Henry Kissinger (born May 27, 1923 in F├╝rth, Germany, as Heinz Alfred Kissinger) is a German Jewish-born American diplomat, Nobel laureate and statesman. He served as National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State in the Nixon administration, continuing in the latter position after Gerald Ford became President in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal.
A proponent of Realpolitik, Kissinger played a dominant role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977. During this time, he pioneered the policy of d├ętente that led to a significant relaxation in US-Soviet tensions and played a crucial role in 1972 talks with Chinese foreign minister Zhou Enlai that concluded with the "opening" of China and the formation of a new strategic anti-Soviet Sino-American alliance.
Kissinger favored the maintenance of friendly diplomatic relationships with anti-Communist military dictatorships in the Southern Cone and elsewhere in Latin America, and approved of covert intervention in Chilean politics. He has been accused of complicity and encouragement in the atrocities committed by the Argentine military junta. Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon requested that Kissinger answer questions about matters relating to these humans rights abuses, but the US State Department rejected this petition. ,
During his time in the Nixon and Ford administrations he cut a flamboyant figure, appearing at social occasions with many of America's most celebrated beauties. His foreign policy record made him enemies amongst anti-war liberals and conservative anti-Communist hawks alike; controversy surrounding Kissinger has by no means receded in the years since.
With the recent declassification of Nixon and Ford administration documents relating to US policy toward South America and East Timor, Kissinger has come under fire from certain journalists and human rights advocacy groups, both in the US and abroad. Several have accused him of having committed war crimes ; author and journalist Christopher Hitchens is perhaps most prominent among the accusers.