war between the two American allies.
Some 70,000 Turkish civilians were displaced by the Greeks. It is estimated by independent sources that 140,000 to 160,000 Greek civilians were displaced by the Turkish invaders. Only 20,000 Greeks remained in the north. Five Americans disappeared during the Turkish invasion.
The Nixon administration sought to protect the economic and commercial interests of the United States during a period of heightened Latin American nationalism and expropriations, 1969-74. Though the administration initially adopted a flexible policy toward Latin American governments that nationalized American corporations' assets, the influence of Nixon's economic ideology, domestic political pressures, and the advice of Secretary of the Treasury John Connally, led to a more confrontational stance toward Latin American countries. As the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the National Security Council, and Kissinger had warned, however, Latin American countries took an even more anti-US stance and expropriated even more assets. Nixon's "get tough" stance, therefore, had a negative effect on American credibility and influence in the hemisphere.
The CIA, as recounted in the Church Committee report, was involved in various plots designed to remove Allende and then let the Chileans vote in a new election where he would not be a candidate: It tried to buy off the Chilean Congress to prevent his appointment, worked to sway public opinion against him to prevent his election, and financed protests designed to bring the country to a stand-still and make him resign. Convinced that a conventional military uprising was still not possible in Chile, the CIA, acting with the approval of the 40 Committee—the body charged with overseeing covert actions abroad—devised what in effect was a constitutional coup. The most expeditious way to prevent Allende from assuming office was somehow to convince the Chilean congress to confirm Alessandri as the winner of the election. Once elected by the congress, Alessandri—a party to the plot through intermediaries—was prepared to resign his presidency within a matter of days so that new elections could be held. The CIA also learned of a number of plots to establish a military dictatorship. Although it pointedly refused to materially assist any of them, and actually intervened to prevent one of the plots for fear it would fail and strengthen Allende; it also encouraged several of the plots and did nothing to prevent them. It assured the plotters that such an event would be welcomed in Washington and that the US would not cut off aid over potential human rights violations. In addition, the CIA provided funding for the mass anti-government strikes in 1972 and 1973. Though the CIA maintained contact with a notorious right-wing extremist named Roberto Viaux, Nixon and Kissinger, recognizing that "nothing could be worse than an abortive coup," repeatedly relayed messages to him urging restraint and went to great lengths to deter him from staging a coup.
The extent of Kissinger's involvement in or support of these plans is a subject of controversy.
Although the US considered economic sanctions against the Allende regime, it never actually implemented them. Although Latin Americans viewed the US as omnipotent, future Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet mocked it as a paper tiger and felt free to launch terrorist attacks in Washington, D.C., during his reign. The US ended up giving more aid to Allende's Chile than any of the prior administrations. The US worked to diffuse potential coups that it had once warmly encouraged, fearing that it would be blamed if they failed. Though hesitant and uneasy, the CIA vowed to "continue to put pressure on every Allende weak spot" even after his appointment. The CIA had warned that the odds of either a military or a constitutional coup succeeding were one in twenty; after they both failed to occur in 1970, US policy shifted towards maintaining a democratic opposition to the Allende regime.
US intelligence reports implicated Allende in the assassination of several opponents, while KGB files smuggled out of Russia by Vasily Mitrokhin indicate that Allende received funds from the Soviet Union. Allende was formally condemned by Chile's parliament for systematically destroying democracy in Chile. The Chilean Chamber of Deputies Resolution of August 22, 1973, accused Allende of support of armed groups, torture, illegal arrests, muzzling the press, confiscating private property, and not allowing people to leave the country. In the infamous "Cuban Packages Scandal" that precipitated the coup, large quantities of weapons were sent from Castro's Cuba to arm pro-Allende terrorists in Chile. Kissinger privately told Nixon that Allende might declare martial law. By 1973, as a result of covert US aid to Chilean dissidents and financing of pro-democracy protestors, US intelligence indicated Allende would likely lose the next Chilean election if it was held. According to The Wall Street Journal, faced with illegal seizures of farms and factories, of defiance of judicial orders, unchecked street violence and death threats against the judges themselves, the Supreme Court warned on May 26, 1973, in a unanimous and unprecedented message, that Chile faced "a peremptory or imminent breakdown of legality." Inflation reached 1,000%. Volodia Teitelboim, the chief ideologue of the Communist Party in Chile, declared that if civil war came, "it probably would signify immense loss of human lives, between half a million and one million."
On September 11, 1973, Allende committed suicide during a military coup launched by Army Commander-in-Chief Augusto Pinochet, who became President. Allende's policies had turned the country into a dictatorship that would kill thousands.
On September 16, 1973, the following exchange about the coup took place between Kissinger and President Nixon:
- Nixon: Nothing new of any importance or is there?
- Kissinger: Nothing of very great consequence. The Chilean thing is getting consolidated and of course the newspapers are bleeding because a pro-Communist government has been overthrown.
- Nixon: Isn't that something. Isn't that something.
- Kissinger: I mean instead of celebrating – in the Eisenhower period we would be heroes.
- Nixon: Well we didn't – as you know – our hand doesn't show on this one though.
- Kissinger: We didn't do it. I mean we helped them....created the conditions as great as possible.
- Nixon: That is right. And that is the way it is going to be played.
Kissinger is clearly telling the President that any direct US role in such a coup would be abhorrent but that the coup itself was preferable to a Communist take-over (with both agreeing that the US did not assist the plot).
