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2016 Hopefuls Courting 'Yoda-like' Henry Kissinger

By    |   Thursday, 05 Feb 2015 07:17 AM

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is a sought after touchstone to any number of Republican presidential hopefuls, including those who do not share his realist foreign policy philosophy, Politico reported.

Among those who have called attention to their audiences with Kissinger are Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Kissinger is also friendly with Jeb Bush, according to Politico.

At age 91, the elder statesman is a combination of intellectual and celebrity — a "Yoda-like figure," the news website says. President Barack Obama has turned to him for quiet counsel, and some say Obama has adopted Kissinger's realism in handling Syria.

Detractors, many left-leaning, view his realist approach as heartless, Politico reported.
Realists value stability and they assume countries act out of interest, not altruism. The approach is the opposite of foreign policy idealism.

"Realists emphasize the importance of studying the world as it is rather than as we wish it to be," according to The Oxford Companion to Politics.

Kissinger is on good terms with Democrats, but his political endorsements tend to go to Republicans: John McCain in 2007 and Mitt Romney in 2012.

"Candidates running for president like to be seen with or described as having talked to Kissinger, because they think it sends a message that they themselves are serious about foreign policy — when in fact they may not even know much about what Henry Kissinger believes or what he has done," James Mann of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies told Politico.

How nations behave toward their own populations or whether they hold fast to representative government is not a top priority for realists.

Several of the GOP candidates who have met with Kissinger, including Walker, Rubio and Perry, do not necessarily share his backing for how negotiations with Iran have been handled or his advice not to bluster when dealing with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Politico reported.

Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor Hillary Clinton have lauded Kissinger's advice and writings. Even those who do put human rights at the forefront of their concerns,  like United Nations Ambassador Samantha Power, are on good terms with Kissinger, Politico reported.

Detractors say Kissinger has blood on his hands for the policies he pursued during the Nixon and Ford administrations toward Vietnam, Cambodia, and elsewhere.

Some were put off after hearing Kissinger on a Nixon Oval Office tape from 1973. Kissinger, who is of German-Jewish heritage, can be heard musing that, were the then-Soviet Union to begin sending its 3 million Jews to the gas chambers, it would not be an American concern. But, he allowed, it might be a humanitarian issue, according to Politico.

Some Israelis came to believe that Kissinger purposefully allowed Israeli casualties to build up during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, delaying the resupply of weapons from U.S. stockpiles, in order to set the stage for what would become known as the Arab-Israel peace process.

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Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is a sought after touchstone to any number of Republican presidential hopefuls, including those who do not share his realist foreign policy philosophy, Politico reported.
henry kissinger, foreign policy, 2016, gop, candidates
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2015-17-05
Thursday, 05 Feb 2015 07:17 AM
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