Talk:Henry Kissinger

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None of these quotes should be reinstated in the article unless a source is found.

  • As a professor, I tended to think of history as run by impersonal forces. But when you see it in practice, you see the difference personalities make.
    • During an interview with journalists quoted by Isaacson
  • Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world, because the US economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries.
    • Attributed by Leuren Moret
    • Here's the quote from NSSM 200: "Whatever may be done to guard against interruptions of supply and to develop domestic alternatives, the U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries. That fact gives the U.S. enhanced interest in the political, economic, and social stability of the supplying countries. Wherever a lessening of population pressures through reduced birth rates can increase the prospects for such stability, population policy becomes relevant to resource supplies and to the economic interests of the United States."
  • Diplomacy: the art of restraining power.
  • Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem.
  • Even a paranoid has some real enemies.
  • For other nations, utopia is a blessed past never to be recovered; for Americans it is just beyond the horizon.
  • Foreign Policy is not missionary work.
  • Just because You're paranoid doesn't mean They're not after You
  • History knows no resting place and no plateaus.
  • I am being frank about myself in this book. I tell of my first mistake on page 850.

There is a source for this in The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations. He said it in an 1983 interview with the Observer about his autobiography, Years of Upheaval.

  • I can think of no faster way to unite the American people behind George W. Bush than a terrorist attack on an American target overseas. And I believe George W. Bush will quickly unite the American people through his foreign policy.
  • If it's going to come out eventually, better have it come out immediately.
  • If we do what is necessary, all the odds are in our favor.
  • If you don't know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere.
  • In crises the most daring course is often safest.
  • Intelligence is not all that important in the exercise of power, and is often, in point of fact, useless.
  • It is, after all, the responsibility of the expert to operate the familiar and that of the leader to transcend it.
  • It is an act of insanity and national humiliation to have a law prohibiting the President from ordering assassination.
    • Statement at a National Security Council meeting in 1975
  • It was a Greek tragedy. Nixon was fulfilling his own nature. Once it started it could not end otherwise.
  • Leaders must invoke an alchemy of great vision.
  • Moderation is a virtue only in those who are thought to have an alternative.
  • Most high officials leave office with the perceptions and insights with which they entered; they learn how to make decisions but not what decisions to make.
  • Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.
    • Variant: Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad.
  • No country can act wisely simultaneously in every part of the globe at every moment of time.
  • No foreign policy - no matter how ingenious - has any chance of success if it is born in the minds of a few and carried in the hearts of none.
  • No one will ever win the battle of the sexes; there's too much fraternizing with the enemy.
  • The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.
    • While attempting to verify this quote for publication, I discovered this reference but can find no access to verify it; perhaps someone else can: TIME Magazine, "Special Section: They Are Fated to Succeed," 2 January 1978.
  • The American temptation is to believe that foreign policy is a subdivision of psychiatry.
  • The essence of this man is loneliness.
  • The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.
  • The Indians are bastards anyway. They are starting a war there.
    • Regarding the role of India in the 1971 Crisis between East and West Pakistan.
  • The longer I am out of office, the more infallible I appear to myself.
  • We really slobbered over the old witch. While she was a bitch, we got what we wanted too. She will not be able to go home and say that the United States didn't give her a warm reception and therefore in despair she's got to go to war.
    • Statements about Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during the 1971 war between India and West Pakistan.
  • The nice thing about being a celebrity is that when you bore people, they think it's their fault.
  • The real distinction is between those who adapt their purposes to reality and those who seek to mold reality in the light of their purposes.
  • The statesman's duty is to bridge the gap between his nation's experience and his vision.
  • The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.
  • There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.
  • To be absolutely certain about something, one must know everything or nothing about it.
  • University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.
  • Whatever must happen ultimately should happen immediately.
  • When you meet the president, you ask yourself, "How did it ever occur to anybody that he should be governor much less president?"
  • Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world.
    • Variant: Control oil and you control the nations; control food and you control the people.
  • Why should we flagellate ourselves for what the Cambodians did to each other?
  • You can't make war in the Middle East without Egypt and you can't make peace without Syria.
  • "Der Kommunismus findet Zulauf nur dort, wo er nicht herrscht."
    • Translates roughly to "Communism is on the rise only in countries where it is not practiced."
    • Alternately "Communism is only popular in the countries where it is not the ruling ideology."
  • (regarding the Iran-Iraq war) "It's a pity they can't both lose."


