Ronald Reagan’s former Secretary of State, George P. Schultz, who was largely credited for orchestrating the Reagan administration’s Cold War policy, bringing an end to the USSR, passed away over the weekend at 100.
“Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, a titan of American academia, business and diplomacy who spent most of the 1980s trying to improve Cold War relations with the Soviet Union and forging a course for peace in the Middle East, has died. He was 100,” NBC News reported Sunday. “Schultz died Saturday at his home on the campus of Stanford University, where he was a distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution, a think tank, and professor emeritus at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.”
The Hoover Institution called Schultz “a key player, alongside President Ronald Reagan, in changing the direction of history by using the tools of diplomacy to bring the Cold War to an end.”
Before joining the Reagan administration, Schultz served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Richard M. Nixon. He is best remembered, however, for his landmark nuclear weapons agreement with the then-Soviet Union — an agreement that marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War and the nuclear standoff between the USSR and the United States.
“As the nation’s chief diplomat, Shultz negotiated the first treaty to reduce the size of the Soviet Union’s ground-based nuclear arsenals despite fierce objections from Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, or ‘Star Wars,'” the New York Daily News added Sunday. “The 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was a historic attempt to begin to reverse the nuclear arms race, a goal Shultz never abandoned in private life.”
“Former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, reflecting in his memoirs on the ‘highly analytic, calm and unselfish Shultz,’ paid Shultz an exceptional compliment in his diary: ‘If I could choose one American to whom I would entrust the nation’s fate in a crisis, it would be George Shultz,'” according to NBC News.
In their obituary, published Sunday, the New York Times called Schultz “the last of the power statesmen.”
“Without Mr. Shultz’s steady guidance, Reagan could not have capitalized on the opportunity presented when Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the Soviet Union in 1985,” the New York Times noted. “‘Without Reagan, the Cold War would not have ended,’ Mr. Gorbachev himself said a few years ago. ‘But without Shultz, Reagan would not have ended the Cold War.'”
That deal eventually “unraveled,” but it was the basis of further negotiations that eventually gave way to nuclear disarmament.
After leaving office, Schultz became an ardent environmentalist and continued his work pressing for nuclear disarmament. He eventually became a personal advisor to former President George W. Bush.
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