Famous Quotes & Sayings

Henry A. Kissinger Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Henry A. Kissinger.

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Henry A. Kissinger Quotes 352817

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. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Countries do not assume burdens because it is fair, only because it is necessary. — Henry A. Kissinger

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We believe that peace is at hand. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Any fact that needs to be disclosed should be put out now or as quickly as possible, because otherwise the bleeding will not end. — Henry A. Kissinger

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At any rate, mutually assured destruction was never our policy. — Henry A. Kissinger

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America has made it very clear in several administrations that if there is an attack by China on Taiwan, the United States is very likely to resist. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The British capitalize on their accent when they don't want you to know what they're saying. But if you wake them up at 4 A.M., they speak perfect English, the same as we do. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Well, the capacity of French intellectuals to understand a Texan way of thinking is finite. — Henry A. Kissinger

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To be absolutely certain about something, one must know everything or nothing about it. — Henry A. Kissinger

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One theory is that we will make war look so attractive that we undermine the deterrent. That's Never Never Land. What we have now would have been enough to deter Hitler. But we are talking in a different order of reality. — Henry A. Kissinger

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We first became conscious of the plane publicly on a Monday. I thought then by the weekend it would be done. But then the Chinese military, the defense minister made a statement saying that if there was no apology from the United States, the Chinese military and the Chinese people would never understand. No reference to the government or the Communist Party, and that obviously presented an internal problem to the Chinese leadership, which was travelling at that moment. — Henry A. Kissinger

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I don't know what happens in the next years. But I cannot now design a policy in which we try to keep China from developing, because in some years, if they develop, they might be rich enough to challenge us, and adopt the principle that we will hold down any state that might in the future become strong. That would make us a world empire for which we wouldn't have the talents or the convictions. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Certainly nothing is easier than to rewrite history. If we had made Taiwan a separate state, it would have led to a fundamental conflict with China, and probably to war. Certainly in the long term, it would have led to war. — Henry A. Kissinger

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You know, this is a very strange phenomenon. I keep reading that in American newspapers, and I keep reading extensive speculations. I meet with the Chinese leaders periodically, and while I don't say they've endorsed the missile shield, it has not been in the forefront of their discussions. — Henry A. Kissinger

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World population needs to be decreased by 50% — Henry A. Kissinger

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[The New World Order] cannot happen without U.S. participation, as we are the most significant single component. Yes, there will be a New World Order, and it will force the United States to change it's perceptions. — Henry A. Kissinger

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With proper tactics, nuclear war need not be as destructive as it appears. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The emergence of a unified Europe is one of the most revolutionary events of our time. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Would food be considered an instrument of national power? ... Is the U.S. prepared to accept food rationing to help people who can't/won't control their population growth? — Henry A. Kissinger

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If the six-nation forums dealing with Iran and North Korea suffer comparable failures, the consequence will be a world of unchecked proliferation, not controlled by either governing principles or functioning institutions. A modern, strong, peaceful Iran could become a pillar of stability and progress in the region. This cannot happen unless Iran's leaders decide whether they are representing a cause or a nation - whether their basic motivation is crusading or international cooperation. The goal of the diplomacy of the Six should be to oblige Iran to confront this choice. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Today, America would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order. Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World Government — Henry A. Kissinger

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It is frankly a mistake of amateurs to believe you can gain the upper hand in a diplomatic negotiation. — Henry A. Kissinger

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China had never had to deal in a world of countries of approximately equal strength, and so to adjust to such a world, is in itself a profound challenge to China, which now has fourteen countries on its borders, some of which are small, but can project their nationality into China, some of which are large, and historically significant, so that any attempt by Chinese to dominate the world, would involve in a disastrous for the peace of the world. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Revolutionaries are rarely motivated primarily by material considerations-though the illusion that they are persists in the West. — Henry A. Kissinger

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In the middle '50s, I had written that the point would come, inevitably, at which the relationship between the cause of conflict and political objectives would be lost. — Henry A. Kissinger

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NAFTA represents the single most creative step towards a New World Order. — Henry A. Kissinger

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I do not know what will happen in China politically. I do know that it is impossible to maintain the communist system or probably even a strict one-party system when the economy becomes so pluralistic. Now, what form that takes and what institutions will evolve, I do not have a clear view about. I do not think the United States, as a general principle, ought to intervene in this. — Henry A. Kissinger

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We are not just any nation. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Create the impression of endless willingness to compromise and you almost invite deadlines. That's the challenge we now have in North Korea and have had in North Korea for 10 years. In this sense, diplomacy and foreign policy and other elements of political activity have to be closely linked and have to be understood by the negotiators — Henry A. Kissinger

