Brent Skowcroft Obicury | News of america

Despite his long and influential career in America’s handling of international affairs, Brent Scottroft, who has died at the age of 95, drew very little attention to himself. This low profile came as a surprise in 1975, when, as National Security Advisor in the Gerald Ford administration, he organized the US expulsion from Saigon, an event that marked the end of the Vietnam War.

More notably, he remained in the shadows 14 years later after George HW Bush was called back to the same job by the White House. During that period he was caught on the spot by the attack of the Soviet Union due to the fall of the Berlin Wall and Saddam Hussein’s attack on Kuwait.

Yet he effectively orchestrated Secretary of State James Baker as the manager of American foreign policy in this critical period of modern history. His undivided position with Bush Sr. was reinforced in 1998 when he was credited as co-author of the president’s memoir A World Transformed, which barely acknowledged Baker’s role in US policy.

Scowcroft, right, with Henry Kissinger, left, and Gerald Ford in 1974 photograph: Charles Tasnadi / AP

Scowcroft’s entry into the highest levels of government occurred when Richard Nixon served as a military assistant in 1972, during the president’s visit to China and the Soviet Union. Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, chose Scowcroft as his assistant when Alexander Haig went on to a senior army post early the following year.

Kissinger then took over much of the National Security Council’s operations at Scowcroft, with the heavily frantic shuttle diplomacy that Vietnam had been engaged in prior to the peace talks being held since September 1973, as well as the Secretary of State.

Among other responsibilities, he regularly held the president’s daily intelligence briefings and, in the turmoil of the Watergate crisis and Ford’s succession to the presidency, became the clear successor to Scowcroft Kissinger, when he secured his post in 1975 Resigned on behalf

Much of the new security adviser’s time was essentially taken with the humiliating end of America’s involvement in Vietnam, but he was also closely involved in the preparation of the Salt II nuclear weapons border treaty, eventually signed by President Zimbabwe Carter three years later But the US Senate refused ratification.

Brent Scottroft, right, with President HW Bush in 1991.

Brent Scottroft, authority, in 1991 with President HW Bush. Photograph: Barry Thamma / AP

Scowcroft sat out Carter’s year (1977–1981) as a private consultant, moving to serve as vice president of Kissinger Associates (1982–1989). Since Republicans saw the arms cuts specified under Salt II as selling to the Soviet Union, they were also initially ignored by the Ronald Reagan administration.

But Reagan’s increasingly complicated strategic policy, highlighted by his failure to find a reliable way to deploy the multi-pronged MX missile, brought Scowcroft back to play as the chair of a special presidential commission on strategic weapons in 1983 Gone.

The commission’s report pleased no one, but it confirmed to Scaucroft that the arrival of the MIRV – several independent re-entry vehicle warheads that were installed on the MX and capable of attacking 10 different locations Made – was dangerously destabilizing. He thought it could also weaken the Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972. He strongly advocated the development of a single-war replacement for the old fleet of Minutman missiles first deployed in 1961, and Congress duly authorized the project.

Scowcroft’s ultimate duty to the Reagan administration was to serve the Tower Commission investigating the Iran-Contra scandal, in which weapons illegally sold to Tehran fund the same illegal effort as the US to topple the Sandista government in Nicaragua. helped. Although the National Security Advisor, Admiral John Poindexter resigned and his assistant Colonel Oliver North was sacked, Scowcroft argued that there was no need for a drastic reform of the NSC. “It was not that the structure was faulty,” he remarked, “it was that the structure was not used.”

When Bush Sr. took over the White House in 1989, he brought Scowcroft back as head of the NSC. In response to Mikhail Gorbachev’s offer to withdraw 10,000 Soviet tanks and 500,000 troops in the past month, the administration’s immediate preoccupation was with plans for a presidential visit to China first in China and then major superpower force cuts in Europe.

The Chinese visit was notable for its failure to mention human rights and, when the army brutally attacked Chinese students in Tianmen Square, when they sourced Gorbachev’s visit to Beijing, a subdued White House response Did not exceed (although it later surfaced. Scowft was secretly sent to China to “underline American trauma and anxiety”).

Meanwhile, Scowcroft felt that Gorbachev was sufficiently engulfed in Perestroika’s domestic problems that he could be ignored for the time being and that he expanded this blinding scene in order to increasingly push for change in Eastern Europe. Seemed to do.

The first signs of a new climate came when Solidarity candidates fielded the board in the first free Polish elections. Despite this, Scotchoft seemed to completely undermine the importance of parallel demonstrations in East Germany and the mass flight of its citizens in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

When the demolished and disorganized Erich Honecker regime finally announced the permanent opening of the Berlin Wall on 9 November, Scowcroft’s intelligence failure was summed up in Bush Sean’s bizarre remark: We are handling it in a way where we Not trying to give anyone a hard time. ”

Despite this embarrassing episode, Scowcroft continued to believe that, although Gorbachev was provoked by the May Day loudness in Red Square and Boris Yeltsin was elected president of the Russian Supreme Soviet, normalcy in the Soviet Union stabilized Will remain.

