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Eduard Shevardnadze, the Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union who helped lead his country into the sweeping changes that peacefully ended the Cold War, died July 7 at 86. He will have an honored place in history if for no other reason than that he and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev refused to use force to preserve the Soviet empire. But he did much more.
A wise and crafty statesman, Shevardnadze also played key diplomatic roles in the far-reaching changes that swept across his country and Europe. Together, Gorbachev and Shevardnadze had the vision to work with their Cold War adversaries to reunite Germany in NATO, negotiate far-reaching nuclear and chemical arms treaties and allow members of the Warsaw Pact to determine their own futures.