Kissinger: A Historiography Essay

4502 words - 18 pages

Who is Henry Kissinger? Is he as Jussi Hanhamaki terms him “Dr. Kissinger” (the prince of realpolitik who put his remarkable insights to the service of a nation in deep trouble) or “Mr. Henry” (the power-hungry, bureaucratic schemer bent on self-aggrandizement)? This dichotomy is not the only one that exists when discussing Henry Kissinger. Stephen Graubard, Gregory Cleva, Walter Issacson and Jussi Hanhimäki have all written works that view Kissinger differently. Some of the differences are slight and all four sometimes agree but the best interpretation of Kissinger lies in viewing him through a lens of historical context. This view produces the image of Kissinger as realist who ultimately failed to account for the changing forces in foreign policy, ultimately this leads to his estimation as an architect of American foreign policy whose flaws kept him from realizing the paradigm he established of triangular diplomacy and détente would fail in many parts of the world.
The views of Kissinger are as numerous and varied as the works that are based on his life. This paper examines four, one a biography by Walter Issacson, an examination of the formation of Kissinger’s political thought by Stephen Graubard, a work on Kissinger’s role in the formation of American foreign policy by Gregory Cleva and the book and complementary article by Jussi Hanhimäki which seeks to reconcile the views of disparate authors with newly released documentary evidence.
Stephen Graubard focused on Kissinger’s writing and career pre-1969. Graubard’s work, published in 1973, viewed Kissinger not as a realist, or a historicist but as a statesman. The statesman, based on European models was intellectual and diplomatic . Graubard’s Kissinger saw peace as an achievable product dependent on a stable international order , and saw limited war by a legitimate state as opening the doors for diplomacy . This Kissinger found fault in containment because he saw it as adversely affecting American relations with its allies, namely China and provided no incentives for Soviet concessions .
Gregory Cleva writing in the 1980s possessed more historical perspective than Graubard, yet the Soviet Union had not yet fallen and the Cold War continued apace. This historical context of the author colors his writing. Cleva’s intention was to focus on the historical foundation of Kissinger’s thought pre-1969. By examining Kissinger’s writings up to the point of his joining Nixon’s cabinet, Cleva puts forth that Kissinger viewed international relations from a deliberately historical perspective . A thought process known as historicism, the theory that social and cultural phenomena are determined by history, informed Kissinger's approach to foreign policy.
Cleva also examines what he terms the “Kissinger cycle” of foreign policy, which advocated limited war and continued enhancement of military strength . Cleva cites the paradoxes present in Kissinger’s foreign policy, for example, the...

Find Another Essay On Kissinger: A Historiography

Essay on Light and Dark in Antigone

1188 words - 5 pages . Throughout Antigone, King Creon is a symbol for nomos, while Antigone stands on the side of physis. To portray these ideas, light and dark images are used as a recurring motif to reinforce the theme. Light is used to show something good that is happening, whereas dark is utilized to show something of which the gods disapprove. Following with tradition, this play uses light to portray what is right in the eyes of the chorus and darkness to reproach the

charant Creon as the Main Character of Antigone

1231 words - 5 pages Creon as the Main Character of Antigone   Throughout the Greek play Antigone by Sophocles, there exists a dispute as to who should receive the designation of main character. Antigone, the daughter of the cursed King Oedipus, as well as Creon, stately king of Thebes, both appear as the key figures in this historic play. I believe that Creon, king of Thebes, should be considered the main character in this work of Greek theater. Three

Free Macbeth Essays: Sleep and Sleeplessness

525 words - 2 pages The Sleep and Sleeplessness Motif in Macbeth We have consciences that function to tell us the difference between right and wrong. If we have clear consciences, we usually possess the ability to sleep. But when our consciences are full of guilt, we experience a state of sleeplessness. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the sleep and sleeplessness motif to represent Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's consciences and the effect Macbeth's conscience has

Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield

898 words - 4 pages Life Outside of Life in Hawthorne’s Wakefield   Efficacy lies at the heart of human desires for immortality. Characters throughout literature and art are depicted as wanting to step aside and see what their world would be like without their individual contributions. The literary classic A Christmas Carol and the more recent, but ageless, film It’s Wonderful Life both use outside influences (three ghosts and Clarence the Angel

Essay on Identity in Song of Solomon

2172 words - 9 pages Searching for Identity in Song of Solomon         Abstract: Whether Africans really fly or just escape a monumental burden, perhaps only through death, is a decision Toni Morrison has apparently left to her readers. Never the less, no matter what you believe, within Song of Solomon, the suggestion is, that in order to "fly" you must go back to the beginning, back to your roots. You must learn the "art" from the old messages.   O

