Year’s end is a time for taking stock, counting successes and assessing failures. It is also a time for remembering those who are no longer with us. Here are ten people who died in 2012 who made significant contributions to American foreign policy. They will be missed.
Reginald Bartholomew (b. 1936) was an accomplished Foreign Service officer who served as U.S. ambassador to Italy, Spain, and NATO among other postings over his long career. A graduate of Dartmouth College, his most trying tour of duty came in Lebanon in the mid-1980s. He took up his position as U.S. ambassador to Lebanon on October 22, 1983, the day before a truck bomb killed 241 marines, sailors, and soldiers at the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. The next year he had to be pulled from the rubble after the U.S. embassy in Beirut was bombed. In 1985, he played a critical role in helping free the Americans taken hostage when members of Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad hijacked TWA Flight 847 on its way to Rome from Athens.
Daniel K. Inouye (b. 1924) was a nine-term Democratic senator from Hawaii renowned for his integrity and professionalism. The son of Japanese immigrants to Hawaii, he joined the U.S. Army as soon as it lifted its ban on service by Japanese-Americans. He fought with great distinction in France and Italy, losing his right arm while leading an attack on machine gun emplacements that had his platoon pinned down. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, which was upgraded to the Medal of Honor in 2000. Inouye was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives when Hawaii became a state in 1959. Three years later, he was elected to the U.S. Senate. His nearly fifty years of service in the Senate is second only to Sen. Robert Byrd’s (D-WV) fifty-one years. Inouye served on the Watergate Committee and the Joint House-Senate Iran-Contra Committee, and he was appointed chair of the Senate Committee on Intelligence when it was formed in 1976 in response to intelligence agencies’ power abuse scandals. His final word was “Aloha.”
Nicholas Katzenbach (b. 1922) served as attorney general and undersecretary of state during the Johnson administration. A World War II war hero, graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School, and Rhodes Scholar, Katzenbach initially worked in his family’s law firm and taught law. He joined the Kennedy administration in 1961 as the assistant attorney general in charge of the Office of Legal Counsel. In that post, he wrote a brief defending the legality of the blockade Kennedy ordered during the Cuban missile crisis. He also played a critical role on civil rights issues, traveling to Mississippi in 1962 to help enforce the federal order that James Meredith be admitted to the University of Mississippi as its first black student. Katzenbach also defended the 1964 Civil Rights Act before the Supreme Court and helped draft the Voting Rights Act of 1965. After President Kennedy’s assassination, Katzenbach became so close to President Johnson that LBJ was known to ask his other advisers, “Why can’t you be like Nick Katzenbach?” Katzenbach served as attorney general in 1965-1966. LBJ then appointed him undersecretary of state. He became one of the members of “the Non-Group,” the inner circle of administration advisers that discussed Vietnam strategy.
Spurgeon Keeny (b. 1924) was an expert on arms control and proliferation who served under six presidents and championed the cause of arms control. Keeny joined the Air Force in 1948 with a master’s degree in physics from Columbia University and a background in Soviet studies. One of his first jobs while in the Air Force was analyzing the results of the first Soviet nuclear test in 1949. Over the next three decades he held a variety of government positions, eventually becoming deputy director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency under President Jimmy Carter. Keeny participated in negotiations for several arms control treaties, including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, SALT I, and SALT II. He left government service after Carter’s reelection defeat. In 1985, he became president of the Arms Control Association, a post he held until 2001. Keeny raised the ACA’s visibility, expanded the reach of its flagship journal, Arms Control Today, and mentored a generation of national security experts.