On June 8, 1976, Kissinger met with Pinochet in Santiago, telling him: "My evaluation is that you are a victim of all left-wing groups around the world, and that your greatest sin was that you overthrew a government which was going Communist."
Using its leverage over Pinochet to curtail Chilean human rights abuses, the US simultaneously pressured Chile to introduce a series of free market economic reforms, a process that escalated sharply in the eighties. This led to a period of rapid economic expansion and development without precedent in Latin America, in which growth averaged 7% annually, that came to be known as the "miracle of Chile" (it also included the region's greatest reductions in infant mortality). In turn, this allowed Chile to make a long-term transition to sustainable democratic rule that would likely have been otherwise inconceivable.
In Argentina, the Socialist government of Isabel Perón had been persuaded to declare a state of emergency (suspending, among other rights, Habeas Corpus) on February 5, 1975. Drafted so they may (in her words) "annihilate the subversives," the decree led to Operativo Independencia, a military campaign notorious for the brutality it exacted on not only the violent; but also elected officials, magistrates and University of Tucumán faculty (even secondary school teachers). The Peronists' own political mainstay (the labor movement) was also subject to the "subversive" labels and consequent reprisals. The country plunged into a low-level civil war. Fighting between Communist and anti-Communist forces claimed nearly 1,000 lives, with widespread social chaos and inflation peaking at 33%, before the Argentine military, led by Jorge Videla, deposed Perón on March 24, 1976.
As the new regime consolidated power, launching brutal reprisals and "disappearances" against political opponents, Kissinger took a similar line as he had toward Chile. During a meeting with Argentine foreign minister César Augusto Guzzetti, Kissinger assured him that the United States was an ally, but urged him to "get back to normal procedures" quickly before the U.S. Congress reconvened and had a chance to consider sanctions. The US cut-off aid in 1977 due to human rights violations.
Nixon sought a "special relationship" with Brazil, and proposed a direct line of communication between the Brazilian and American Presidents. He appointed Kissinger to serve as a "special representative" to Brazil.
In Cuba, Kissinger supported a renewal of diplomatic relations and cultural exchange with the Castro regime. Although President Ford repeatedly reached out to the Cubans; their military interventions in Angola, Mozambique, and Ethiopia destroyed Kissinger's hopes.
During the South Asian crisis in 1971, the White House stood firmly behind Pakistani president Yahya Khan and demonstrated a disdain for India and particularly its leader, Indira Gandhi, because of India's tilt or favoritism towards the Soviet Union. Kissinger had disdain for India and was using Pakistan as a tool to reach China, which he considered much more important to the U.S.
Khan's administration was responding to an insurrection launched by Communist guerillas (the Awami League), armed with Indian weapons and demanding independence for East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), with a massive campaign of violence dubbed "Operation Searchlight." India was exploiting these internal tensions within Pakistan as part of a divide-and-rule strategy; it hoped for Pakistan's division into smaller Indian proxy states that could be played against one another and it used the violence committed by Pakistani forces as a possible pretext for military intervention in Pakistani affairs.
Nixon relayed messages to Yahya, urging him to restrain Pakistani forces. His objective was to prevent a war and safeguard Pakistan's interests, though he feared an Indian invasion of West Pakistan that would lead to Indian domination of the sub-continent and strengthen the position of the Soviet Union. Similarly, Yahya Khan feared that an independent Bangladesh could lead to the disintegration of Pakistan. Indian military support for Bengali guerillas led to war between India and Pakistan.
Nixon met with Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and did not believe her assertion that she would not invade Pakistan; he did not trust her and once referred to her as an "old witch". Kissinger maintained that Nixon made specific proposals to Gandhi on a solution for the crisis, some of which she heard for the first time; for example, mutual withdrawal of troops from the Indo-East Pakistan borders. Nixon also expressed a wish to fix a time limit with Yahya for political accommodation in East Pakistan. Nixon asserted that India could count on US endeavors to ease the crisis within a short time. But, both Kissinger and Gandhi aide Jayakar maintained, Gandhi did not respond to these proposals. Kissinger noted that she “listened to what was in fact one of Nixon's better presentations with aloof indifference” but “took up none of the points.” Jayakar pointed out that Gandhi listened to Nixon “without a single comment, creating an impregnable space so that no real contact was possible.” She also refrained from assuring that India would follow Pakistan's suit if it withdrew from India's borders. As a result, the main agenda was “dropped altogether.” On December 3, Yahya preemptively attacked the Indian Air Force and Gandhi retaliated, pushing into East Pakistan. Nixon issued a statement blaming Pakistan for starting the conflict and blaming India for escalating it, because he favored a cease-fire. The United States was secretly encouraging the shipment of military equipment from Iran, Turkey, and Jordan to Pakistan, reimbursing those countries despite Congressional objections. The US used the threat of an aid cut-off to force Pakistan to back down, while its continued military aid to Islamabad prevented India from launching incursions deeper into the country. A cease fire was reached on December 16, leading to the creation of the independent state of Bangladesh. Sheikh Mujib led the newly established People's Republic of Bangladesh as a one-party, dictatorial state.
A 2008 study in the British Medical Journal concluded that 269,000 civilians were killed by all sides in the war. Reportedly, as many as 200,000 Bengali women were raped.
