Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger is not known for being an especially sentimental man. As he famously said, “the American temptation is to believe that foreign policy is a subdivision of psychiatry”—and this is a decent distillate of his political legacy.
Kissinger, simply put, does not come off as a hugger. His policy surely suggests a preference for stern, if not vice-like handshakes; curt nods and grumbly salutations. But there’s a startlingly large quantity of photographic evidence to the contrary—decades upon decades of archived images featuring the grim-faced realpolitiker sharing awkward embraces with dozens of world leaders. There were, of course, hugs for the usual suspects: Egyptian military strongmen, Saudi sheikhs, Israeli prime ministers. And there are a few unexpected world leaders enveloped in those besuited arms: Nelson Mandela, for one, despite Kissinger’s well-known support for South Africa’s apartheid leadership in the 1970s.
Henry Hugginger is a man of infinite contradictions.