George McGovern (b. 1922) was the longshot anti-war candidate who captured the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972. He lost the general election to President Richard Nixon in an epic landslide—McGovern won just 17 electoral votes and Nixon racked up the largest share of the popular vote (61.3 percent) ever recorded. (After Nixon became embroiled in the Watergate scandal, McGovern’s drubbing prompted two classic bumper stickers: “Nixon 49, America 1” and “Don’t Blame Me, I’m from Massachusetts.”) McGovern was elected to the U.S. Senate from South Dakota in 1962 and served three terms. He was one of the first senators to question the wisdom of the Vietnam War. In 1970, he cosponsored legislation that would have cut off funding the war and brought America’s involvement in Vietnam to an end. In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed McGovern ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. In recent years, McGovern criticized the wisdom of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. While McGovern is remembered for his staunch anti-war views, he himself was a war hero. He volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Forces at the start of World War II, flew nearly three dozen combat missions over Europe, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Stanley R. Resor (b. 1917) was secretary of the army from 1965 to 1971, during the height of the Vietnam War. A graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, he joined the army during World War II, fought at the Battle of the Bulge, and was awarded the Bronze Star, Silver Star, and a Purple Heart. Although Resor was a Republican, he was appointed secretary of the army by President Johnson. After the infamous My Lai massacre in 1968, Resor ordered an investigation of the incident. He ultimately rejected the recommendation that dozens of officers be court-martialed for covering up the atrocity. Resor was involved in the planning for the all-volunteer army, ended racial discrimination at off-base housing in Germany, and nominated the first two female army general officers. After a brief stint in the private sector, he returned to government service in 1973, serving as the U.S. ambassador in charge of negotiating troop reductions in Europe. He also served as the undersecretary of defense for policy, the number three position in the Defense Department, in 1978-79. Resor chaired the Arms Control Association from 1992 to 2000, championing arms control negotiations and opposing NATO expansion for unnecessarily damaging U.S. relations with Russia.
Warren B. Rudman (b. 1930) was the vice chairman of the Joint House-Senate Iran-Contra Committee. A graduate of Syracuse University, he joined the army during the Korean War, where he was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery. He was first elected to the Senate in 1980 and served two terms. He was best known for his efforts to balance the federal budget. His signal foreign policy moment came while serving on the congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra affair. Rudman chose not to side with fellow Republicans and instead joined the majority report, which said that President Reagan’s aides purposefully broke the law by selling weapons to Iran and giving the proceeds to anticommunist forces in Nicaragua. After leaving the Senate in 1993, Rudman served as a member of the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board during the Clinton administration. He was also co-chairman (with former senator Gary Hart) of the U.S. Commission on National Security/21st Century, which issued a report just before September 11 warning of the possibility of a terrorist attack on the United States.
Anthony Shadid (b. 1968) was a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist renowned for his feel for Arab life. Born and raised in Oklahoma City to Lebanese immigrants, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He reported on the Middle East for the Associated Press, the Boston Globe, and the Washington Post before joining the New York Times in 2009. He won his first Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 2004 for his coverage of the Iraq War. He won again in 2010 for his coverage of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Shadid often risked his life to cover a story. He was shot in 2002 while reporting from the West Bank. In March 2011, he and three colleagues were captured by Qaddafi’s forces in Libya and held for six days. Shadid died of an asthma attack while reporting firsthand on fighting inside Syria.
Helmut Sonnenfeldt (b. 1926), was a long-time State Department official and Soviet expert. He left his native Germany as a schoolboy to escape Nazi anti-Semitism, eventually making his way to Baltimore. He joined the army, serving first in the Philippines and then in Germany because the army desperately needed German speakers. While in Germany, he met future Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and the two formed a lifelong (though at time contentious) friendship. After leaving the army, Sonnenfeldt earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University and joined the State Department. He moved over to the White House in 1969 when Kissinger became national security adviser and asked him to serve on the staff of the National Security Council. When Kissinger became secretary of state in 1973, Sonnenfeldt followed him to Foggy Bottom as counselor to the secretary. Known as “Kissinger’s Kissinger,” Sonnenfeldt’s work usually took place behind the scenes. Kissinger said that Sonnenfeldt “was at my right hand on all the negotiations I conducted with the Soviets.” After leaving the State Department, Sonnenfeldt was a visiting scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins and a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution.
J. Christopher Stevens (b. 1960) was U.S. ambassador to Libya. Born and raised in northern California, Stevens graduated from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the Peace Corps, teaching English in Morocco for two years. He returned to Berkeley to earn his law degree, and briefly practiced trade law before joining the Foreign Service in 1991. A fluent Arabic speaker, he served in posts in Jerusalem, Damascus, Cairo, and Riyadh, as well in various positions in the State Department that dealt with Middle East issues. Stevens was deputy chief of mission in Libya from 2007 to 2009. When the Libyan civil war broke out, he was named as special representative to the National Transitional Council, a post he held until November 2011. Six months later, he returned to Tripoli as the U.S. ambassador to Libya, making a video introducing himself to the Libyan people. Stevens’s death in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi marked the first death of an American ambassador in the line of duty in more than three decades.