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Analysis: The two legacies of Colin Powell

edition.cnn.com
10 min read
fairly easy
There are two important ways to consider Colin Powell upon his death from complications of Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated.
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(CNN)

One is his imprint on the country. Powell helped shape US foreign and military policy over decades and his break with the GOP -- a long time coming -- foretold the party's rightward lurch at a time of misinformation and insurrection.

But his death, which came as he battled the blood cancer multiple myeloma , captures the difficulty in this very specific moment of convincing some Americans to trust their government when it comes to vaccination against the coronavirus.

Pause just for a moment to consider his legacy. Powell, a soldier turned statesman, was born the child of immigrants in the Bronx.

He inspired Americans as the first Black man to serve as the nation's top general, its top diplomat and one of its most admired and trusted leaders, but one with a complicated legacy.

A warrior who preached diplomacy, he ended his public service career as the megaphone for flawed intelligence used to push the country into war in Iraq.

He is known for moments of conscience. Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama in 2008, despite a post-military career as a Republican, was a key moment in that presidential race, when Obama sought to quiet concerns about his lack of national security experience. . Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama in 2008, despite a post-military career as a Republican, was a key moment in that presidential race, when Obama sought to quiet concerns about his lack of national security experience. Read CNN chief national affairs correspondent Jeff Zeleny on that episode.

Photos: Colin Powell's life in pictures Photos: Colin Powell's life in pictures Colin Powell poses for a portrait in 2012. Hide Caption 1 of 44 Photos: Colin Powell's life in pictures Powell married his wife, Alma, in 1962, He joined the US Army in 1958 and served two tours of duty in South Vietnam. Hide Caption 2 of 44 Photos: Colin Powell's life in pictures A young…
Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf, CNN
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