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If you don't know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Whatever must happen ultimately should happen immediately. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The position is that stability and peace in Asia depend on a cooperative relationship between China and the United States. — Henry A. Kissinger

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If eighty percent of your sales come from twenty percent of all of your items, just carry those twenty percent. — Henry A. Kissinger

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I believe it is a mistake to isolate arms control from other areas of policy. — Henry A. Kissinger

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I think a resumption of the Cold War would be a historic tragedy. If a conflict is avoidable, on a basis reflecting morality and security, one should try to avoid it. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The elderly are useless eaters. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The first reactions are often instinctive. So one of the first things we said was that the Chinese had no right to inspect the plane, and that we had a sovereign right to. I don't know what the legal position is, but it was surely psychologically absolutely the unwise thing to do. — Henry A. Kissinger

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In the hands of a determined Secretary, the Foreign Service can be a splendid instrument, staffed by knowledgeable, discreet, and energetic individuals. They do require constant vigilance lest the convictions that led them into a penurious career tempt them to preempt decision-making. — Henry A. Kissinger

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I have great respect for the Taiwanese. They have done an extraordinary job. But it was not a sustainable position to say that the legitimate government of China resides in Taiwan, which at that time didn't have much contact with the mainland. — Henry A. Kissinger

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You should not think that you can shape history only by your will. This is also why I'm against the concept of intervention when you don't know its ultimate implications. — Henry A. Kissinger

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You become a superpower by being strong but also by being wise and by being farsighted. But no state is strong or wise enough to create a world order alone. — Henry A. Kissinger

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I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Of course, in principle, they're against it. We are the ones that keep asking them what they think about it. I think their basic concern is a land-based missile defense of Taiwan hooked into the American communications and other systems, which in effect would make Taiwan then an outpost of the United States. That is a concern they frequently express. A missile defense shield of the United States, while they may not like it, it is not a big obstacle to our relationship. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Leaders are responsible not for running public opinion polls but for the consequences of their actions. — Henry A. Kissinger

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I don't think that that's a desirable option for us. Besides, it wouldn't work, because there are too many other countries that are willing to work economically with China. But I don't think the basic relationship depends on economics. It depends on a political understanding of what is required for peace in Asia. — Henry A. Kissinger

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A bluff taken seriously is more useful than a serious threat interpreted as a bluff. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Over time even two armed blind men in a room can do enormous damage to each other, not to speak of the room. — Henry A. Kissinger

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How to Achieve The New World Order — Henry A. Kissinger

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An expert is someone who articulates the needs of those in power. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The China of the 1970s was a communist dictatorship. The China of the twenty-first century is a one-party state without a firm ideological foundation, more similar to Mexico under the PRI than Russia under Stalin. But the measurement of the political and the economic evolution has not yet been completed, and is one of the weak points of the system. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Why should we flagellate ourselves for what the Cambodians did to each other? — Henry A. Kissinger

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No country can act wisely simultaneously in every part of the globe at every moment of time. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Our problem was that in the American approach to Soviet affairs policy has oscillated between people who take an essentially psychological approach and people who take an essentially theological approach, and the two really meet. The psychologists try to "understand" the Soviet Union. And try to ease its alleged fears. The theologians say the Soviets are evil. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The US must carry out some act somewhere in the world which shows its determination to continue to be a world power. — Henry A. Kissinger

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There is no realism without an element of idealism. — Henry A. Kissinger

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I think China will do nothing to obstruct it, and they probably will go along with it. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Like any developing country, it has an inequality of wealth. In the Chinese case, it is particularly [pronounced] by the fact that they decided they couldn't make the whole country move forward simultaneously, so they've started region by region. So the interior regions are much less well off than the coastal regions. And this is certainly a huge challenge, because it produces a flow of populations from the poorer regions to the richer regions. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The American temptation is to believe that foreign policy is a subdivision of psychiatry. — Henry A. Kissinger

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You're 18 points down [in the polls] ... You might as well do what's right. — Henry A. Kissinger

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It is always easy to divide the world into idealists and power-oriented people. The idealists are presumed to be the noble people, and the power-oriented people are the ones that cause all the world's trouble. — Henry A. Kissinger

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To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal — Henry A. Kissinger

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Realism in foreign policy means careful consideration of all aspects pertinent to the issue, before taking a decision. This is the only way you can move from where you are to someplace else. — Henry A. Kissinger

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It is an act of insanity and national humiliation to have a law prohibiting the President from ordering assassination. — Henry A. Kissinger

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For other nations, utopia is a blessed past never to be recovered; for Americans it is just beyond the horizon. — Henry A. Kissinger

