Earlier this month, former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell died. He was 84. It would be fair to say that Mr. Powell lived the great American life. His role in public service and in philanthropy impacted many.
After his death, past CYInterview guest [see here and here], author, political journalist and MSNBC contributor Jonathan Alter penned an article about how Mr. Powell’s contributions, through his America’s Promise organization, helped many. You can see that article by clicking here.
To remember this important American political figure, Mr. Alter joined us again on CYInterview. He spent time with Colin Powell, at various events and functions, and got to know the man.
Jonathan believes that the former Secretary of State could have won the 1996 Presidential Election against the incumbent, President Bill Clinton, if he would have sought the Republican nomination:
“Colin Powell definitely led a big American life. He was the first black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he was the first black National Security Advisor, and he was the first black Secretary of State and I’m convinced that if he wanted to in 1996, he would have been the first black President of the United States.”
If we were to rank where Colin Powell sits among former Secretaries of State, going back to the time of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Mr. Alter believes he would be somewhere in the middle:
“Not at the top and not at the bottom.”
Though the former four-star Army general received criticism, from various corners, for promoting going to war with Iraq, during his tenure as Secretary of State, Mr. Alter offered that you cannot judge his entire life by that one event:
“You shouldn’t be judged based on any single episode.”
Featured columnist Jay Bildstein spoke in-depth with Jonathan Alter about how Colin Powell handled the job of Secretary of State, the former National Security Advisor’s misguided perspective on the war in Iraq and how Secretary of State Powell and former President Jimmy Carter, who Mr. Alter wrote a biography of titled, His Very Best: Jimmy Carter, a Life, were alike.
You can listen to the entire CYInterview below:
Listen to the entire Jonathan Alter CYInterview: