Former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, Foreign Policy Expert, Dies

Lugar gained little traction with a 1996 run for president, but he focused on the threat of terrorism years ahead of the Sept. 11 attacks

U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) stands in front of boxes of cots being donated to refugees from South Ossetia during his visit to a temporary shelter for the displaced in Tbilisi August 24, 2008
REUTERS/Adrees Latif

Former longtime U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a foreign policy expert who helped spur the dismantling and securing of thousands of nuclear weapons in the former Soviet states, has died. He was 87.

The Lugar Center issued a statement saying Lugar died early Sunday at the Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute in Virginia.

Lugar was a Rhodes Scholar who was first elected to the Senate in 1976, after eight years as Indianapolis mayor.

He was a generally loyal conservative but lost his bid for a seventh Senate term in the 2012 GOP primary after attacks over his reputation for cooperation with Democrats and friendliness with President Barack Obama.

Lugar gained little traction with a 1996 run for president, but he focused on the threat of terrorism years ahead of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Lugar was one of the leading Republicans in a bipartisan group, the National Coalition To Prevent An Iranian Nuclear Weapon, which released a statement in September 2018, signed by more than 50 prominent foreign policy figures claiming the Trump administration’s approach to Iran has created a situation in which the regime is left with only “capitulation or war."