Paul H. Nitze, Missile Treaty Negotiator and Cold War Strategist, Dies at 97

Paul H. Nitze, an expert on military power and strategic arms whose roles as negotiator, diplomat and Washington insider spanned the era from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan and helped shape America’s cold war relationship with the Soviet Union, died Tuesday night at his home in Washington. He was 97. The cause was pneumonia, said his wife, Elisabeth Scott Porter. From the beginning of the nuclear age, whether in government or out, Mr. Nitze urged successive American presidents to take measures against what he saw as the Soviet drive to overwhelm the United States through the force of arms. Yet he may be best remembered for his conciliatory role in efforts to achieve two major arms agreements with the Soviet Union. In one, he was successful in negotiating an agreement that eliminated intermediate-range missiles from Europe. In the other, he hoped to cap his long career with a so-called grand compromise in 1988 that would have severely circumscribed work on President Reagan’s cherished strategic missile defense initiative in exchange for deep cuts in the nuclear arsenals of both superpowers. His efforts foundered when the negotiators ran out of time as the Reagan administration came to an end.Full Story

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