Americans might doubt history’s importance, but, as Kissinger wrote, “Europeans, living on a continent covered with ruins testifying to the fallibility of human foresight, feel in their bones that history is more complicated than systems analysis.” The Problem of Conjecture Unlike most academics, Kissinger discerned early in his career that high-stakes policy decisions often must be taken before all the facts are in. policies did not reside in the ‘facts,’ but in their interpretation,” he argued in A World Restored.
Yet even his harshest critics cannot deny the skill with which Kissinger managed the most important of all the foreign relationships of the United States at that time, the one with the Soviet Union.
He was responsible—to name only his most obvious achievements—for negotiating the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT I) and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the Soviets.
From September 22, 1973, until January 20, 1977, he was secretary of state—the first foreign-born citizen to hold that office, the highest-ranking post in the executive branch after the presidency and vice presidency. In 1973 the Norwegian Nobel Committee jointly awarded Kissinger and Le Duc Tho the Nobel Peace Prize, citing their perseverance in the negotiations that produced the Paris Peace Accords.
Under Ronald Reagan, he chaired the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America, which met between 19.