Talk:Henry Kissinger

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  • As a professor, I tended to think of history as run by impersonal forces. But when you see it in practice, you see the difference personalities make.
    • During an interview with journalists quoted by Isaacson
  • 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.
    • Attributed by Leuren Moret
    • Here's the quote from NSSM 200: "Whatever may be done to guard against interruptions of supply and to develop domestic alternatives, the U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries. That fact gives the U.S. enhanced interest in the political, economic, and social stability of the supplying countries. Wherever a lessening of population pressures through reduced birth rates can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resource supplies and to the economic interests of the United States."
  • Diplomacy: the art of restraining power.
  • Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem.
  • Even a paranoid has some real enemies.
  • For other nations, utopia is a blessed past never to be recovered; for Americans it is just beyond the horizon.
  • Foreign Policy is not missionary work.
  • Just because You're paranoid doesn't mean They're not after You
  • History knows no resting place and no plateaus.
  • I am being frank about myself in this book. I tell of my first mistake on page 850.

There is a source for this in The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations. He said it in an 1983 interview with the Observer about his autobiography, Years of Upheaval.

  • I can think of no faster way to unite the American people behind George W. Bush than a terrorist attack on an American target overseas. And I believe George W. Bush will quickly unite the American people through his foreign policy.
  • If it's going to come out eventually, better have it come out immediately.
  • If we do what is necessary, all the odds are in our favor.
  • If you don't know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere.
  • In crises the most daring course is often safest.
  • Intelligence is not all that important in the exercise of power, and is often, in point of fact, useless.
  • It is, after all, the responsibility of the expert to operate the familiar and that of the leader to transcend it.
  • It is an act of insanity and national humiliation to have a law prohibiting the President from ordering assassination.
    • Statement at a National Security Council meeting in 1975
  • It was a Greek tragedy. Nixon was fulfilling his own nature. Once it started it could not end otherwise.
  • Leaders must invoke an alchemy of great vision.
  • Moderation is a virtue only in those who are thought to have an alternative.
  • Most high officials leave office with the perceptions and insights with which they entered; they learn how to make decisions but not what decisions to make.
  • Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.
    • Variant: Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad.
  • No country can act wisely simultaneously in every part of the globe at every moment of time.
  • No foreign policy - no matter how ingenious - has any chance of success if it is born in the minds of a few and carried in the hearts of none.
  • No one will ever win the battle of the sexes; there's too much fraternizing with the enemy.
  • The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.
  • The American temptation is to believe that foreign policy is a subdivision of psychiatry.
  • The essence of this man is loneliness.
  • The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.
  • The Indians are bastards anyway. They are starting a war there.
    • Regarding the role of India in the 1971 Crisis between East and West Pakistan.
  • The longer I am out of office, the more infallible I appear to myself.
  • We really slobbered over the old witch. While she was a bitch, we got what we wanted too. She will not be able to go home and say that the United States didn't give her a warm reception and therefore in despair she's got to go to war.
    • Statements about Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during the 1971 war between India and West Pakistan.
  • The nice thing about being a celebrity is that when you bore people, they think it's their fault.
  • The real distinction is between those who adapt their purposes to reality and those who seek to mold reality in the light of their purposes.
  • The statesman's duty is to bridge the gap between his nation's experience and his vision.
  • The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.
  • There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
  • To be absolutely certain about something, one must know everything or nothing about it.
  • University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.
  • Whatever must happen ultimately should happen immediately.
  • When you meet the president, you ask yourself, "How did it ever occur to anybody that he should be governor much less president?"
  • Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.
    • Variant: Control oil and you control the nations; control food and you control the people.
  • Why should we flagellate ourselves for what the Cambodians did to each other?
  • You can't make war in the Middle East without Egypt and you can't make peace without Syria.
  • "Der Kommunismus findet Zulauf nur dort, wo er nicht herrscht."
    • Translates roughly to "Communism is on the rise only in countries where it is not practiced."
    • Alternately "Communism is only popular in the countries where it is not the ruling ideology."
  • (regarding the Iran-Iraq war) "It's a pity they can't both lose."
Last modified on 20 April 2013, at 13:03