An author known for Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue American Policy (2009), he also served as President Emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations. His other published works include The Irony of Vietnam: The System Worked (1980) and Claiming the Heavens: The New York Times Complete Guide to the Star Wars Debate (1988).
He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1964. He later taught in the Government Department at Wesleyan University
He first gained recognition as a New York Times correspondent.
He grew up in a Jewish family in New Rochelle, New York. He had three children with his wife, Judith Cohen.
He and Bob Herbert both became known through their work for the New York Times.