  • I added him to the category of Game Theorists because he made extensive usage of game theory in his political affairs such as in w:Madman theory , who exactly should qualify as a game theorists.

Abattoir666 (talk)

People who contributed to the field of game theory should qualify as a game theorists. Although Kissinger played the game of geopolitics with an understanding of game theoretic concepts, he did not contribute any new theorems. By analogy, Albert Einstein used mathematics extensively, and to brilliant effect, but he is not categorized as a mathematician. ~ Ningauble (talk) 14:49, 24 August 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

quote in arabic[edit]

there's a quote circulating on the Arabic internet forums and social networks with many variants. I feel it's just conspiracy talk but I thought I would ask here. they claim that Kissinger said to Israeli prime minister Menachim Begin after the Camp David Accords: "I give you a sleeping (Islamic) nation, and the problem is that it sleeps but it does not die, so benefit from its sleep as much as you can, because when it wakes up, it restores in a few years what it lost for centuries" (my translation)

anyone can help to see if this really happened? I'm just curious and if it's true we can add it to wikiquote

original text in Arabic:

قال وزير الخارجية الامريكي السابق كيسنجر مخاطبا رئيس وزراء العدو الصهيوني مناحيم بيغين بعد اتفاقية كامب ديفيد:

" إنني أسلـِّمك أمـَّة ً نائمة ، والمشكلة أنها تنام ولا تموت ، فاستثمر فترة نومها ما استطعت ، لأنها إذا ما استيقظت فإنها تعيد في سنوات قليلة ما ضاع منها في قرون "

—This unsigned comment is by Moxybeirut (talkcontribs) .

Dubious quote: "dumb stupid animals to be used"[edit]

Kissinger almost certainly never said that military men were "dumb stupid animals to be used" as pawns of foreign policy.

The only evidence that he ever said such a thing was a claim by Woodward & Bernstein (who absolutely hated Kissinger), that another of Kissinger's political foes, Alexander Haig, had told someone unnamed, that Kissinger had said it. That's triple hearsay, made even weaker by the fact that one of the whisperers is anonymous. It has been substantiated by neither Kissinger nor Haig, nor by anyone of known identity who claimed to have heard it. As Kirkus Reviews noted about the whole book, "none of it is substantiated in any assessable way."

It's really not even plausible. Kissinger has always been very respectful of servicemen and their sacrifices. For him to have said such a thing would have been wildly out of character. In fact, the awkward phrasing doesn't even sound like Kissinger, whose prose is consistently elegant, despite his distinct accent, even when he speaks extemporaneously. NCdave (talk) 04:49, 31 December 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The original entry on this quote was properly documented with background for context, and was also attributed correctly. What one thinks of the quote being "dubious" is completely speculative. —This unsigned comment is by RKA1974 (talkcontribs) .
It's ridiculous. Kissinger has denied saying it, and there's no reliable evidence that he ever said it. No known person has even claimed to have heard him say it. NCdave (talk) 20:28, 2 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Kissinger never said "“Who controls the food supply controls the people; who controls the energy can control whole continents; who controls money can control the world." Source is without bibliography. It apperas in conspiracy, anti-Semitic website, with following translation "Chi controlla le scorte alimentari controlla la gente; chi controlla l’energia può controllare interi continenti; chi controlla il denaro può controllare il mondo" suurce URL

'In fact, the quote is not even very plausible, on its face. Kissinger served with distinction in the U.S. Army during WWII, and was awarded the Bronze Star. He has always been very respectful of other servicemen and their sacrifices. For him to have said such a thing would have been wildly out of character. In fact, the awkward phrasing doesn't even sound like Kissinger, whose English prose is consistently measured and careful, despite his heavy accent, even when he speaks extemporaneously.'
I find this entry subjective and biased in the extreme.