Rich Lowry said it well the other day. When you were chewing over a foreign-policy issue, you always asked, “What does Peter think?” I loved consulting him – because he was measured, thoughtful, knowledgeable, and wise. Also attuned to the moral aspects of foreign policy. He was a “realist,” but he certainly wasn’t cold – and he knew that morals, or values, were a component of our foreign policy.
He was humble, too. When the answer wasn’t clear, he simply said so. I liked to hear him think out loud – to hear his process.
Not long ago, I consulted him on the Libyan deal – the one we struck with them a couple years back. Was this deal worth it or not? It is hard to say. There are two excellent sides – as Peter explained. But he didn’t shrink from choosing a side, when that was necessary. He did not go infinite-hands on you: “On one hand, on the other hand, on my third hand . . .”
Good people in government liked to have him at their side – they did so for decades. I liked having him at my side, too. We can’t call him up anymore, but he leaves a cast of mind, almost a spirit of thinking, impressed on those who knew him.