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Former Hungarian Foreign Minister bids farewell to Kissinger

December 5th, 2023

The Foreign Minister of the first democratically elected government in modern Hungarian history sees the deceased former US Secretary of State and national security adviser as one of the rare architects of world politics and someone who was deeply interested in Hungarian history.

On the Heti Világgazdaság website, Géza Jeszenszky a historian and former foreign minister (1990-94) describes Henry Kissinger – who died last week at the age of 100 – as a statesman who represented realpolitik against America’s traditional idealist inclinations, because that was the right approach during the Cold War. By building positive relations with Communist China, he writes, Kissinger forced the Soviet Union to seek understanding with the West, which made détente possible. That feat alone, Jeszenszky believes, supersedes all his most controversial actions in terms of significance, as détente ultimately led to the implosion of the Soviet empire. Jeszenszky mentions that in his famous book on diplomacy, Kissinger devoted a separate chapter to the 1956 Hungarian revolution. When Communism collapsed, Kissinger paid a visit to Hungary and met József Antall, the first democratically elected Prime Minister and his Foreign Minister (Jeszenszky himself).


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