The US remained hostile to the Mujib regime, and considered Mujib himself to be a demagogue. His government's mismanagement of food grain stocks ultimately caused a massive famine in Bangladesh from March to December 1974, leading to the death of more than one million people. During this famine, Mujib rejected food aid from the United States and exported food to Cuba. By the time Mujib agreed to end support for Cuba, and the US began shipments of food to Bangladesh, it was 'too late for famine victims'. In addition, his regime committed widespread human rights violations and tortured and executed thousands of dissidents. Nixon and Kissinger argued that these atrocities were far worse than anything Pakistan had committed in Bangladesh.
In the Angolan Civil War, the Communist MPLA (People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola) government was pitted against various right-wing insurgencies as well as an invasion from South Africa. The CIA covertly attempted to overthrow the MPLA dictatorship in 1975, but Cuba militarily intervened to save the regime from certain collapse. The Communist government subsequently killed up to one million people through massacre and forced starvation. The U.S., advised by Kissinger, supported the rebels FNLA (National Front for the Liberation of Angola), led by Holden Roberto, and UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola), led by Jonas Savimbi, as well as the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), and the invasion of Angola by South African troops. The FNLA was defeated and UNITA was forced to take its fight into the bush. Only under Reagan's presidency would U.S. support for UNITA return. (See Reagan Doctrine)
Angola would be plagued for decades with constant civil war. In 1992, blatantly rigged elections were held with next to no international supervision, in which MPLA claimed victory. After 500,000 UNITA voters were disenfranchised, UNITA sent a peace delegation to the capital; all of its members, along with 20,000 civilian supporters, were brutally massacred. Nevertheless, Savimbi remained supportive of the elections, until the MPLA systematically exterminated many tens of thousands of UNITA supporters throughout the country. Human rights observers have accused the MPLA of "genocidal atrocities," "systematic extermination," "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity."
The Democrats in Congress cut off aid to UNITA under President Ford, just as they abandoned South Vietnam and Cambodia to murderous Communist bloodbath. "A great nation cannot escape its responsibilities," Ford admonished them. Emboldened, Cuba would soon militarily intervene on behalf of the Communist dictatorship in Ethiopia, which killed 1.25 million people through massacre and forced starvation.
The Nixon White House staunchly opposed the maniacal tyrant Idi Amin of Uganda, who slaughtered 100-500,000 innocent people and ethnically cleansed Uganda of all Asians. Amin was armed almost exclusively by the Soviet Union and Libya. The US urged Americans to evacuate the country, and began developing contingency plans to combat the regime's threatening posture in 1972. Ambassador Thomas P. Melady described the Amin regime as "racist, erratic, brutal, inept, bellicose, irrational, ridiculous, militaristic, and, above all, xenophobic." The British, fearful of a massacre, sought American help in preparing the logistics for an evacuation of the 7,000 British subjects in the country, should it prove necessary. Kissinger and Nixon agreed. On September 24, 1972, they had the following conversation:
- Nixon: Isn’t a person a person, goddamnit? You know, they talk about Vietnam, ‘these people far away that we don’t know,’ and you remember Chamberlain talking about the Czechs, that they’re far away and we don’t know them very well? Well, goddamnit, people are people! … I’m getting tired of this business of letting these Africans beat a hundred thousand people to death and do nothing about it.
- Kissinger: And all these bleeding hearts in this country who say we like to kill yellow people…
- Nixon: That’s right!
- Kissinger: There haven’t been as many killed in eight years of the war than were killed in three months in Burundi.
- Nixon: …They’re talking about how many we have bombed in the North. And I told your staff to get the figures for me: How many South Vietnamese or anti-Communist North Vietnamese have been killed by the North Vietnamese government? Civilians! How many? It’s unbelievable! Nobody gives a damn! … We need a new African policy. We shouldn’t have 42 ambassadors to these goddamn countries. Looking at Uganda, of course we have to help those 7,000 people!
Amin was deposed by the armed forces of Tanzania on April 11, 1979.
South East Asia
Vietnam fought three more wars after 1975 and armed Communist insurgencies with billions of dollars in an attempt to overrun Thailand and Malaysia. To combat this dangerous expansionism, Kissinger closely aligned the United States with anti-Communist nations in the area, such as Suharto's Indonesia, which was once described as the greatest prize in Asia. As tens of thousands fled a Communist take-over in the small island of East Timor under horrible conditions following a civil war that resulted in the death or displacement of 9,000 individuals; Ford and Kissinger gave Suharto their approval to annex East Timor and remove the Soviet-backed Communist government. Over the 24-year occupation; some 140,000 East Timorese soldiers and civilians were killed by all sides, out of a population of less than a million. In 1975, 49% of all violent killings in East Timor were the work of the Communist (FRETELIN) resistance. Although Congress wanted to stop arm sales to Indonesia, the Ford administration manipulated them by agreeing to an aid cut-off that was never actually implemented. In his own words, "Kissinger overruled his pristine bureaucrats and violated the law."
Kissinger also worked to maintain good relations with Thailand. In order to prevent Communist hegemony in the area, he sought to deliberately provoke tension between the Vietnamese Stalinists and their Maoist comrades in Phnom Penh. In a 1975 meeting, he told Thailand's foreign minister: "We don't mind Chinese influence in Cambodia to balance North Vietnam. As I told the Chinese when we last met when we were discussing the Vietnamese victory in Indochina, it is possible to have an ideological victory which is a geopolitical defeat. The Chinese did not disagree with me."
