General Question

fremen_warrior's avatar

What is your opinion of Henry Kissinger?

Asked by fremen_warrior (5505points) September 2nd, 2012

I am 27, I do not know the man. I blazed through his On China, read an article or two penned by him in Foreign Affairs, saw an interview with him on youtube, and he seams like a very knowledgeable, wise person.

On the other hand I have met a lot of people who cringe when they hear his name, the words war criminal pop up from time to time… I am stumped. Can anybody tell me exactly why people hate Henry Kissinger so much?

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11 Answers

filmfann's avatar

When he was a professor at Harvard, he was the model for Peter Sellers performance as Dr. Strangelove.
When he was Secretary of State under Nixon, he pushed for the Christmas bombing. His approach to Viet Nam was to destroy them all.
Under Ford, he pushed for a harsh response to the Mayaguez incident, which nearly sent us back into war.
Under Nixon, his shuttle diplomacy was remarkable, yet had mixed results.
He was well known for dating Hollywood starlets, like Jill St. John.

What’s not to hate?

Judi's avatar

I was young, but he was Nixons Secretary of State and just that affiliation leaves a nasty taste in a lot of people’s mouths. He was Secretary of State durring The Viietnam war and that just feels yucky.
I think that in comparison to today’s republican party he was a gentleman and a statesman. He wouldn’t stand a chance today.

zenvelo's avatar

In 1968 Nixon promised that he had a secret plan to end the war. His secret plan was to have Kissinger take four years to negotiate a plan to slowly withdraw.

Kissinger’s idea of negotiation and diplomacy was to have nuclear weapons in one’s back pocket. Not only was he the model for Dr Strangelove, he was the model for Karl Malden’s character in FailSafe, who argued that nuclear war losses were okay as long as we won the nuclear war.

janbb's avatar

He was a very clever warmonger, but a warmonger nonetheless.

elbanditoroso's avatar

A very smart man, who used to be creative in his views on foreign policy.

The older he got, the more doctrinaire and less creative he became. It’s like he bought into the “power for sake of power” doctrine, instead of his original “smart power” views.

A great man of the past, but with a lust for secrecy.

Pazza's avatar

Opinion – Evil….. Sporn of satan.
He’s a builderberg member.
Christopher Hitchens on the crimes of Henry Kissinger 1/6

flutherother's avatar

What I cannot forget about Henry Kissinger is the carpet bombing of Cambodia which he promoted. This involved dropping more bombs on neutral Cambodia than were dropped during the Second World War. The carpet bombing of the countryside by B52’s was carried on for years in secrecy and on such a scale that it led to the de stabilisation of the country and the rise of the Khmer Rouge. My opinion of Kissinger is that he should have been brought to trial for ‘crimes against humanity’.

filmfann's avatar

@zenvelo You may be confused. Karl Malden wasn’t in Fail Safe. The actor who claimed acceptable losses was Walter Matthau, and that was essentially the same position as Strangelove’s.

Linda_Owl's avatar

He had a lust for power. He was willing to be the power behind the throne, but he wanted people to know how much power that he had. He was part-and-parcel of the disaster of the Viet Nam war that got so many US draftees killed & supported a crooked Viet Nam government that the US kept in power, & he was willing to destroy both Viet Nam & Cambodia. I agree with @flutherother , he should have been charged with war crimes. Of course my feelings don’t count, if they did, both Bush & Cheney would be charged with war crimes for the lies they told before they invaded & destroyed Iraq.

zenvelo's avatar

@filmfann Yes, you’re right, I had a brainfart. Kind of like a computer generating the FailSafe codes.
@Linda_Owl You’d be in the company of Desmond Tutu, who said a couple of days ago that GW Bush and Tony Blair should be tried at the International Criminal Court.

Kissinger once said beautiful women dated him because “Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” Ever since I heard that I figured Kissinger got his jollies tied up in having military might.

zenvelo's avatar

edited since this is in General.

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