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Quotes of the day: Henry Kissinger

Published Monday, May 27, 2013 @ 1:04 AM EDT
May 27 2013

Henry Alfred Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Kissinger, May 27, 1923) is a German-born American writer, political scientist, diplomat, and businessman. A recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, he served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as Secretary of State in the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. (Click for full Wikipedia article.


A country that demands moral perfection in its foreign policy will achieve neither perfection nor security.

All truly great achievements in history resulted from the actualization of principles, not from the clever evaluation of political conditions.

America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.

Covert action should not be confused with missionary work.

Each success only buys an admission ticket to a more difficult problem.

Even a paranoid can have enemies.

I don't read books, I write them.

I've always acted alone. Americans like that immensely.

If you believe that their real intention is to kill you, it isn't unreasonable to believe that they would lie to you.

Intellectuals are cynical and cynics have never built a cathedral.

Moderation is a virtue only in those who are thought to have an alternative.

Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad name.

Power is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.

The guerrilla wins if he does not lose. The conventional army loses if it does not win.

The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.

The nice thing about being a celebrity is that when you bore people, they think it's their fault.

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.

The true conservative is not at home in social struggle. He will attempt to avoid unbridgeable schism, because he knows that a stable social structure thrives not on triumphs but on reconciliations.

There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.

Those who learn from history are condemned to watch others repeat it.

We must learn to distinguish morality from moralizing.

Whatever must happen ultimately should happen immediately.


Political satire became obsolete when Henry Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
-Tom Lehrer

Categories: Henry Kissinger, Quotes of the day, Tom Lehrer

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