In the end, Vietnam invaded and occupied Cambodia for more than a decade (killing many hundreds of thousands in the process). Bogged down in an endless guerilla war regularly dubbed Vietnam's Vietnam in the American press, Communist Vietnam was unable to advance its expansionist objectives abroad; as a result, no more dominos fell in the area.
Personal Advice to Nixon
In an April 17, 1973 conversation, Nixon told Kissinger that he was considering whether or not to resign and let Spiro Agnew take the Presidency, to which Kissinger responded: "With all due respect, Mr. President, that is out of the question. That cannot be considered....Why should you do it? What good would it do? Whom would it help? It wouldn’t help the country; it wouldn’t help any of the individuals involved….and, of course, it would be personally unjust." He also asked him to consider what it would do to weaken the institution of the Presidency.
Despite his real accomplishments, Kissinger's tenure was marked by much controversy. Revelations of his knowledge of Nixon's secret bombings in Cambodia in 1969 and the U.S. ground invasion of Cambodia in 1970 stirred particularly strong hatreds on the left, as did later discoveries that he had authorized wiretaps aimed at stopping leaks of classified information.
Much more serious, however, was the attack from the right by Ronald Reagan, who rejected détente with the Soviets as a viable strategy, warning that the Soviets would see it as a sign of American weaknesses and mobilize its Third World allies to subvert pro-American governments wherever it could and expand Soviet influence. Reagan's analysis proved correct and Ford was forced to reduce Kissinger's role, taking away in 1975 Kissinger's double role as National Security Advisor.
In 1976 Ford was challenged by Ronald Reagan for the GOP nomination. Ford won a very long, close and intensely fought battle. Attacks on détente policy was the focus of Reagan's campaign as the GOP moved to the right on foreign policy. President Jimmy Carter, however, did not recognize the failure of détente until the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979 destroyed that policy and reopened the Cold War at a more intense level.
Kissinger remained on as secretary of state until the end of the Ford term in January 1977.
Out of office Kissinger became a highly visible corporate consultant on world affairs, and wrote his detailed and insightful memoirs. His advice has been sought out by every President since his retirement, and he was one of President George W. Bush's most-frequent advisors on the Iraq War. He also helped design the Bush administration's opening to India in the wake of the War on Terror.
Kissinger has met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin on several occasions in an attempt to buttress US-Russian relations. Noting that the US has no border with Russia nor designs on Russian territory, as well as Russia's frontiers with both the Islamic world and China; Kissinger believes that the United States and Russia have compatible interests. He is apparently well-liked by some in the Russian press.
Kissinger has strongly supported the foreign policy of President Bush, writing:
Extraordinary advances of democracy have occurred in recent months: elections in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ukraine, and Palestine; local elections in Saudi Arabia; Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon; the opening up of the presidential election in Egypt; and upheavals against entrenched authoritarians in Kyrgyzstan. This welcome trend was partly triggered by President Bush’s Middle East policy and accelerated by his second inaugural address, which elevated the progress of freedom in the world to the defining objective of U.S. foreign policy.
Pundits have interpreted these events as a victory of “idealists” over “realists” in the debate over conduct of American foreign policy. In fact, the United States is probably the only country in which “realist” can be used as a pejorative epithet. No serious realist should claim that power is its own justification. No idealist should imply that power is irrelevant to the spread of ideals. The real issue is to establish a sense of proportion between these two essential elements of policy. Overemphasis of either leads to stagnation or overextension.
He added in a separate piece:
President Bush's visit has brought relations between India and the United States to an unprecedented level of cooperation and interdependence, which promises to make a seminal contribution to international peace and prosperity.
Kissinger believes that the consequences of defeat in Iraq would be worse than the consequences of defeat in Vietnam.
Kissinger returned to teaching for a time after he left office, and today gives eloquent lectures and speeches across the United States. He has appeared regularly on a wide range of television stations to offer his insight, and frequently contributes editorials to newspapers. Conrad Black has praised Kissinger as "a political memoirist surpassed, if at all, only by Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle."
Kissinger delivered a beautiful and heartfelt eulogy for President Ford at his 2007 funeral.
Throughout his life, Kissinger has enjoyed long-standing friendships with such notables as Katherine Graham, Walt Wriston, Beverly Sills, Bill Paley, Hans Morgenthau, Fritz Kraemer, Ahmet Ertegun, Sir James Goldsmith, Marion Dönhoff, Gianni Agnelli, John Aspinall, Rudolf Augstein, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., John McCain, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, Anatoly Dobrynin and Bill and Pat Buckley.
In the wake of the 2008-9 financial crisis, Kissinger wrote:
A major cause of the crisis has been the gap between the economic and the political organization of the world. The economic world has been globalized. Its institutions have a global reach and have operated by maxims that assumed a self-regulating global market. The financial collapse exposed the mirage. It made evident the absence of global institutions to cushion the shock and to reverse the trend. Inevitably, when the affected publics turned to their national political institutions, these were driven principally by domestic politics, not considerations of world order. Every major country has attempted to solve its immediate problems essentially on its own and to defer common action to a later, less crisis-driven point. So-called rescue packages have emerged on a piecemeal national basis, generally by substituting seemingly unlimited governmental credit for the domestic credit that produced the debacle in the first place, so far without achieving more than stemming incipient panic. International order will not come about either in the political or economic field until there emerge general rules toward which countries can orient themselves.