Then Kuwait invaded Iraq. Scowcroft admitted that he had dismissed Iraqi Bellisocity as a “policy of bluster” and that the misunderstanding sparked the crisis in which Bush Sr. met with Gorbachev at the Helsinki summit. After gaining Soviet support for retaliation, Scaucroft and his staff became thoroughly engrossed in preparations for the Desert Storm campaign.

Then the reunification of Germany and the subsequent Allied victory in Kuwait prompted a spirited state in which the Soviet Empire continued to decline, not only in the Baltic, but also in other non-Russian republics, imposing bare feet. Scaucroft’s focus was largely on the technicalities of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which was designed to cut Soviet and American nuclear weapons in half over the coming 20 years.

Bush Sean and Gorbachev signed Start Eye in late July 1991: three weeks later angered by radicals in the Soviet Army and the KGB, who echoed US right-wing Republicans as cutting any weapon to sell to the enemy Did and coup in their attempt. The White House was not given any clue as to what was in the attack. Fortunately it became a fierce jungle but, after this, the Soviet Union formally disbanded in September and Gorbachev resigned on 25 December.

A few days later, in his State of the Union address, Bush Sr. canceled the Midgetman missile, halted production of the B-2 bomber and the nation’s most modern missile warhead, and limited its advanced cruise missile arsenal. However, Scowcroft’s days were definitely numbered when Bush Sr.’s inept domestic policies cost him the November election.

But there was one last bullet in the locker. Just before Bush Sr. was handed over to Bill Clinton, he met with Yeltsin to sign the Start II Treaty, which Skovcroft had much to prepare. It specified the elimination of all MIRV land-based missiles within a decade. These accumulated moves to reduce nuclear instability will probably be Skovcroft’s most enduring legacy.

Born in Ogden, Utah, Brent was the son of James Scowcroft, who ran a wholesale grocery business, and his wife, Lucille (nee Ballantine). When he graduated from the American Military Academy in West Point, New York in 1947, he had a career of traditional forces. Commissioned as a pilot of the US Air Force, he was severely injured a few months later while getting off an aircraft. The accident had an uncertain impact on him and for the next two decades he repeatedly changed the course of his life.

He initially opted for a staff job in the Air Force, but then enrolled at Columbia University to study international relations. Armed with his Columbia Master (1953) and already an expert on Slavic languages, he returned to West Point to teach Russian history. In 1959 he became an Air Briefcase assistant to the US Embassy in Belgrade, and two years later again became head of the Department of Political Science at the US Air Academy in Colorado.

After a brief period at the Air Force’s Washington headquarters and another teaching stint at the National War College, he received a Columbia doctorate (1967) and eventually settled in a politico-military environment in which he was able to prosper.

His first move was at the Pentagon in 1968, when, at the age of 43, he joined its international security staff and rapidly worked through a succession of senior positions. In 1971, by then he had been assigned to the White House to fill the highly sensitive role of Nixon’s military assistant by the time he was cast as colonel.

He was naturally assigned to the US delegation on the eve of Nixon’s historic visit to China. Unexpectedly, he found that he was the highest-ranking US military officer to come to Beijing since the 1949 revolution and his work during the trip promoted him to Brigadier-General.

He and his fluent Russian made him a natural choice to organize a presidential visit to Moscow, where, in 1972, the idea of ​​a mutual cut-off between US and Soviet forces in Central Europe was first looted. From then on Schaukroft’s constant theme was to promote arms cuts.

Once his full-time official involvement had ended, in 1994 he started his own international trade advisory consultancy, the Scowcroft Group. He then maintained the same thoughtful approach and liberal tone, a very public intervention of President George W. Bush in 2002 in preparation for further war in Iraq.

In the opinion of the Wall Street Journal, Scowcroft advised against attacking Saddam, pointing to horrifying evidence of al-Qaeda or the 9/11 link, and the risk that the US was “seriously endangered” Perhaps, if not destroyed, the global counter-terrorism operations we have “carried out.” But the son did not listen to what his father’s advisor had to say.

His establishment of the Scotchroft Center for Strategy and Security as part of the Atlantic Council thinktank in 2012 served to emphasize his confidence in the alliances that ended the Cold War.

He married Marion Horner in 1951; He died in 1995. She is survived by her daughter Karen and a granddaughter.

Brent Scottroft, International Security Advisor, born 19 March 1925; Died on 7 August 2020


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