Henry Kissinger, fully Henry Alfred Kissinger

Henry
Kissinger, fully Henry Alfred Kissinger
1923

German-born American Politician, Ambassador, Secretary of State

Author Quotes

I'm confident John Bolton will bring peace to the world before he brings peace to his relations with The New York Times,

A country that demands moral perfection in its foreign policy will achieve neither perfection nor security.

At the end of that (peace) process, a Palestinian state was always inevitable... What other attribute could the territory that would be left to the Palestinians have?

Ever since the secret trip to China, my own relationship with Nixon had grown complicated. Until then I had been an essentially anonymous White House assistant. But now his associates were unhappy, and not without reason, that some journalists were giving me perhaps excessive credit for the more appealing aspects of our foreign policy while blaming Nixon for the unpopular moves. These tendencies were given impetus by an interview I granted to the Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, without doubt the single most disastrous conversation I ever had with any member of the press. I saw her briefly on Nov. 2 and 4, 1972, in my office. I did so largely out of vanity. She had interviewed leading personalities all over the world. Fame was sufficiently novel for me to be flattered by the company I would be keeping. I had not bothered to read her writings; her evisceration of other victims was thus unknown to me.

I think there is a chance of this working as long as ... at the end of what is being done, the terrorists should not be able to say that they got us to do things that we would not have done except for terrorism,

In relations with many domestically weak countries, a radio transmitter can be a more effective form of pressure than a squadron of B-52s.

Diplomacy: the art of restraining power.

Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world, because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries

People think responsibility is hard to bear. It's not. I think that sometimes it is the absence of responsibility that is harder to bear. You have a great feeling of impotence.

The average person thinks that morality can be applied as directly to the conduct of states to each other as it can to human relations. That is not always the case, because sometimes statesmen have to choose among evils.

When one is on a tightrope, the most dangerous course is to stop.

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad name.

The vision of a world community based on justice, not power, is the necessity of our age.

While we should never give up our principles, we must also realize that we cannot maintain our principles unless we survive.

History is often cruel, and rarely logical, and yet the wisest of realists are those who recognize that fate can indeed be shaped by human faith and courage.

Two centuries ago, the philosopher Kant predicted that perpetual peace would come about eventually – either as the creation of man’s moral aspirations or as the consequence of physical necessity. What seemed utopian then looms as tomorrow’s reality; soon there will be no alternative.

When nations are able to inflict tens of millions of casualties in a matter of hours, peace has become a moral imperative.

Throughout history the political influence of nations has been roughly correlative to their military power.

The ultimate meaning of history – as of life – we can find only within ourselves.

The stronger one’s real position, the less one needs to rub in the other side’s discomfiture. It is rarely wise to inflame a setback with an insult. An important aspect of the art of diplomacy consists of doing what is necessary without producing extraneous motives for retaliation, leaving open the option of later cooperation on other issues.

The public does not in the long run respect leaders who mirror its own insecurities or see only the symptoms of crises rather than the long-term trends. The role of the leader is to assume the burden of acting on the basis of a confidence in his own assessment of the direction of events and how they can be influenced. Failing that, crises will multiply, which is another way of saying that a leader has lost control over events.

The spirit of policy and that of bureaucracy are diametrically opposed… The essence of bureaucracy is its quest for safety; its success is calculability. Profound policy thrives on perpetual creation, on a constant redefinition of goals. Good administration thrives on routine, the definition of relationships which can survive mediocrity. Policy involves an adjustment of risks; administration, an avoidance of deviation.

The political leaders with whom we are familiar generally aspire to be superstars rather than heroes. The distinction is crucial. Superstars strive for approbation; heroes walk alone. Superstars crave consensus; heroes define themselves by the judgment of a future they see it as their task to bring about. Superstars seek success in a technique for eliciting support; heroes pursue success as the outgrowth of inner values.

The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerilla wins if it does not lose.

The convictions that leaders have formed before reaching high office are the intellectual capital they will consume as long as they continue in office. There is little time for leaders to reflect. They are locked in an endless battle in which the urgent constantly gains on the important. The public life of every political figure is a continual struggle to rescue an element of choice from the pressure of circumstance.

Author Picture
First Name
Henry
Last Name
Kissinger, fully Henry Alfred Kissinger
Birth Date
1923
Bio

German-born American Politician, Ambassador, Secretary of State