He’s being referred to as a “veteran U.S. diplomat” and an “old friend” of the Chinese. They are talking about how Henry Kissinger and how he just made a surprise trip to China. And they are particularly amazed at the fact that he just turned 100 years old.
Politics aside, this centenarian former U.S. secretary of State and national security advisor under Presidents Nixon and Ford is surprising everyone. Actually, he’s a trending topic on the internet. People are surprised he’s alive, he’s 100, he’s still working – and traveling around the globe.
Even Chinese social media including Weibo, their version of Twitter, is impressed with his stamina. Posts with #Kissinger have received more than 66 million views!
In addition to the social media attention, Kissinger received public attention from the Chinese. He has been held in high regard in China since 1971 when he led the normalization of relations between the U.S. and China, resulting in talks between Richard Nixon and Mao Zedong.
Role of a Lifetime
Kissinger has served, and continues to serve, as an American diplomat, political theorist, geopolitical consultant, and politician. He played a significant role in U.S. foreign policy He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for his work negotiating a ceasefire in Vietnam. According to Wikipedia:
Kissinger played a prominent role in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977, pioneering the policy of détente with the Soviet Union, orchestrating an opening of relations with the People’s Republic of China, engaging in what became known as shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East to end the Yom Kippur War, and negotiating the Paris Peace Accords, which ended American involvement in the Vietnam War.
Wikipedia goes on to say that “Kissinger has also been associated with such controversial policies as the U.S. bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War, U.S. involvement in the 1973 Chilean military coup, a “green light” to Argentina’s military junta for their Dirty War, and U.S. support for Pakistan during the Bangladesh Liberation War despite a genocide being perpetrated by Pakistan.”
After retiring from government work, he went on to form Kissinger Associates, wrote over a dozen books on his experiences, international relations, and diplomatic history. And he still found time to serve in a variety of other capacities, too many to mention.
Kissinger is the oldest living former U.S. Cabinet member and the last surviving member of President Nixon’s Cabinet. And he’s clearly still in the game.
His Longevity Secrets
While his work clearly gave Kissinger purpose, and international relations was his passion, they weren’t the only things in his life. His 100 Year Lifestyle included marriage and family, he is the father of a son and daughter.
Additionally, he clearly valued education. Kissinger was drafted into the Army in 1953. When he returned, he went back to school on the G.I. Bill, earning his master’s and ultimately his doctorate from Harvard University in 1954.
According to Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO who co-authored a book with Kissinger, it’s his workaholic nature that is the secret of his longevity. According to David Kissinger, his son, his longevity is due to two factors. The first being an “unquenchable curiosity that keeps him dynamically engaged with the world,” and the second being his sense of mission.
Interested in hearing Kissinger himself being interviewed about his career, turning 100, and his future. Click here.