40 Most Unforgettable Henry Kissinger Quotes

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In 1923, Heinz Alfred Kissinger, aka Henry, made his grand entrance in Bavaria, Germany to loving parents, Louis, and Paula Kissinger.  While growing up, Henry and his pals received constant harassment from local youth connected to pro-Hitler gangs.

Oftentimes he would get a sneak peek of a soccer game at the gymnasium only to catch beatings from armed guards. Because of the nazi racial laws put into place, Henry’s father ended up losing his beloved teaching job. This was the last straw for the Kissinger family and so they moved to London.

Kissinger is a Harvard College graduate and member of Phi Beta Kappa, receiving both an MA and Ph.D. as well as serving the Psychological Board. In the 1970s, Henry served as the United States Secretary In Office, serving under Richard Nixon in 73 and Gerald Ford in 77. During his political career, he’s been the figure of controversy and was even accused of alleged war crimes from local activists. Yet, in spite of it all, he made some profound speeches that are the inspiration behind our 40 Henry Kissinger Quotes.

Henry Kissinger Quotes

1. “If you don’t know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere.” — Henry Kissinger

2. “It is, after all, the responsibility of the expert to operate the familiar and that of the leader to transcend it” — Henry Kissinger

3. “There can’t be a crisis next week, my schedule is already full.” — Henry Kissinger

4. “Even a paranoid can have enemies.” — Henry A. Kissinger

5. “The American temptation is to believe that foreign policy is a subdivision of psychiatry.” — Henry Kissinger

6. “Corrupt politicians make the other ten percent look bad.” — Henry Kissinger

7. “If eighty percent of your sales come from twenty percent of all of your items, just carry those twenty percent.” — Henry A. Kissinger

8. “The essence of Richard Nixon is loneliness.” — Henry Kissinger

9. “Nobody will ever win the battle of the sexes. There is too much fraternizing with the enemy.” — Henry Kissinger

10. “In crises, the most daring course is often safest.” — Henry A. Kissinger

11. “Moderation is a virtue only in those who are thought to have an alternative.” — Henry Kissinger

12. “Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” — Henry Kissinger

13. “If it’s going to come out eventually, better have it come out immediately.” — Henry A. Kissinger

14. “Power is the great aphrodisiac.” — Henry Kissinger

15. “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” — Henry Kissinger

16. “It is, after all, the responsibility of the expert to operate the familiar and that of the leader to transcend it.” — Henry A. Kissinger

17. “Any fact that needs to be disclosed should be put out now or as quickly as possible because otherwise, the bleeding will not end.” — Henry Kissinger

18. “It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but a matter of what is perceived to be true.” — Henry Kissinger

19. “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.” — Henry A. Kissinger

20. “People are generally amazed that I would take an interest in any form that would require me to stop talking for three hours.” — Henry Kissinger

21. “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” — Henry Kissinger

22. “The nice thing about being a celebrity is that, if you bore people, they think it’s their fault.” — Henry A. Kissinger

23. “Even a paranoid has some real enemies.” — Henry Kissinger

24. “Don’t be too ambitious. Do the most important thing you can think of doing every year and then your career will take care of itself.” — Henry Kissinger

25. “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” — Henry A. Kissinger

26. “Today Americans would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will pledge with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by their world government.” – Henry Kissinger in an address to the Bilderberger meeting at Evian, France, May 21, 1992. (in an address to the Bilderberger organization meeting at Evian, France, on May 21, 1991. As transcribed from a tape recording made by one of the Swiss delegates. )” — Henry Kissinger

27. “The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.” — Henry Kissinger

28. “It was a Greek tragedy. Nixon was fulfilling his own nature. Once it started it could not end otherwise.” — Henry A. Kissinger

29. “The president has said publicly, and he has told me privately, that he has every intention to carry out the recommendations of the commission,” — Henry Kissinger

30. “There cannot be a crisis next week. My schedule is already full.” — Henry Kissinger

31. “For other nations, utopia is a blessed past never to be recovered; for Americans, it is just beyond the horizon.” — Henry A. Kissinger

32. “People think responsibility is hard to bear. It’s not. I think that sometimes it is the absence of responsibility that is harder to bear. You have a great feeling of impotence.” — Henry Kissinger

33. “Every victory is only the price of admission to a more difficult problem.” — Henry Kissinger

34. “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.” — Henry A. Kissinger

35. “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.” — Henry Kissinger

36. “A country that demands moral perfection in its foreign policy will achieve neither perfection nor security.” — Henry Kissinger

37. “Blessed are the people whose leaders can look destiny in the eye without flinching but also without attempting to play God.” — Henry A. Kissinger

38. “While we should never give up our principles, we must also realize that we cannot maintain our principles unless we survive.” — Henry Kissinger

39. “A turbulent history has taught Chinese leaders that not every problem has a solution and that too great an emphasis on total mastery over specific events could upset the harmony of the universe.” — Henry Kissinger

40. “High office teaches decision making, not substance. It consumes intellectual capital; it does not create it. Most high officials leave the office with the perceptions and insights with which they entered; they learn how to make decisions but not what decisions to make.” — Henry A. Kissinger

See also: Caroline Kennedy Quotes

Henry Kissinger Video

In this excellent in depth discussion, Dr. Henry Kissinger spoke with the Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google.


Those were a mere few of the many Henry Kissinger quotes, we selected the powerful ones which stand out from the rest. Nobel Peace Prize winner and member of the Republican Party,

Henry is quite remarkable, to say the least. Take to heart his powerful words of empowerment for guidance through life going forward.

Image Credit: U.S. Department of State from United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons