Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:
What is the legacy of Colin Powell?
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell tragically died of complications of COVID-19. He was the first Black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the first Black National Security Advisor and the first Black Secretary of State. And he leaves a legacy of a long career, dedicated almost entirely to public service.
Powell's legacy will probably be defined by two things. One is the creation of the Powell Doctrine developed in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, which gave a blueprint for US military action that had to be overwhelmingly decisive and with a clear exit plan to avoid the kind of quagmire that the Vietnam War became. The second legacy item is his unfortunate role in making the case for the Iraq War, with a presentation in 2003 in front of the UN on Iraq's possession of chemical weapons, that later turned out to be false. This was a key justification used at the time by the Bush administration and a stain on Powell's otherwise excellent reputation.
Unfortunately, because Powell died of complications of COVID-19, he had been treated for multiple myeloma, which weakens the immune system and he was fully vaccinated. This means his death will become a political football among the 10% to 15% of Americans who are hardcore anti-vaxxers, and who claim the vaccines don't actually protect you from COVID-19. A sad day for the Powell family and a tragic day for America.