The SanityPrompt

This blog represents some small and occasional efforts to add a note of sanity to discussions of politics and policy. This blog best viewed with Internet Explorer @ 1024x768

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Friendship between Great Men

This paragraph in a Boston Globe article caught my eye for the volumes it speaks about life 60 years ago, life today, and how the ruling elites mix and mingle.

IN THE SUMMER of 1943, George Kennan and Paul Nitze met on a train going from New York to Washington. Neither knew who the other was, nor was there any reason they should have. Kennan was a 39-year-old diplomat, just returned from Portugal. A Wall Street man four years Kennan's junior, Nitze was a second-level official at the Board of Economic Warfare. But Nitze found something compelling about Kennan and sat down across from the distinguished-looking gentleman in the dining car. The pair started talking and began a friendship that would last throughout the Cold War, a war that both men did much to define but about which they would almost never agree.

I can't imagine any interesting young leader today approaching another person on a train, plane, or where ever because the other just looked compelling. It speaks volumes about what life was like in the 1940s -- no doubt an outgrowth of the social structure and the quality of life. It also holds up a mirror to our own age -- perhaps more egalitarian, but also more insular and less communitarian.


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