All these urgent issues are taking place against a background of a historic shift of the center of gravity of world affairs from the Atlantic to the Pacific and Indian Oceans. But there are much fewer trans-Pacific institutional ties with America than exist in the Atlantic. This raises the danger that, over time, the regions will confront each other as strategic and economic adversaries. The emergence of a new regional mercantilism and strategic confrontation by groups possessing large numbers of weapons of mass destruction needs to be resisted. This is why the U.S. relationship with China is so central. A relationship that started on both sides as essentially a strategic design to constrain a common adversary has evolved over the decades into a pillar of the international system. China made possible the American consumption splurge by buying American debt; America helped the modernization and reform of the Chinese economy by opening its markets to Chinese goods. Each side of the Pacific needs the cooperation of the other in addressing the consequences of the financial crisis.
Image and reputation
Kissinger was loathed by some liberals who viewed him as a war criminal and criticized by hardliners for detente. Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for pulling the United States out of Vietnam.
Kissinger was a Machiavellian figure, skilled at manipulating people around him and currying favor in the media. At one point he admitted allowing secret wiretapping of his own aides' conversations. The aura of Kissinger's influence was due partly to a cultivated image of high intelligence, including a PhD degree from Harvard University. He has been called "the only European-style realist" to head US foreign policy.
Bryce Harlow, former Eisenhower White House staff member, claimed to have "a double agent working in the White House....I kept Nixon informed." Harlow and Henry Kissinger (who was friendly with both campaigns and guaranteed a job in either a Humphrey or Nixon administration) separately predicted Johnson's "bombing halt": "The word is out that we are making an effort to throw the election to Humphrey. Nixon has been told of it," Democratic senator George Smathers informed Johnson. According to Robert Dallek, Kissinger's advice "rested not on special knowledge of decision making at the White House but on an astute analyst's insight into what was happening." William Bundy stated that Kissinger obtained "no useful inside information" from his trip to Paris, and "almost any experienced Hanoi watcher might have come to the same conclusion". While Kissinger may have "hinted that his advice was based on contacts with the Paris delegation," this sort of "self-promotion....is at worst a minor and not uncommon practice, quite different from getting and reporting real secrets." Nixon asked Anna Chennault to be his "channel to Mr. Thieu"; Chennault agreed and periodically reported to John Mitchell that Thieu had no intention of attending a peace conference. On November 2, Chennault informed the South Vietnamese ambassador: "I have just heard from my boss in Albuquerque who says his boss [Nixon] is going to win. And you tell your boss [Thieu] to hold on a while longer." In 1997, Chennault admitted that "I was constantly in touch with Nixon and Mitchell." In response, Johnson ordered wire-tapping members of the Nixon campaign. Dallek wrote that Nixon's efforts "probably made no difference" because Thieu was unwilling to attend the talks and there was little chance of an agreement being reached before the election; however, his use of information provided by Harlow and Kissinger was morally questionable, and Humphrey's decision not to make Nixon's actions public was "an uncommon act of political decency." Conrad Black agreed that there is "no evidence" connecting Kissinger, who was "playing a fairly innocuous double game of self-promotion", with attempts to undermine the peace talks. Black further commented that "the Democrats were outraged at Nixon, but what Johnson was doing was equally questionable", and there is "no evidence" that Thieu "needed much prompting to discern which side he favored in the U.S. election."
Kissinger was also accused of intentionally abandoning South Vietnam to Communist forces, the accusation which probably hurts him most today. He responded to this charge as follows:
When Nixon came into office, there were more than 500,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam, and the number was still increasing. The official position of the Johnson administration had been that American withdrawal would only start six months after a North Vietnamese withdrawal. The "dove" platform of Sens. Robert Kennedy and George McGovern, which was rejected by the Democratic National Convention of 1968, advocated mutual withdrawal. No significant group at that time advocated unilateral withdrawal.
A diplomatic alternative did not exist. Hanoi insisted that to obtain a cease-fire the United States had to meet two preconditions: First, it had to overthrow the South Vietnamese government, disband its police and army, and replace it with a Communist-dominated government. Second, the United States had to establish an unconditional timetable for withdrawal of its forces, to be carried out regardless of what happened in subsequent negotiations or how long these might last. The presence of North Vietnamese troops in Laos and Cambodia was declared not an appropriate subject for negotiations.
Given the horrors that occurred when the Communists took over Indochina in 1975, it must be said that Nixon correctly summed up the choices before him when he rejected the 1969 terms.
When negotiations stalemated, the Nixon administration moved to implement what could be done unilaterally without undermining the political structure of South Vietnam. Between 1969 and 1972, it withdrew 515,000 American troops, ended American ground combat in 1971 and reduced American casualties by nearly 90 percent.
In Vietnam, a breakthrough occurred in 1972 because the administration's strategic design finally came together in its retaliation for the all-out North Vietnamese spring offensive. When the United States mined North Vietnam's harbors, Hanoi found itself isolated because, as a result of the opening to China in 1971 and the summit in 1972, Beijing and the Soviet Union stood aside. Hanoi's offensive was defeated on the ground entirely by South Vietnamese forces assisted by U.S. air power.
Faced with a military setback and diplomatic isolation, Le Duc Tho, Hanoi's principal negotiator, abandoned Hanoi's 1969 terms in October 1972. He accepted conditions publicly put forward by President Nixon in January 1972 - and decried as unachievable in the American domestic debate. He said that "this new proposal is exactly what President Nixon has himself proposed: cease-fire, end of the war, release of the prisoners and troop withdrawal, and we propose a number of principles on political problems. You have also proposed this. And we shall leave to the South Vietnamese parties the settlement of these questions."
