Henry Kissinger will be remembered in much of the world as a foreign policy genius who ushered China into the world community, driving a wedge between Beijing and its Cold War ally Moscow, and eventually transforming the world economy.
In Southeast Asia, the Nixon-era national security adviser and secretary of state who died this week at age 100 is being remembered differently.
The opening to China that Kissinger engineered sent a rippling effect to Thailand, which, former Thai Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun said, had trepidation for Communism.
"A lot of Thai people didn't understand China, believing that the communist China couldn't be trusted," Anand, who served as the prime minister of Thailand from 1991 to 1992, told VOA's Thai Service in May when Kissinger celebrated his 100th birthday.
"I don't think it was [only because of] Kissinger's policy" toward China but "also because of the ties between the Thai and U.S. military" that focused on defense rather than diplomatic relations, said Anand.
Architect of war strategy
In Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, meanwhile, Kissinger is remembered as the architect of a war strategy that devastated vast regions and killed uncounted numbers of people.
"If we just focus on the region … Kissinger's decisions in these areas, no matter how brilliant he may have been, no matter how skillful a negotiator he may have been, were disastrous for hundreds of thousands of innocent people," said Larry Berman, a professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis who has written extensively on the Vietnam War.
"It is where the judgment of history will be," Berman told VOA's Vietnamese Service on Thursday.
Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos
The United States and its allies dropped more than 7.5 million tons of bombs on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia between 1965 and 1975 — twice the amount dropped on Europe and Asia during World War II, according to the website Storymaps.
At the time, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in the north, which was supported by the Soviet Union, China and other communist countries, was fighting the U.S.-backed Republic of Vietnam in the south.
Analysts say Kissinger's policies aimed at quashing the communist forces were responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths.
North Vietnam moved troops and supplies to the South via Laos on what was known as the Ho Chi Minh trail. Kissinger and other American officials wanted that to end.
From 1964-1973, the U.S. dropped 2.5 million tons of bombs on Laos, making it the most bombed country in the world, according to Legacies of War. Tens of thousands of people were killed.
The U.S. dropped an estimated 500,000 tons of bombs in Cambodia as what began with a CIA operation in Laos expanded to Cambodia, said Erin Lin, assistant professor of Political Science at the Ohio State University, in her book, "When the Bombs Stopped."
The bombing killed as many as 150,000 Cambodian civilians, said Yale University historian Ben Kiernan, cited by The Washington Post.
In Cambodia, the bombing "enraged populace into the arms of an insurgency that had enjoyed relatively little support until the bombing began, setting in motion the expansion of the Vietnam War deeper into Cambodia, a coup d'état in 1970, the rapid rise of the Khmer Rouge, and ultimately the Cambodian genocide," according to a Walrus magazine article in Yale University's genocide studies program.
In Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, trained personnel, children and farmers are still finding unexploded ordnance more than 50 years after the last U.S. service member left Vietnam on March 29, 1973.
Some of it is removed by those who know how. Some of it injures or kills the finder.
Ros Chantrabot, a Khmer historian and personal adviser to Hun Sen, prime minister of Cambodia from 1985 until this year, told VOA's Khmer Service on Thursday that "Henry Kissinger had a huge responsibility … for involving Cambodia in the war, which killed many people and left many landmines in Cambodia today."
"The sad reality is, he leaves this legacy which many, many Cambodians still pay the price for," said Sophal Ear, a Cambodian American political scientist, to The Washington Post. "To this day, there are people who … lose limb and life in the process of trying to make a living in a land that has been filled with bombs."
Brad Simpson, professor at the University of Connecticut Department of History, said Kissinger is also responsible for backing Indonesia's invasion of East Timor in 1975.
Indonesia said at the time that annexation of East Timor was crucial to prevent the spread of communism.
Simpson told VOA's Indonesian Service on Thursday that Kissinger "helped to expedite the flow of weapons and military equipment to Indonesia over the next year as it faced a determined guerrilla resistance from armed East Timorese resistance fighters."
He continued, saying, "By the time Kissinger left office in the beginning of 1977, Indonesia had killed perhaps a tenth of the population of East Timor." At the time, the population was 619,308, according to the World Bank.
The Indonesian invasion led to a long and bloody occupation of the territory that ended only after an international peacekeeping force was introduced in 1999 and as many as 200,000 people had died, according to National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 62.
The Korean Service, Khmer Service, Vietnamese Service, Indonesian Service and Thai Service contributed to this report.