The New York Sun, Nov. 30, 2023
“Kissinger was stung by the disclosure of that tape. The point he wanted to make was that only hours, as we remember it, before that conversation, Nixon and Kissinger had decided to rush arms and matériel to Israel and save the Jewish state (the moment is captured in the movie “Golda”).”
The death of Secretary of State Kissinger takes, at the age of 100, one of the most remarkable figures in American history. We didn’t know him well, but we covered him glancingly through much of his storied career. We were, in the Cold War, invested on the same side in the same struggle and came to admire him for his appreciation of Vietnam and Israel, for all their own merits but also as parts of an even larger story, and for, we glimpsed, his brilliance as a teacher.
We first encountered him in the late 1960s, when we were an undergraduate and covering a parley at Boston. When Kissinger emerged from one session, we approached him and introduced ourselves as being with the undergraduate daily. Kissinger wheeled on us and hissed, “I do not talk to zeeee Harrrrvard Crrrrimson.” Then he stalked away to join, shortly, the Nixon administration as the National Security Adviser.
We didn’t encounter him again personally until 2005, when we met at a banquet for Milton and Rose Friedman. The identity of the Watergate leaker known as deep throat had just been identified. Kissinger expressed appreciation for the Sun’s editorial on Watergate and Vietnam. Some years later, Kissinger came to an editorial dinner of the Sun. When the conversation again turned to Vietnam, Kissinger said he wanted to ask us a test question.
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