Henry Kissinger Quotes
It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but a matter of what is perceived to be true.
Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad.
The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.
There can’t be a crisis next week, my schedule is already full.
The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose.
Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.
Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.
The nice thing about being a celebrity is that, if you bore people, they think it’s their fault.
In crises the most daring course is often safest.
The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.
Art is man’s expression of his joy in labor.
A leader does not deserve the name unless he is willing occasionally to stand alone.
High office teaches decision making, not substance. It consumes intellectual capital; it does not create it. 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.
No one will ever win the battle of the sexes; there’s too much fraternizing with the enemy.
The essence of Richard Nixon is loneliness.
Even a paranoid can have enemies.
Diplomacy: the art of restraining power.
Leaders must invoke an alchemy of great vision.
Whatever must happen ultimately should happen immediately.
The security of Israel is a moral imperative for all free peoples.
The longer I am out of office, the more infallible I appear to myself.
Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem.
If you don’t know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere.
University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.
If it’s going to come out eventually, better have it come out immediately.
Moderation is a virtue only in those who are thought to have an alternative.
I am being frank about myself in this book. I tell of my first mistake on page 850.
To be absolutely certain about something, one must know everything or nothing about it.
The statesman’s duty is to bridge the gap between his nation’s experience and his vision.
The American temptation is to believe that foreign policy is a subdivision of psychiatry.
You can’t make war in the Middle East without Egypt and you can’t make peace without Syria.
No country can act wisely simultaneously in every part of the globe at every moment of time.
Leaders are responsible not for running public opinion polls but for the consequences of their actions.
It was a Greek tragedy. Nixon was fulfilling his own nature. Once it started it could not end otherwise.
For other nations, utopia is a blessed past never to be recovered; for Americans it is just beyond the horizon.
If eighty percent of your sales come from twenty percent of all of your items, just carry those twenty percent.
It is, after all, the responsibility of the expert to operate the familiar and that of the leader to transcend it.
Blessed are the people whose leaders can look destiny in the eye without flinching but also without attempting to play God.
While we should never give up our principles, we must also realize that we cannot maintain our principles unless we survive.
People are generally amazed that I would take an interest in any form that would require me to stop talking for three hours.
Any fact that needs to be disclosed should be put out now or as quickly as possible, because otherwise the bleeding will not end.
The American foreign policy trauma of the sixties and seventies was caused by applying valid principles to unsuitable conditions.
We cannot always assure the future of our friends; we have a better chance of assuring our future if we remember who our friends are.
Most foreign policies that history has marked highly, in whatever country, have been originated by leaders who were opposed by experts.
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.
If I should ever be captured, I want no negotiation – and if I should request a negotiation from captivity they should consider that a sign of duress.
A leader who confines his role to his people’s experience dooms himself to stagnation; a leader who outstrips his people’s experience runs the risk of not being understood.
The Vietnam War required us to emphasize the national interest rather than abstract principles. What President Nixon and I tried to do was unnatural. And that is why we didn’t make it
The superpowers often behave like two heavily armed blind men feeling their way around a room, each believing himself in mortal peril from the other, whom he assumes to have perfect vision.
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