Henry Kissinger, who died on Nov. 29, 2023 at the age of 100, stood as a colossus of U.S. foreign policy. His influence on American politics lasted long beyond his eight-year stint guiding the Nixon and Ford administrations as national security adviser and secretary of state, with successive presidents, presidential candidates and top diplomats seeking his advice and approval ever since.
But his mark extends beyond the United States. Kissinger’s policies in the 1970s had immediate impact on countries, governments and people across South America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Sometimes the fallout – and it was that – lasted decades; in some places it continues to be felt today. Nowhere is that more true than Cambodia.
I’m a scholar of the political economy of Cambodia who, as a child, escaped the brutal Khmer Rouge regime with four siblings, thanks in large part to the cunning and determination of my mother. In both a professional and personal sense, I am aware of the near 50-year impact Kissinger’s policies during the Vietnam War have had on the country of my birth.