American disunity was the major factor in dashing these hopes.
Kissinger has also been accused of an alleged lack of transparency. He has responded by donating all of his personal papers to the Library of Congress for posterity. He recently released some 20,000 pages of transcripts of his private conversations with various world leaders. Such transcripts were the basis for his 2003 book on foreign policy, Crisis.
In 1976, Kissinger "declined to approve" that a letter be sent to Chile warning them against carrying out any political assassinations. In an Aug. 30, 1976 memo, Shlaudeman discussed the possibility that the U.S. ambassador in Uruguay might be endangered by delivering a warning against assassination. The U.S. ambassador to Chile said that Pinochet might take as an insult any inference that he was connected with assassination plots. When the CIA learned about the Chilean plan to set up a covert office in Miami as part of Chile's overseas operations in 1974, however, Kissinger did authorize the CIA to send the Chilean Directorate of National Intelligence (DINA) a warning not to go ahead with the plan. He rejected the State Department's proposal to publicly rebuke Chile on the matter. As a result, the Chileans backed down. Kissinger's decision not to send the letter is considered a subject of controversy because Chile was engaging in a spree of international murders at the time (the day the letter was to be sent, a Pinochet critic was assassinated in Washington, D.C.).
Kissinger's alleged warm support of Pinochet is without much basis in fact; Kissinger and Ford began viewing Pinochet's regime as a serious Cold War liability as early as 1975 and the US engaged in repeated diplomatic confrontations with it from 1977 on. The CIA warned that "internationally, the Latin generals look like our guys;" therefore, the US had a vested interest in moderating the way they behaved.
The moderate left-wing extremist Christopher Hitchens has accused Kissinger of bad faith, describing him as a "toady" of Nixon who "knows what to do" without "being asked." He has also condemned Kissinger's business ties with Indonesia, arguing that they influenced the US "tilt" in favor of Suharto during the war in East Timor. In a general sense, Kissinger responded to these and similar charges by stating:
When I was a young professor in the fifties at Harvard, where 99.9% of the people on the faculty were Democrats—I can remember only one Republican that I knew—the people in political science had faculty meetings…No one ever attacked the government for being a criminal activity. Nobody said, ‘they like to go to war; they’re blood-dripping!’ Sometime in the sixties, the idea developed that the government itself was an evil enterprise, that they lied professionally to the American people, and that the purpose of intellectuals was to negate the government rather than be constructive...Everybody working in government goes through the long hours and all the other pressures [associated with the job] because he or she would like to make a contribution to a better world.
Contra Hitchens, Kissinger attempted to resign from the Nixon White House on at least three separate occasions—not exactly the sort of thing one would expect from a "toady."
Conrad Black has written that "Kissinger has sincere compassion for the victims of the grinding wheels of history," although "he tends to take his distance from the beleaguered...during their ordeals." On Vietnam, he maintains that Kissinger "toiled demiurgically for the war's end without a disaster, and his anger [at the Democrats and the media] is real and earned." The "claims of the demented left," that he committed "crimes against Cambodia or Chile" are "bunk."
The Schneider Affair
The main controversy over the American role in Chile was an alleged attempt on the life of Chilean general Rene Schneider in 1970, due to his support for the appointment of Allende. The Church hearings found that the CIA did in fact give weapons to a group of men who it knew had attacked him twice before, ostensibly as a test of loyalty so that the CIA would remain privy to their information, but that the weapons provided and the group thereby armed were not the ones who actually killed him. The weapons were returned unused to the CIA and then discarded in the Pacific Ocean. Schneider was assassinated by a rival group of right-wing extremists. On June 11, 1971, Kissinger and Nixon said the following in a private conversation:
- Kissinger: —when they did try to assassinate somebody, it took three attempts—
- Nixon: Yeah.
- Kissinger: —and he lived for three weeks afterwards.
There are two possible interpretations of these remarks: a) Kissinger was telling the President that a military coup could not succeed in Chile because there were no officers both willing and able to carry one out; or b) the two men were mocking the CIA's squeamishness about killing Schneider.
According to Commentary, however, regardless of what they said in the aftermath (quoting from the Nixon Tapes):
"Kissinger seems to have been unaware of the plot...Karamassines phoned the National Security Adviser who asked if he "cleared everything in advance with you. He said no, you were too busy." In the same private conversation, Kissinger remarks that, although he did not know about the second plot, he might have approved it. Then he adds: "I thought that after we turned off that one thing [the Viaux plot], nothing more had happened and in fact that other thing [the Schneider kidnapping] had happened."
The death of Schneider had the opposite effect of what was intended by the Nixon administration—even as the CIA worked to buy off the Congress so as to prevent Allende's appointment, it ensured that the nation would rally behind the otherwise polarizing leader.
A smooth-talking, charming bon vivant, Kissinger was an international celebrity in high society, with the opposite personality of Nixon, yet they made a remarkably effective team with surprisingly little friction. They thought alike, and both could conceptualize and make plans for the complex interactions of international affairs. Neither was interested in economics, and only Nixon mastered the nitty gritty of politics and elections, while only Kissinger understood nuclear strategy.
