At 100, Kissinger basks in US praise with no accountability

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WASHINGTON - Mr Henry Kissinger, whose very name is synonymous with US diplomacy, turns 100 on Saturday, feted by the American elite as others seethe that the ruthless Cold Warrior has never faced accountability.

From opening the door to communist China to plotting an endgame to the Vietnam War to unapologetically backing dictators who were anti-Soviet, Mr Kissinger wielded influence like few before or after him, serving as both top diplomat and security advisor to former US presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Instantly recognisable for his bookishly thick glasses and a sharp-witted monotone that never lost a touch of his native German, Mr Kissinger was first an academic and his intellectual gifts are acknowledged begrudgingly even by some of his harshest critics.

Since leaving office in 1977, Mr Kissinger’s brand of realpolitik – the coldly cynical championing of power and national interests – has largely fallen out of favour as his successors preached moralism, but Mr Kissinger himself has if anything enjoyed greater repute.

Ahead of his centennial, Mr Kissinger blew candles on a cake at a celebratory luncheon at the Economic Club of New York, the city where he grew up after his Jewish family fled Nazi Germany.

Showing his worldview has not changed at the century mark, Mr Kissinger cautioned for the United States to stay within the bounds of “vital interests,” telling the guests, “We need to be always strong enough to resist any pressures.”

Bucking the view of most US policymakers, Mr Kissinger called for diplomacy with Russia on a ceasefire in Ukraine, arguing that Moscow has already suffered a strategic defeat.

‘He has gotten away with it’

An unlikely playboy in the 1970s Washington, Mr Kissinger lives in a tiny apartment on New York’s Par...

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