Henry Kissinger’s death at the age of 100 sparked reactions around the world on Wednesday night, with his controversial foreign policy legacy drawing praise and criticism.
In Times Square, where pro-Palestinian protesters were demonstrating against the war in Gaza, cheers could be heard after an organiser announced the news.
Rolling Stone magazine, in a brutal assessment of Mr Kissinger’s life, described him as a “notorious war criminal” and “state murderer” who was responsible for the death of “every single person who died in Vietnam between autumn 1968 and the Fall of Saigon”.
The obituary’s headline read: “Henry Kissinger, War Criminal Beloved by America’s Ruling Class, Finally Dies.”
American news outlets were mostly more positive, with Bloomberg naming him as a “child refugee who rose to become US secretary of state and defined American foreign policy during the 1970s with his strategies to end the Vietnam War and contain communist countries”.
CNN described him as a “dominating and polarising force in US foreign policy”, while Fox News said he was “revered and controversial, praised by supporters as a brilliant strategist and condemned by critics as a master manipulator”.
In France, Le Monde said he was “scathing, even contemptuous, but he knew how to charm those he needed,” and used a diplomatic technique “between cynicism and seduction, brutality and skill”.
The South China Morning Post focused on Mr Kissinger’s role in re-establishing diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing, and called him “unapologetic to the end” about his record in Vietnam and Cambodia.
The newspaper noted that “in recent years, he has called for an easing of tensions between Washington and Beijing”.
Foreign Policy Magazine said in its obituary that Mr Kissinger was a “colossus on the world stage” who “helped author some of the greatest triumphs—as well as some of the most tragic failures” of US foreign policy.
The Economist argued that “even his detractors admitted he had a brilliant mind” and said his preference for back-channel negotiations “suited Nixon’s taste for conspiracy” during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The German tabloid Bild simply announced: “Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is dead!”
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