Kissinger and Nixon were "realists" who deemphasized idealistic goals like anti-communism or promotion of democracy worldwide, because those goals were seen as too expensive in terms of America's economic capabilities. Instead of a Cold War they wanted peace, trade and cultural exchanges. Instead Nixon and Kissinger sought to downsize America's global commitments in proportion to its reduced economic, moral and political power. They rejected "idealism" as impractical and too expensive; neither man showed much sensitivity to the plight of people living under Communism. Kissinger's realism fell out of fashion as idealism returned to American foreign policy with Carter's moralism emphasizing human rights, and Reagan's rollback strategy aimed at destroying Communism.
- Black, Conrad. Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full, PublicAffairs (2007), includes lengthy analysis of foreign policy.
- Bundy, William P. A Tangled Web: The Making of Foreign Policy in the Nixon Presidency (1998) excerpt and text search
- Dallek, Robert. Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power (2007) excerpt and text search, dual biography by leading scholar; hostile
- Garthoff, Raymond L. Detente and Confrontation: American-Soviet Relations from Nixon to Reagan (2nd ed. 1994) excerpt and text search, favorable analysis by proponent of detente
- Goh, Evelyn. Constructing the U.S. Rapprochement with China, 1961-1974: From "Red Menace" to "Tacit Ally." (2005). 299 pp.
- Goh, Evelyn. "Nixon, Kissinger, and the 'Soviet Card' in the U.S. Opening to China, 1971-1974." Diplomatic History 2005 29(3): 475-502. Issn: 0145-2096 Fulltext: Ebsco
- Hanhimäki, Jussi M. "'Dr. Kissinger' or 'Mr. Henry'? Kissingerology, Thirty Years and Counting." Diplomatic History 2003 27(5): 637-676 full text at EBSCO
- Hanhimäki, Jussi M. "Ironies and Turning Points: Détente in Perspective," in Odd Arne Westad, ed. Reviewing the Cold War: Approaches, Interpretations, Theory (2000), pp 326–42; excerpt and text search
- Horne, Alistair. "Kissinger: 1973, The Crucial Year" (2009); one of the best books on the man.
- Isaacson, Walter. Kissinger (1992); a major biography excerpt and text search
- Kuklick, Bruce. Blind Oracles: Intellectuals and War from Kennan to Kissinger. (2006). 241 pp. says nearly everyone with substantial academic credentials in the early Cold War decades was wrong nearly all the time.
- Litwak, Robert S. Détente and the Nixon Doctrine: American Foreign Policy and the Pursuit of Stability, 1969-1976 (1986)
- Macmillan, Margaret. Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World (2008)
- Mann, James. About Face: A History of America's Curious Relationship with China, from Nixon to Clinton (1999).
- Nelson, Keith L. The Making of Détente: Soviet-American Relations in the Shadow of Vietnam (1995)
- Qureshi, Lubna Zakia. ""Nixon, Kissinger, and Allende: U.S. Involvement in the 1973 Coup in Chile (2009)
- Rodman, Peter. Presidential Command: Power, Leadership, and the Making of Foreign Policy from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush, Knopf (2009).
- Ross, Robert S. Negotiating Cooperation: The United States and China, 1969-1989, Stanford University Press, 1995 online edition
- Schulzinger, Robert D. Henry Kissinger: Doctor of Diplomacy. (1989).
- Serewicz, Lawrence W. America at the Brink of Empire: Rusk, Kissinger, And the Vietnam War (2007), stresses commitment to republicanism excerpt and text search; online review
- Suri, Jeremi. Henry Kissinger and the American Century (2007), intellectual biography focused on pre-1969
- Tucker, Nancy Bernkopf. "Taiwan Expendable? Nixon and Kissinger Go to China." Journal of American History 2005 92(1): 109-135. in History Cooperative
- Warner, Geoffrey. "Nixon, Kissinger and the Rapprochement with China, 1969-1972." International Affairs 2007 83(4): 763-781. Issn: 0020-5850 Fulltext: Ebsco
- Willbanks, James H. Abandoning Vietnam: How America Left and South Vietnam Lost Its War (2004) excerpt and text search
- Kissinger, Henry. White House Years (1979). Nov. 1968-Jan. 1973; Years of Upheaval (1982). Jan. 1973 to Aug. 1974; Years of Renewal (1999), Aug. 1974 to Jan. 1977 excerpt and text search vol 3
- Kissinger, Henry. "The Conservative Dilemma: Reflections on the Political Thought of Metternich" The American Political Science Review, Vol. 48, No. 4 (Dec., 1954), pp. 1017–1030 in JSTOR
- Kissinger, Henry. "The Congress of Vienna: A Reappraisal," World Politics, Vol. 8, No. 2 (Jan., 1956), pp. 264–280 in JSTOR
- Kissinger, Henry. A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace 1812-22. (1957), his revised PhD dissertation.
- Kissinger, Henry. "Acceptance Speech" for The Nobel Peace Prize 1973 online edition
- Kissinger, Henry. "Address to the Sixth Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly," International Organization, Vol. 28, No. 3 (Summer, 1974), pp. 573–583 in JSTOR
- Kissinger, Henry. American Foreign Policy (3rd ed. 1977), his speeches
- Kissinger, Henry. "The Kissinger Commission on Population and Development in Central America," Population and Development Review, Vol. 10, No. 2 (Jun., 1984), pp. 381–389 in JSTOR
- Kissinger, Henry. Diplomacy (1994) an interpretive history since 1815
- Kissinger, Henry. Ending the Vietnam War: A History of America's Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War (2003) excerpt and text search
- Haldeman, H. R. The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House (1994)
- Nixon, Richard. RN: The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (1981) excerpt and text search
- William Burr, ed. "Nixon's Trip to China Records now Completely Declassified, Including Kissinger Intelligence Briefing and Assurances on Taiwan" The National Security Archive (2003)
- William Y. Elliott was his director but only read half of it; the Government Department thereupon ruled that future senior theses could not exceed 40,000 words.