The Character of Oedipus in Oedipus and The Infernal Machine

904 words - 4 pages The Character of Oedipus in Oedipus and The Infernal Machine    The stories of Oedipus, as told through Seneca's Oedipus and Cocteau's The Infernal Machine, contain both similarites and differences. Both authors portray the character of Oedipus as being obstinate, ignorant, and inquisitive. Yet Seneca and Cocteau differ on their interpretation of the motives that propelled these characteristics of Oedipus. Seneca portrays Oedipus as a

Okonkwo's Tragic Flaws in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

3121 words - 12 pages characters, like Odysseus and Oedipus for instance, exemplify the excess of some positive character trait, like pride or honesty, which ironically leads to their personal misfortune. Throughout literary history, particularly within Grecian writings and apparently still evident in today's international pieces, there exists continuity within the human fear of failure. Chinua Achebe's novel, Things Fall Apart, details a remote native African society

Sophocles' Antigone - Antigone Must Challenge Creon

889 words - 4 pages Antigone Must Challenge Creon in Antigone   In his "Funeral Oration" Pericles, Athens's leader in their war with other city-states, rallies the patriotism of his people by reminding them of the things they value. He encourages a sense of duty to Athens even to the point of self-sacrifice. He glorifies the free and democratic Athenian way of life and extravagantly praises those willing to die for it. In Antigone, Creon, Thebes's leader in

The Role of Women in Homer’s Iliad

796 words - 3 pages The Role of Women in Homer’s Iliad Homer’s Iliad is undoubtedly focused on its male characters: Achilles, primarily, but also Hector and Agamemnon. Nevertheless, it seems that the most crucial characters in the epic are female. Homer uses the characters of Thetis, Andromache, and Helen as a basis for comparison to the male characters. Homer wants his audience to see and understand the folly of his male characters in choosing war over peace

A Comparison of Butler's Life and Kindred

1915 words - 8 pages A Comparison of Butler's Life and Kindred   What lies in the mind of an author as he or she begins the long task of writing a fiction novel? This question can be answered if the author's life is studied and then compared to the work itself. Octavia E. Butler's life and her novel Kindred have remarkable comparisons. This essay will point out important events of Butler's life and how they link to the mentioned novel. Octavia Estelle

Pillars of Metaphorical Ambiguity in The Scarlet Letter

1439 words - 6 pages who is abandoned by her older, disfigured husband, and falls in love with a young, passionately God-fearing man who subsequently conceives a child, thus revealing her "adultery" and is punished by the Puritan society that he represents.  She is instructed to wear a red letter, hence the title of the book.  Through her punishment, she acquires and applies several motifs that the novel boasts, the most powerful one being represented perpetually

Similar Essays

The Effectiveness Of The Arab And Israeli Peace Initiatives

1863 words - 7 pages Kissinger immediately sought to pick up the pieces of the aftermath, aiming to bring peace between the two rivalling nations. In the years of 1974 and 1975 Kissinger convinced Israel and Egypt to sign a number of disengagement accords. The initiatives proposed by Kissinger were highly effective in stopping the war conflicts between Egypt and Israel. By creating a 'buffer zone' and having both parties withdraw their forces, set

Reality And Illusion In Shakespeare's Hamlet Reality, Appearance And Deception

896 words - 4 pages Reality and Illusion in Hamlet   Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, begins with the appearance of a ghost, an apparition, possibly a hallucination. Thus, from the beginning, Shakespeare presents the air of uncertainty, of the unnatural, which drives the action of the play and develops in the protagonist as a struggle to clarify what only seems to be absolute and what is actually reality. Hamlet's mind, therefore, becomes the central force of the

Sub Plots In Hamlet Essay

1118 words - 4 pages Sub-plots in Hamlet   There are many things that critics say make Hamlet a "Great Work," one of which is the way that Shakespeare masterfully incorporates so many sub-plots into the story, and ties them all into the main plot of Hamlet’s revenge of his father’s murder. By the end of Act I, not only is the main plot identified, but many other sub-plots are introduced. Among the sub-plots are trust in the Ghost of King Hamlet, Fortinbras

Hamlet As Victim And Hero Essay

1301 words - 5 pages Hamlet as Victim and Hero      Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, a Shakespearean tragedy, tells the story of Prince Hamlet, who gained the knowledge of a terrible incident that his kingdom had suffered. Claudius, the king of Denmark and Hamlet's uncle, had killed his own brother, the king, who was also the father of Hamlet, and married his brother's widow. Hamlet suffered these traumas to a severe degree, and his only relief was to defeat his