Henry Alfred Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Kissinger on May 27, 1923) is an American diplomat and political scientist. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as United States Secretary of State in the administrations of presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. For his actions negotiating an unsuccessful ceasefire in Vietnam, Kissinger received the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize under controversial circumstances, with two members of the committee resigning in protest.
Kissinger later sought, unsuccessfully, to return the prize. After his term, his advice has been sought by world leaders including subsequent U.S. presidents.
A proponent of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a prominent role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. During this period, he pioneered the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, orchestrated the opening of relations with the People’s Republic of China, and negotiated the Paris Peace Accords, ending American involvement in the Vietnam War. Kissinger’s Realpolitik resulted in controversial policies such as CIA involvement in Chile and U.S. support for Pakistan, despite its genocidal actions during the Bangladesh War.
He is the founder and chairman of Kissinger Associates, an international consulting firm. Kissinger has been a prolific author of books on politics and international relations with over one dozen books authored.
General opinion of Henry Kissinger is strongly divided in the Western world. Several scholars have ranked him as the most effective U.S. Secretary of State since 1965, while some journalists, activists, and human rights lawyers have condemned him as a war criminal.