Wednesday, October 20, 2004

He Will Be Missed

Paul Nitze, one of the foreign policy giants of the twentieth century, has passed away at the age of 97.

Just a few of the positive words on a life well lived can be found below. I am certain we will be hearing a lot more about this over the next few days.

In a speech last week at SAIS, as the Johns Hopkins school is known, Secretary of State Colin Powell called Nitze "an icon to those of us who are in the State Department."

"It was like having Moses at the table. This man who had 50 years under his belt when I was just trying to figure out how to be National Security Adviser," Powell said of his tenure in the Reagan administration.

Former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, who wrote a book on Nitze entitled "The Master of the Game," called him a "really major figure both of the Cold War era and of the transition to the post-Cold War era."

"He was a man at the center of things — both when he was in government and outside government — on the toughest issues of nuclear war and peace. He was a hard-headed analyst and a ferocious negotiator and solution-maker (as well as) a ferocious opponent of policies he disagreed with," said Talbott, now head of the Brookings Institution.

When only 43 years old, Nitze became principal author of a highly influential secret National Security Council document, which provided the strategic outline for increased U.S. expenditures to counter the perceived Soviet threat.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who once headed SAIS, told a recent conference the document was a "landmark contribution to national security" and Nitze's "foresight produced a plan for the postwar world characterized by creativity and boldness."

My prayers go out to his friends and family. He was truly an amazing man.