- William Burr, "The Nixon Administration, the 'Horror Strategy,' and the Search for Limited Nuclear Options, 1969-1972: Prelude to the Schlesinger Doctrine." Journal of Cold War Studies 2005 7(3): 34-78. Issn: 1520-3972 Fulltext: Project Muse; Aaron L. Friedberg, "A History of U.S. Strategic 'Doctrine'—1945 to 1980," Journal of Strategic Studies, Vol. 3, No. 4 (December 1980), pp. 37-71; Scott Sagan, Moving Targets: Nuclear Strategy and National Security (1989).
- Margaret Macmillan, Nixon and Mao: The Week That Changed the World (2008)
- Evelyn Goh, "Nixon, Kissinger, and the 'Soviet Card' in the U.S. Opening to China, 1971-1974." Diplomatic History 2005 29(3): 475-502.
- http://www.huliq.com/37702/rising-economic-growth-in-china-india-contributes-to-food-inflation "...hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty in the past few decades"
- Marek Sliwinski, Le Génocide Khmer Rouge: Une Analyse Démographique (L’Harmattan, 1995), pp41-8.
- Dmitry Mosyakov, “The Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese Communists: A History of Their Relations as Told in the Soviet Archives,” in Susan E. Cook, ed., Genocide in Cambodia and Rwanda (Yale Genocide Studies Program Monograph Series No. 1, 2004), p54ff. Availible online at: http://220.127.116.11/workpaper/pdfs/GS20.pdf "In April–May 1970, many North Vietnamese forces entered Cambodia in response to the call for help addressed to Vietnam not by Pol Pot, but by his deputy Nuon Chea. Nguyen Co Thach recalls: “Nuon Chea has asked for help and we have liberated five provinces of Cambodia in ten days.”"
- Washington Post, June 4, 23, 1975
- http://jim.com/canon.htm#ch2 From an important study by genocide survivor Sophal Ear. Note that the source is, of all people, William Shawcross.
- The Times, UK, June 15, 1967.
- http://www.hr-action.org/chr/ECHR01.html 1st Report of the European Commission of Human Rights; Turkey's intervention in Cyprus and aftermath (20 July 1974 - 18 May 1976)
- http://www.hr-action.org/chr/ECHR02.html 2nd Report of the European Commission of Human Rights; Turkey's intervention in Cyprus and aftermath (19 May 1976 to 10 February 1983)
- Washington Post, 23 July 1974
- Borowiec, Andrew (2000), Cyprus: A Troubled Island. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, pp2
- Hal Brands, "Richard Nixon and Economic Nationalism in Latin America: the Problem of Expropriations, 1969-1974." Diplomacy & Statecraft 2007 18(1): 215-235. Issn: 0959-2296 Fulltext: Ebsco
- http://nixontapeaudio.org/chile/517-004.pdf Includes discussion of intelligence reports of Allende-backed hit jobs; note that Cuban intelligence reached the same conclusion--hence the infamous "packages" scandal.
- “Declaration of the Breakdown of Chile’s Democracy,” Resolution of the Chamber of Deputies, Chile, August 22, 1973.
- The Kissinger Telcons: Kissinger Telcons on Chile, National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 123, edited by Peter Kornbluh, posted May 26, 2004. This particular dialogue can be found at TELCON: September 16, 1973, 11:50 a.m. Kissinger Talking to Nixon. Retrieved November 26, 2006.
- Nick Eberstadt, The Poverty of Communism (Transaction Publishers, 1990), pp188, 196-206, 240-6, in which he discusses living standards in Communist Cuba versus Pinochet's Chile.
- Black, Conrad, Richard Nixon: A Life in Full (2007), p. 751.
- Black, Conrad (2007), p. 752
- Jayakar, Indira Gandhi, p. 232; Kissinger, White House Years, pp. 878 & 881-82.
- Black, Conrad (2007), p. 753.
- Black, Conrad (2007), p. 755.
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c35COXObeo8&feature=fvw Former CIA head in Angola discusses the operation on CNN
- Médecins Sans Frontières, “Angola: An Alarming Nutritional Situation,” August 1999
- National Society for Human Rights, Ending the Angolan Conflict, Windhoek, Namibia, July 3, 2000
- Namibia's National Human Rights Organisation, Press Releases, September 12, 2000, May 16, 2001
- Washington Post, March 18, 1978; New York Times, December 14, 1994.
- http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/07/world/europe/07russiasumm.html?_r=1 Although Russian TV calls him a "war criminal" due to his imaginary crimes in Vietnam and Cambodia.
- Robert Dallek (2007), Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power, HarperCollins, pp. 73-74.
- Dallek, pp. 74-75.
- Dallek, p. 75.
- Dallek, pp. 77-78.
- Conrad Black (2007), Richard Nixon: A Life in Full, PublicAffairs, p. 553.
- http://www.cepchile.cl/dms/archivo_3236_1698/r92_fermandois_ing.pdf Translated from Spanish