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Saturday, April 29, 2006

 

Father of the Bush Doctrine

From the Opinion Journal

George P. Shultz was the secretary of state of the United States during the years that the Soviet Union was led, successively, by Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, Konstantin Chernenko and Mikhail Gorbachev. During those years, 1982 to 1989, the United States was led by Ronald Reagan. At the end of our interview, as he was showing me out of his apartment, Mr. Shultz invited me to stop in the dining room. "I want you to see something," he said. We walked over to a table. "Have a look at that. It arrived in the mail the other day." It looked like a polished brass cylinder, open at either end. It was the 14th artillery shell from the 21-gun salute at Ronald Reagan's funeral in 2004. "Isn't that something?"

George Shultz is an intellectual, an MIT economist who in his career held two other cabinet posts, labor and Treasury, under Richard Nixon. And clearly he is awed by Ronald Reagan, the "actor" President, and the years he spent serving as Reagan's minister to the world. But I had come to San Francisco because I wanted to talk about the here and now. So did he. Above all, the Revolt of the Generals and the leaks out of the CIA. He's upset.

"I always had a good experience dealing with the career people in government," Mr. Shultz said. "But I have to say it's almost as if there is an insurrection taking place. Particularly what is going on in the military is astonishing and fundamentally intolerable. There has to be a sense of discipline. This is something new, and for everybody's good it has to be dealt with."

I asked about the place of dissent in government. "Look," the former secretary said, "in our system some people get elected and what you get out of that is the right to call the shots, and the full-time career people are entitled to have their views listened to. But it is very important to see that what is going on now is a problem that goes beyond whether someone likes Don Rumsfeld or not."

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