Arash Azizi explains how Henry Kissinger saw himself as akin to an advisor to kings rather than a diplomat subject to democratic oversight. Kissinger had little care for the lives of millions of people and aided in grave crimes in various countries, showing no concern for small powers. Lien-Hang T. Nguyen represents Kissinger’s ability to execute the opposite of Nixon’s aim, ending American military intervention in Southeast Asia. Kelley Beaucar Vlahos shows that he was a war criminal leaving after human destruction behind, possibly lacking a heart. Joshua Zeitz describes how Kissinger prioritized order over justice and his use of force during the Vietnam War. Rajan Menon points out that while many celebrated his ideas, some extreme ideologies seem nutty and reckless in retrospect. Kissinger’s most important achievement may have been his role in opening a new chapter in the United States’ relationship with China. Although he was adept at cultivating the media, he treated Nixon with craven flattery in his presence but scorn, even pity, behind his back. His belief in cold calculation and self-interest resulted in a ruthless approach to statecraft. He may have been known as a war criminal, but he was also seen as a brilliant strategist and diplomat.
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