March 1, 2005
by Max Singer
He had an extraordinary career, working in domestic policy on education and civil rights, and on moving toward competition in air fares, and across the full range of foreign policy issues. He was a serious academic, teaching and publishing scholarly books and articles. He worked in the think-tank world at Hudson and RAND. And he was extremely effective in the bureaucratic wars as a civil servant, at CAB, HEW, CIA, and NSC.
Although he left the government in 1986, he continued to devote his creative efforts to fighting his country’s political battles to his last days. He had very little time or will to pursue his own interests either financial or bureaucratic; all his immense energy went to trying to wake people to the political maneuvers of those who wanted to defeat the U.S.
Constantine’s devotion to noble purposes was matched by his high standards of personal behavior. He was absolutely loyal to his offices, honest and careful in all that he said and wrote, and sensitive to all the personal responsibilities of his professional and private lives. He was also a warm friend and a person who tried to help all people with whom he came in contact.
A few days after Constantine came to the NSC—Judge Clark, the man who brought him there, just having left to become Secretary of the Interior—Constantine responded to a bloody Communist coup in Grenada by writing a draft plan, at his own initiative, for the U.S. to respond not by just protecting the American students there, but by restoring democracy. He was advised that if he put forward this bold proposal it was likely to cost him his new job, but he went ahead and his idea was adopted and implemented and became the first small step backward for Communism after its advances in the 1970s.
Despite that first success, and the unity of the administration on Grenada, most of Constantine’s tenure at the NSC became a lonely effort to protect President Reagan’s policy concerning Nicaragua<
Max Singer is a Senior Fellow and Trustee Emeritus at Hudson Institute. He founded Hudson with Herman Kahn in 1961.
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