Don Rumsfeld has issued a statement on the death of his —and our— friend and colleague Peter Rodman.
Peter Rodman (1943-2008)
Peter Rodman was a dedicated public servant, an incisive strategist, a consummate diplomat, a serious pupil of history and a measured teacher of history’s lessons. He had a deep faith in the greatness of American democracy, and he understood that our nation’s foreign policy was at its best when it reconciled the moral idealism of America’s deep-seated liberalism with the conservative lessons of restraint and skepticism. Only by fighting on the moral terrain so often invoked by its enemies could the United States have a foreign policy with weight. But only by selectively choosing when and where to deploy its power could the United States sustain it.
With his rigorous intellect, unfailing sense of humor, and understated manner, Peter worked energetically over many decades finding bipartisan support for our nation’s foreign policy at home and a consensus among diplomats abroad. Unlike so many in the field of foreign policy, Peter was neither a partisan nor an advocate. He had no illusions as to the fundamental tensions and complexities of the profound and painful dilemmas of American foreign policy. He usefully characterized those irresolvable challenges so that they could be coped and dealt with. Peter understood the fundamental truth that problems without solutions are not problems, but facts.
I was fortunate to work with Peter on the stubborn challenges posed by the Soviet Union and its third-world adventurism during the Ford administration, the Middle East and the emerging threats to the nation-state system during the Reagan administration, and the new uncertainties of the 21st century when we worked together closely in the Department of Defense more recently. At every point along the way, I profited from his friendship, and above all, his advice and his admonitions. So, too, did America.