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Henry Kissinger: May 27, 1923 - November 29, 2023

McConnell Honors Henry Kissinger, “Yesterday Marked the End of the Extraordinary Kissinger Century" / May 27, 1923 - November 29, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Thursday, November 30, 2023) – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding Henry Kissinger: “The past hundred years have seen few, if any, strategic thinkers shape world events as profoundly as Henry Kissinger.

“Few academics have had such deep experience in the practice of foreign policy.

“Few political appointees have had such bureaucratic savvy.

“Few senior government officials have carried such intellectual heft.

“Who else could claim to have advised more than one-fourth of all U.S. Presidents? To have taken a seat across from every Chinese head of state since Chairman Mao?

“Yesterday marked the end of the extraordinary Kissinger century.

“If you considered just the early chapters of this remarkable life, you might expect Henry Kissinger to be the quintessential idealist.

“By the age of 30, he had escaped Nazi brutality for America, returned home a decorated veteran of the campaign to defeat Hitler, and launched a successful career as an Ivy League academic.

“Of course, instead of an idealist, this made-for-Hollywood origin story produced one of the world’s staunchest realists. The Kissinger calculus was grounded in pragmatic assessments of national interests, the use of military force, and diplomatic compromise. And by extension, so were decades of American foreign policy.

“Several years ago, one particularly apt assessment of Henry Kissinger’s legacy pointed out that he didn’t believe ‘the arc of history makes house calls’. In other words, if the free world waits passively for its noble convictions to be vindicated, we’ll be waiting quite a while.

“Instead, Henry Kissinger knew that the organizing principle for American strategy must be American interests.

“And he left no room for wondering what this approach looked like in practice.

“His careful negotiations ushered in a period of détente with America’s greatest 20th century rival, and his bold diplomacy opened the door to a relationship with China that rebalanced Cold War dynamics in America’s favor.

“Of course, the enduring relevance of Dr. Kissinger’s work is due in no small part to his prolific participation in public discourse on foreign policy and grand strategy up until the very end.

“The author of 21 books confounded scholars half his age with the pace and volume of his brilliant scholarship on topics ranging from the history of diplomacy to artificial intelligence.

“In perhaps the truest expression of both his intellectual horsepower and understanding of power, he remains the only American statesman to have served as Secretary of State and National Security Advisor at the very same time!

“Today, the world Henry Kissinger leaves behind bears his indelible mark. The nation he served – the global superpower he helped create – owes him our gratitude.

“Elaine and I, along with so many of Dr. Kissinger’s friends in the Senate, send our condolences to his wife, Nancy, his children David and Elizabeth, and to the entire Kissinger family as they mourn a great American.”

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