No American statesman has been as revered and as reviled as Henry Kissinger. To the late Christopher Hitchens he was a war criminal who should be prosecuted for crimes against humanity. To his admirers he is the greatest strategic thinker America has ever produced, the ‘indispensable man’, whose advice has been sought by every president from John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush.
Internationally renowned Harvard historian Niall Ferguson came to the Intelligence Squared stage to discuss his new appraisal of Kissinger. In his view, far from being the amoral arch-realist portrayed by his enemies, Kissinger owed a profound debt to philosophical idealism.
In this exclusive London appearance, Ferguson was joined by the distinguished historian Andrew Roberts, who brought his expertise from writing about great statesmen of the past – from Napoleon to Churchill – to the examination of this controversial figure. How did Kissinger’s worldview develop over the course of his early years, as a Jew in Hitler’s Germany, a poor immigrant factory worker in New York, a GI at the Battle of the Bulge, and in the aftermath of the war an interrogator of Nazis? How should we assess Kissinger’s record during his time as adviser to Kennedy, Nelson Rockefeller and Richard Nixon, as he helped steer US policy during the Vietnam War, the rapprochement with China, and the Cold War?