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Cold War Figure Paul Nitze

Paul Nitze, a leading U.S. statesman of the Cold War era, has died at 97.

A wealthy, scholarly member of the Eastern establishment who served Republican and Democratic administrations, Nitze held numerous government posts over four decades.

In that time, Nitze saw the beginning of the U.S.-Soviet Cold War and became a central architect of U.S. postwar rearmament and nuclear deterrence.

Speaking at the 60th anniversary of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell recalled a time when he, still a general at the time, met with a group that included Nitze. Powell said, "it was like having Moses at the table."

NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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Michele Kelemen has been with NPR for two decades, starting as NPR's Moscow bureau chief and now covering the State Department and Washington's diplomatic corps. Her reports can be heard on all NPR News programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.