Love him or hate him, Kissinger had an impact on US and international foreign policy from the late 1950s until his death. Kissinger never retired unlike most diplomats and academics, he kept consulting and writing books until the end.
Few diplomats have been both celebrated and reviled with such passion as Mr. Kissinger. Considered the most powerful secretary of state in the post-World War II era, he was by turns hailed as an ultrarealist who reshaped diplomacy to reflect American interests and denounced as having abandoned American values, particularly in the arena of human rights, if he thought it served the nation’s purposes. He advised 12 presidents — more than a quarter of those who have held the office — from John F. Kennedy to Joseph R. Biden Jr. With a scholar’s understanding of diplomatic history, a German-Jewish refugee’s drive to succeed in his adopted land, a deep well of insecurity and a lifelong Bavarian accent that sometimes added an indecipherable element to his pronouncements, he transformed almost every global relationship he touched.
He continued to wield influence in world affairs, and through his firm, Kissinger Associates, he advised corporations and executives on international trends and looming difficulties. When Disney sought to navigate the Chinese leadership to build a $5.5 billion park in Shanghai, Mr. Kissinger got the call. “Henry is certainly one of the most complex characters in recent American history,” said David Rothkopf, a former managing director of Mr. Kissinger’s consulting firm. “And he is someone who has, I think, justifiably been in the spotlight both for extraordinary brilliance and competence and, at the same time, clear defects.”
He was the architect of the Nixon administration’s efforts to topple Chile’s democratically elected Socialist president, Salvador Allende. He has been accused of breaking international law by authorizing the secret carpet-bombing of Cambodia in 1969-70, an undeclared war on an ostensibly neutral nation.
Kissinger's China diplomacy led to Nixon's visit and the opening to China.
There was something fundamentally simple, if terrifying, in the superpower conflicts he navigated. He never had to deal with terrorist groups like Al Qaeda or the Islamic State, or a world in which nations use social media to manipulate public opinion and cyberattacks to undermine power grids and communications. “The Cold War was more dangerous,” Mr. Kissinger said in a 2016 appearance at the New-York Historical Society. “Both sides were willing to go to general nuclear war.” But, he added, “today is more complex.”
For decades he remained the country’s most important voice on managing China’s rise, and the economic, military and technological challenges it posed. He was the only American to deal with every Chinese leader from Mao to Xi Jinping. In July, at age 100, he met Mr. Xi and other Chinese leaders in Beijing, where he was treated like visiting royalty even as relations with Washington had turned adversarial.
https://www.nytimes.com/2023/11/29/us/h ... -dead.html
Yet he warned against underestimating Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian leader. Making reference to Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto, he said: “In order to understand Putin, one has to read Dostoyevsky, not ‘Mein Kampf.’ He believes Russia was cheated, that we keep taking advantage of it.”
Kissinger's history is long and complex starting with his escape from Nazis Germany, his mentors Fritz Kraemer and William Yandell Elliott and his long association with Richard Nixon.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan