STATE’S WITNESS: The mementos in the George P. Shultz Conference Room at Hoover testify to the many dimensions of his career and global connections.

Steadfast

With a long life of service to his credit — in education, government and public affairs — George Shultz is still on active duty.

By ROBERT L. STRAUSS

OUTREACH: Reagan about to meet Gorbachev in Geneva in 1985. With him are National Security Advisor Bud McFarlane, Shultz, Ambassador to the USSR Arthur Hartman and White House Chief of Staff Donald Regan.

Shultz, Reagan, Gorbachev and Shevardnadze came within one word of agreeing to eliminate all Soviet and american nuclear weapons.

Shultz’s thinking is sufficiently catholic that while he strongly advocates increasing America’s military might, he doesn’t believe that the United States should try to turn every nation into Denmark by exporting democracy. “We need to be working for open systems of government,” he says, “but we don’t need to go around the world on a campaign.”

TOP THREE: Shultz, Reagan and Vice-President George H.W. Bush outside the Oval Office in 1984.

“It’s a great mistake to want the job too much, because then you do things to keep the job that you probably wouldn’t do otherwise.”

According to him, the film says, “ ‘The hell with it. Let the United States stay away from other people’s problems.’ The trouble is that in an interconnected world, they aren’t only other people’s problems. They’re our problems.” Shultz says the United States has to get back to using strength and diplomacy; those who attempt to use diplomacy without strength will get “their heads handed to them.” Look at how Reagan used military force and how George W. Bush used it: “The contrast is gigantic.” By Shultz’s telling, Reagan used military force just three times — in Grenada, in Libya and in the Persian Gulf where Iran had been interfering with Kuwaiti shipping — getting in, accomplishing the goal and getting out.

FAREWELL, FRIEND: As the body of President Reagan lies in state at the Capitol, Shultz pays his respects on June 10, 2004.

Despite dealing with dozens of tyrants and dictators, the only person ever to intimidate him was Mr. Metzger, an English teacher.

One episode that Shultz readily admits caused him many sleepless nights was “Iran-Contra,” a convoluted circumvention of the chain of command, Congress and the Constitution worthy of several seasons of Homeland plotting and counterplotting. In the simplified version, members of the National Security Council transferred weapons to Israel, which sold them to Iran — the same Iran that had kept 52 American diplomats hostage for 444 days. Iran’s payments for the weapons were used to support the right-wing “Contra” rebels in Nicaragua (whose funding Congress had strictly forbidden), who were dedicated to the violent overthrow of the revolutionary Sandinista government, which had overthrown the ruthless, corrupt, U.S.-abetted Somoza family, who had controlled Nicaragua from 1936 until they were ousted in 1979 by the Cuba-aligned Sandinistas, whose leader, Daniel Ortega, is now the democratically elected president of the country.

Highlights and extras from Stanford's alumni magazine.

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