Tags: Israel | Middle East | Presidential History | Russia | gorbachev | poland | plo

Farewell to a True American Statesman — George Schultz

george schultz and yitzhak shamir

Then-U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz with Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir in Jerusalem, 1987. Shultz was one of only two Americans who served as head of four cabinet offices in two administrations, Nixon and Reagan. He also advised the Israelis on economics. Shultz died at his home in Stanford, California on February 6, 2021 at the age of 100. (Laurence Agron/Dreamstime.com)

By Monday, 08 February 2021 01:33 PM Current | Bio | Archive

America has lost a true patriot and statesman in George Schultz, who passed away at 100-years-old on Saturday.

George was many things —  a businessman, an economist, a cabinet secretary, a diplomat, and a scholar — but above all else he was a man who loved his country.

He treated working in American government as a solemn duty, a trait seldom found in many elected leaders and bureaucrats today.

His career in politics stretched from serving on the Eisenhower Administration’s Council of Economic Advisors to working as President Nixon’s Secretary of Labor.

And of course, as I knew him, George served under President Reagan as the 60th Secretary of State.

In my view, it was in his role as a diplomat that George Schultz truly shined

Just a few years ago, he presided over a Ronald Reagan panel I was serving on.

Without him and his steady hand, President Reagan’s foreign policy would not have been as successful as it was.

Recall, in the early 1980s we were still working to regain ground that we’d lost internationally during the Carter years. Moscow had invaded Afghanistan and American hostages had been seized by the Iranians, and those are just two of the blunders Carter had made globally.

Schultz and Reagan had a strong working relationship.

Indeed, Reagan held a high degree of trust in Schultz’s abilities; the two liked each other on a personal level. This trust Reagan had in Schultz was not unrewarded, as Schultz proved his worth for the U.S. in the international arena, especially in Europe.

Early on, Schultz helped put out several fires on the European diplomacy front, including resolving the pipeline sanctions crisis that arose when Poland declared martial law in December of 1981.

Likewise, Schultz helped diffuse a number of crises in the Mideast, while helping lay the groundwork for future diplomacy in the region. He also helped settle a deal to have the Israelis withdraw troops from Lebanon after the Marine barracks bombing that killed 241 American servicemembers.

Additionally, he was able to open up a dialogue with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) later on.

However, the greatest achievement was the work Schultz did to help engineer Reagan’s strategy with the Soviets. After Mikhail Gorbachev’s ascension to the leadership of the Soviet Union in 1985, Schultz recognized, even before Reagan, that Gorbachev would be a different animal than his predecessors.

George Schultz possessed the wherewithal to see that Reagan could make significant headway in the Cold War with Gorbachev and the right negotiation strategy, and to that end he worked to convince Reagan that opening a conversation with Gorbachev was in our nation's best interest.

It took two years, but Schultz’s work paid off; Reagan and Gorbachev signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987, a huge step forward in U.S.-Soviet relations following decades of diplomatic hostility.

To be certain, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses, yet Schultz continued to monitor Gorbachev’s reforms and became convinced he might be the Russian leader needed to finally help end the Cold War, something Gorbachev ultimately proved through his democratic reforms and non-interventionist policies during the revolutions in Eastern Bloc countries during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

George Schultz’s legacy is one of always giving service to others.

He served his country in World War II as a Marine, served the American people in various cabinet positions under three administrations, and served the global community by helping engineer the end of the Cold War in his capacity as an adviser to President Reagan.

Even after retiring from public service, he continued to serve as an educator, a scholar, and as an advocate for a world free of nuclear weapons while enjoying grandchildren and great grandchildren.

George was the prime example of American character, resolve, and leadership. He will be sorely missed by all of us who knew him.

Craig Shirley is a Ronald Reagan biographer and presidential historian. His books include ''Reagan’s Revolution, The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started it All,'' ''Rendezvous with Destiny, Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America,'' "Reagan Rising: The Decisive Years," and ''Last Act: The Final Years and Emerging Legacy of Ronald Reagan." He is also the author of The New York Times bestseller, ''December 1941,'' and his new 2019 book, ''Mary Ball Washington,'' a definitive biography of George Washington’s mother. Shirley lectures frequently at the Reagan Library and the Reagan Ranch. He has been named the First Reagan Scholar at Eureka College, Ronald Reagan’s alma mater, and will teach a class this fall at the University of Virginia on Reagan. He appears regularly on Newsmax TV, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN. Read Craig Shirley's Reports — More Here.

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CraigShirley
George Schultz’s legacy is one of always giving service to others. He served his country in World War II as a Marine, served the American people in various cabinet positions under three administrations, and served the global community by helping end the Cold War.
gorbachev, poland, plo, reagan
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2021-33-08
Monday, 08 February 2021 01:33 PM
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