Henry Kissinger, Godfather of the Modern Geopolitical Age

Dr. Munr Kazmir
3 min readNov 30, 2023

With his passing, Henry Kissinger leaves a complex legacy. To some, Kissinger was Mycroft Holmes; to others, he was Professor Moriarty.

A Citi Foundation Lecture in New York City with The Honorable Dr. Henry Kissinger, 56th U.S. Secretary of State, and The Honorable Paul H. O’Neill, 72nd U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. This event is part of the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy’s yearlong celebration of President Ford’s 2013 centennial. June 19, 2013. (Photo: Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy University of Michigan)

In the annals of history, certain figures emerge whose strategic brilliance and enigmatic aura transcend the ordinary.

To his friends and admirers, Henry Kissinger was akin to the elusive Mycroft Holmes of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlockian universe — a modern-day political savant whose intellect and influence navigated the complex webs of global diplomacy.

Like Mycroft, Kissinger possessed a razor-sharp mind, wielding intellect as his primary weapon. His academic prowess, honed at Harvard University, laid the foundation for a career steeped in the intricacies of international relations. Much like Mycroft’s behind-the-scenes influence in British politics, Kissinger’s fingerprints adorned some of the most pivotal moments in American foreign policy.

Both figures operated in the shadows, orchestrating grand geopolitical maneuvers with a finesse that eluded public scrutiny. Kissinger’s diplomatic finesse, much akin to Mycroft’s clandestine mastery, materialized in the closed-doors negotiations that birthed detente with the Soviet Union and heralded the opening of relations with China, seismic moves that reshaped the Cold War landscape.

Yet, with their brilliance came controversy. Much like Mycroft’s enigmatic persona sparked suspicion, Kissinger’s policies, such as the covert bombings in Cambodia, stirred vehement criticism, raising ethical questions about the means justifying the ends.

With his passing this week, Henry Kissinger leaves a legacy that in part embodies the essence of Mycroft Holmes — a genius and genteel mastermind whose geopolitical chess moves altered the course of history. But like the fictional Mycroft Holmes, Kissinger’s legacy remains shrouded in both admiration and skepticism, a testament to the enigmatic nature of those who operate in the shadows of power.

To his critics, Henry Kissinger was more akin to the notorious Professor Moriarty of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes tales — a figure of cunning intellect and polarizing influence. Much like Moriarty’s mastery of criminal enterprises, Kissinger’s political maneuvers…

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