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Essay Paper on Henry Kissinger

Believing that the American political system was far too idealistic, Kissinger was far more cautious in allowing sentiment to jeopardize the formation of policy. Allowing him to maneuver quickly and easily through a complex diplomatic world, this philosophy utilized power and leverage to the American advantage.
As was necessary in this high power and tense diplomatic style, Henry Kissinger trusted no one around him and constantly used the same methods he employed in international diplomacy to further himself in competition with his rivals. Under this Machiavellian philosophy, Kissinger had little regard for the legality or morality of his Patel 2 actions, and frequently broke laws to circumvent what he believed to be obstacles to success. “Kissinger’s European-style philosophy of integrated affairs- a power oriented realism or realpolitic- was rooted in his background”.

More importantly however, in America Kissinger first saw the weaknesses of idealism in both a government and Patel 4 public. “Kissinger considers this idealistic aspect of the American spirit a weakness in terms of sustaining policies in a messy world. To some extent, he was right, but it was also a source of strength”.

Recognizing the flaws of such beliefs in a changing political climate, Kissinger saw the need for order. In the army, he began to establish that order, one village at a time in Allied occupied Germany. In addition to life as a child and young adult, Kissinger’s experiences and studies after World War Two reinforced his political philosophy.

Applying to Harvard in 1946, Kissinger was accepted exceptionally late in the summer. At Harvard, Kissinger majored in government, and published an unprecedented thesis titled, The Meaning of History. He received his degree, in 1950, Summa Cum Laude largely due to this immense thesis.

Henry Kissinger found occasion to study many people while majoring in government at Harvard. Though the political scientists he studied influenced him heavily, he was more impressed with the politicians who used political theories in practice. Among those that Kissinger studied who had a significant impact on him were Machiavelli, Metternich, Bismarck, Kant, and Thucydides. These people each gave Kissinger a unique perspective of his realpolitic view of politics, each reinforcing his overall pragmatic attitude.

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