On May 27, Henry Kissinger will celebrate his one-hundredth birthday. His centenary couldn’t come at a more symbolic time: Kissinger’s century was the American century, and they’re both coming to a close. Kissinger is probably America’s most controversial and polarising statesman — reviled as a war criminal by his critics, hailed as a master in the art of diplomacy and a peacemaker by his admirers. On one point everyone agrees: few people have had a bigger impact on US post-war foreign policy than Kissinger. As National Security Advisor and Secretary of State from 1969 to 1977 under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, Kissinger played a pivotal role in marshalling the United States through one of the Cold War’s most violent and turbulent decades. What one chooses to emphasise about Kissinger’s political record depends on where one sits in the “Kissinger wars” — the fierce intellectual battle that has been raging on for decades over the statesman’s legacy. According to his detractors, Kissinger was above all an imperialist who pursued US global supremacy with unmatched ruthlessness and cynicism. At the other end of the ideological spectrum we find the Kissinger-as-diplomatic-genius-and-peacemaker camp. Who’s right? Read my latest article here.

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