Like all young reporters - brilliant or hopelessly incompetent - I dreamed of the glamorous life of the foreign correspondent: prowling Vienna in a Burberry trench coat, speaking a dozen languages to dangerous women, narrowly escaping Sardinian bandits - the usual stuff that newspaper dreams are made of.
Those who remember Washington's cold war culture in the 1980s will recall the shocked reactions to Reagan's intervention. People interested in foreign policy were astonished when in 1985 he met alone at Geneva - alone, not a single strategic thinker at his elbow! - with the Soviet Communist master Gorbachev.
Strategic thinkers were naturally rattled to find this outsider fooling around with their work. They had been thinking strategically when Reagan was just another movie actor playing opposite a chimpanzee, for heaven's sake. They think Reagan is too naive, too innocent, to grasp the intellectual complexities of cold war strategy.