Kissinger, giant of statecraft, molded post-war US history

December 01, 2023

In an unprecedented arrangement that demonstrated his absolute influence, for two years Kissinger remained national security advisor while serving as secretary of state. As part of a strategy of isolating the Soviet Union, as well as shaking up diplomacy on Vietnam, Kissinger took a landmark decision that would arguably become his most consequential -- reaching out to communist China. Kissinger's overtures eventually led the way for Western businesses to flock to China, which by the 21st century had grown into an emerging rival to the United States. Showing his cold calculus, taped conversations with Nixon revealed that Kissinger had fully expected South Vietnam to fall after the accords. But Kissinger rarely passed up opportunities to dispense advice, readily shuttling from his Manhattan penthouse to Washington when leaders called.