Lawrence Eagleburger Dies

Former U.S. diplomat Lawrence Eagleburger died today. From the NYT:

Mr. Eagleburger, a Republican who rose to prominence as the top aide to Henry A. Kissinger in the Nixon and Ford administrations, was candid in his confidential advice and outspoken in his public comments, particularly regarding his unhappiness about the Iraq war started by President George W. Bush.

Over a Foreign Service career that began in the early 1960s, Mr. Eagleburger became known for his dry, sometimes caustic wit, rumpled suits and reliance on a cane, forced upon him by a knee injury and a muscle disorder. Chronic asthma required him to use inhalers, though he continued to smoke.

He specialized in crises, often in Europe and specifically in the Balkans, where he spent seven years over two tours of duty. In the early 1980s, when he served as the ambassador in Belgrade, he was unable to keep Yugoslavia from dissolving several years later.

During the first Bush presidency, Mr. Eagleburger was second in command at the State Department under James A. Baker III, and because of his previous experience in the Middle East as Mr. Kissinger’s aide, he was sent on a delicate mission to Israel in 1991, at the start of the Persian Gulf war, which had been mounted to eject Iraq from Kuwait.

Mr. Eagleburger’s task was to persuade the Israelis under Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to stay out of the fight, even though Iraqi Scud missiles were landing in Israel. The United States was concerned then, as it would be 12 years later in the war in Iraq, that Israel not be seen as a military partner, fearing that such a perception would alienate Arab and Muslim states willing to help. His success paved the way to his appointment as secretary of state, the first Foreign Service officer to be so elevated.

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