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When I became security advisor, I became familiar with the so-called SIOP war plans, I called in Secretary McNamara and asked him what they were hiding from me, because I couldn't believe that the National policy would foresee such a level of destructiveness. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Now when I bore people at a party they think it's their fault. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Almost every peace process that has gone on between the Arab side and Israel, the United States has been somewhat isolated because most of the countries in the world, what they really want is to accept the Arab peace plan or so-called peace plan, which in its present form would lead to the destruction of Israel. — Henry A. Kissinger

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American politics are normally a result of pragmatic and not philosophical reasoning. No one in Washington has said we now prefer multilateralism. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Let us fashion together a new world order. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Any international system must have two key elements for it to work. One, it has to have a certain equilibrium of power that makes overthrowing the system difficult and costly. Secondly, it has to have a sense of legitimacy. — Henry A. Kissinger

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If you mean by "military victory" an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don't believe that is possible. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The true conservative is not at home in social struggle. He will attempt to avoid unbridgeable schism, because he knows that a stable social structure thrives not on triumphs but on reconciliations. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The American foreign policy trauma of the sixties and seventies was caused by applying valid principles to unsuitable conditions. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The test of policy is how it ends, not how it begins. Foreign policy is the art of establishing priorities. Demonization is not a policy; it is an alibi for the absence of one. The test is not absolute satisfaction but balanced dissatisfaction. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Before there was the Soviet Union that could inflame matters. Now you have states not as powerful as the Soviet Union, but states like Iraq, like Iran, and to some extent Syria, having made it possible for some of these groups to operate. So it is a very difficult situation. — Henry A. Kissinger

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You should not go to war for the privilege of withdrawal. You need to define your objective and the outcome, and it cannot be the removal of one man. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The public life of every political figure is a continual struggle to rescue an element of choice from the pressure of circumstance. — Henry A. Kissinger

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University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation. — Henry A. Kissinger

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For the Soul of France is masterful history, brilliantly researched, and hard to put down. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The reason prophets are so rarely honored in their own country is that their role is to transcend the limits of their contemporaries' experience and imagination. They achieve recognition only when their vision has been turned into experience - in short, when it is too late to benefit from their foresight. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Peace depends ultimately not on political arrangements but on the conscience of mankind. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Henceforth the adequacy of any military establishment will be tested by its ability to preserve the peace. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The longer I am out of office, the more infallible I appear to myself. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The superpowers often behave like two heavily armed blind men feeling their way around a room, each believing himself in mortal peril from the other, whom he assumes to have perfect vision. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Clearly security without values is like a ship without a rudder. But values without security are like a rudder without a ship. — Henry A. Kissinger

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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. — Henry A. Kissinger

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The art of good foreign policy is to understand and to take into consideration the values of a society, to realize them at the outer limit of the possible. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Tutelage is a comfortable relationship for the senior partner, but it is demoralizing in the long run. It breeds illusions of omniscience on one side and attitudes of impotent irresponsibility on the other. — Henry A. Kissinger

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No, [the U.S.] has made it clear that we consider a peaceful resolution an essential aspect of American foreign policy. This I believe to be a situation understood by China, but again, it is important to not sound too truculent. Taking on a billion-plus Chinese is not an enterprise which one should enter lightly. — Henry A. Kissinger

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He [Deng Xiaoping] said that he did not understand why we failed to grasp that the alternative was not democracy, but total chaos and risking all the reforms that had been achieved. — Henry A. Kissinger

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[Nixon] wants a massive bombing campaign in Cambodia . He doesn't want to hear anything about it. It's an order, to be done. Anything that flies on anything that moves. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Power is the great aphrodisiac. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Left to its own devices, the State Department machinery tends toward inertia rather than creativity; it is always on the verge of turning itself into an enormous cable machine. — Henry A. Kissinger

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I also do not believe that the United States can let itself be driven into a political role by escalating terrorism, and therefore, the leaders of the Arab world and Arafat should do their utmost to put an end to this and then the United States should do its utmost to produce a political solution. — Henry A. Kissinger

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I believe that there is a whole set of issues in the world - environment, proliferation, energy, cyberspace - that can only be dealt with on a global basis. The traditional patterns of national rivalry and national competition are not suitable for those cases. — Henry A. Kissinger

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I believe that without Watergate we would have had an extraordinary period of success with a strong Nixon and a still vital Brezhnev in power. — Henry A. Kissinger

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Statesman create; ordinary leaders consume. The ordinary leader is satisfied with ameliorating the environment, not transforming it; a statesman must be a visionary and an educator. — Henry A. Kissinger