Foreign Relations & International Law

The Lawfare Podcast: Graham Allison on Henry Kissinger

Jack Goldsmith, Graham Allison, Jen Patja
Friday, December 8, 2023, 8:00 AM
Graham Allison discusses Henry Kissinger's legacy

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Last week, former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger passed away. To assess his legacy, Jack Goldsmith sat down with Graham Allison, the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at Harvard University. 

Allison knew Kissinger well. He first met Kissinger in 1965 when he was a student in Kissinger's class at Harvard. And Allison worked with Kissinger for decades, right up until the end of Kissinger's life, when he and Kissinger coauthored an essay published in October on arms control for artificial intelligence, perhaps Kissinger's last essay. 

Allison and Goldsmith discussed Kissinger's accomplishments as a statesman, his cast of mind and long intellectual productivity, his engagement with history as a guide to international diplomacy, and his particular brand of realism. They also discussed Kissinger's failures and mistakes and what Kissinger was most worried about at the end of his life.

Jack Goldsmith is the Learned Hand Professor at Harvard Law School, co-founder of Lawfare, and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Before coming to Harvard, Professor Goldsmith served as Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel from 2003-2004, and Special Counsel to the Department of Defense from 2002-2003.
Graham Allison is the Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at Harvard University where he has taught for five decades.
Jen Patja is the editor and producer of the Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.

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