ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Philosopher of Detente

HENRY KISSINGER will be succeeded by Cyrus Vance in the US Department of State this week. Kissinger's eventful career of eight years at the National Security Council and later in the Department of State has been the envy of many in the US and outside. One has only to think of the scores of Indian academics who thought (and still think) of themselves as the Brown Kissingers of India's foreign policy to appreciate the enormous impact the man has made. To a host of Third World Brahmins he became a modern-day Chanakya. He seemed to represent to most of them an 'ideal type', a type to which one day they themselves hoped to belong. They did not like his arrogance, and yet they hoped that they could themselves be one day as powerfully arrogant as he had been for the last eight years, Kissinger seemed to represent the "intellectual politician". Arrogance goes well with intellectualism. The problem is how one carries it off. Daniel Patrick Moynihan tried it, but failed. Without quite meaning it, he became an unwelcome critic of the Third World leadership. Kissinger somehow carried his "intellectual arrogance" very ably. Intellectuals all over the world hated him perhaps, but did not admire him the less for that. This was true of the Americans themselves and was, therefore, naturally true of Third World politicians, a large number of whom are educated in the West. It is different to think of a single individual whom elites all over the world tried to emulate so much as Kissinger.

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