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That position places him squarely at odds with Nixon's campaign argument that the U.S. should abandon the concept of nuclear parity. He has disagreed with Nixon on other issues. Through the campaign, Kissinger served as New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller's principal foreign policy adviser, and on more than one occasion implied that he regarded Nixon as the least qualified of all the presidential candidates, and even as a dangerous man. But Kissinger, who first met Nixon last year at a Christmas party in Clare Boothe Luce's Manhattan apartment, discovered during his recent talks with the President-elect that they shared a number of viewsmost notably on the need to shore up NATO, establish closer relations with France and West Germany and keep the U.S. militarily strong.
Born in Fuerth, Germany, in 1923, Kissinger came to the U.S. in 1938, when his family fled from Hitler, still speaks with a noticeable accent. After four years as a World War II enlisted man, including a year and a half in Army counter-intelligence in Europe, he received his bachelor's (summa cum laude), master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard. He served as a White House consultant during the first 18 months of the Kennedy Administration, but his influence waned after he argued that it was anomalous to send 16,000 "advisers" to Viet Nam just when the decision was being made to neutralize Laos. Since 1965, he has made three trips to Viet Nam for the Johnson Administration.
First Priority. In the Brookings Institution study, Kissinger maintained that a "comprehensive, bipartisan, high-level re-evaluation of all aspects of national security" should be one of the first orders of business for the new Administration. The primary requirement is for "a definition of the national interest and national security over the next decade," since in his view the ultra-empirical U.S. too often handles developments on an ad hoc basis, without any clearly defined purpose or overall view. In his five books and a raft of magazine articles, Kissinger has set forth his viewpoints on how the U.S. should handle some of the major geopolitical issues of the day:
∙FLEXIBLE RESPONSE: "The Romans stampeded the first time they confronted Hannibal's elephants, not because the elephants were particularly effective but because the Romans had never considered a mode for dealing with such a contingency," Kissinger wrote in Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy. Consequently, the U.S. needs "a doctrine [whose] task will be to prevent us from being continually surprised." Kissinger argued that weaponry and personnel should be set up to cope with any contingency, so that force could be resisted without inevitable resort to nu clear weapons (though he envisioned the use of tactical nuclear weapons without incinerating the world).