Lawrence Eagleburger Dies
June 4, 2011 by staff
Lawrence Eagleburger Dies, Lawrence S. Eagleburger, the career official of the Foreign Service only up to the position of secretary of state, died Saturday. He was 80. Eagleburger died in Charlottesville, Virginia, after a short illness, according to a family friend, Christy Reap. No other details were immediately available.
Tributes pour from President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, two of his bosses at one time, former President George HW Bush and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III. “As good as they come” was the description of Baker.
A direct diplomat whose exuberant style masked a difficult compromise solution lead to tangled foreign policy problems, Eagleburger ranked higher in the State Department for five months, when Baker resigned in the summer of 1992 to help Bush in an attempt unsuccessful for reelection.
As a Member of Baker, Eagleburger had taken in a variety of difficult tasks, including the execution of the bureaucracy of the department. Baker, he was often abroad, working on Middle East problems, German unification and the collapse of the Soviet Union, leaving Eagleburger to serve the domestic front.
Eagleburger told The Associated Press in 1990 that works “a kind of osmosis. You get a sense of how he (Baker) would react to a situation.”
He did not fit the image of the office.
He was very fat. The chain-smoked cigarettes, sometimes with a vacuum cleaner to relieve chronic asthma. He suffered a muscle disease.
Born August 1, 1930, in Milwaukee, Eagleburger graduated from the University of Wisconsin. Raised in a Republican family, once telling a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal: “My father was a little to the right of Genghis Khan.”
Eagleburger was still a Republican, but a more moderate band.
More than 27 years in the Foreign Service, he served in the Nixon administration as executive assistant to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, as President Jimmy Carter’s ambassador to Yugoslavia, and as Assistant Secretary of State and Secretary of State in the first Reagan administration administration.
In the following years, he was available to offer advice, along with other former senior officials, Hillary Rodham Clinton, as he prepared for the post of secretary of state.
Eagleburger called Bush “one of the most capable and respected diplomats of our foreign service ever produced, and I’ll be forever grateful for his wisdom, counsel senseless for those four years of historical change in our world.”
In a statement, Bush said “during one of the most tense moments of the Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein began to attack Israel with Scud missiles trying cynical and cruel to the bait in the conflict, Israel sent Larry to keep our coalition. It was an extremely complex and delicate task, and his performance was nothing short of heroic. ”
Eagleburger said Baker “was a legend in the U.S. Foreign Service, a consummate professional who served his country by experts and with great dignity and diplomatic gain.” He said his former colleague was “excellent in guessing the problems and the game goes. That’s why it was the first Foreign Service Officer of history at the level of Assistant Secretary of State and later Secretary of State. In short, Larry Eagleburger was as good as they come – loyal, hardworking and intelligent, a trifecta of an American diplomat. ”
In what could have been his last public appearance, a clear brittle Eagleburger gave a crowd of State Department officials last month, including Clinton and former Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, with stories about his early days in foreign service during the Kennedy administration.
He arrived May 18 at an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the State Department Operations Center, Department of 24 hours, seven days a week, and the heart. Eagleburger had many in the audience rolling with laughter in recalling the manic confusion between national security advisers Kennedy during the Bay of Pigs invasion, which led the then Secretary of State Dean Rusk to the order of the creation of a clearinghouse all day for information from all over the world.
“Larry believes in the power of U.S. values, and fought for them throughout the world,” Clinton said on Saturday. “It was frank, but always the consummate diplomat. Even in retirement, Larry was still a strong advocate for the causes he believes in. He never stopped caring, helping, and talking.”
Eagleburger called Obama a statesman who “devoted his life to the security of our nation and to strengthening our ties with allies and partners.”
Eagleburger in 2008 provided support to a unit by a new international group, Global Zero to eliminate nuclear weapons over 25 years. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was a star-packed group of followers.
For five years, before joining the first Bush administration in 1989 as Assistant Secretary of State Eagleburger was president of Kissinger Associates, a company that provides advice on international politics and take advantage of their connections like Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft, former adviser national security.
The work paid handsomely. Received more than one million and the payment of salaries and allowances, in his last year.
After the defeat of Bush in 1992, Eagleburger took a similar job with a law firm headed by former Senator Howard Baker; R-Tenn. Eagleburger intimate knowledge of the issues and key players was a valuable commodity
Eagleburger chaired the International Commission on Holocaust era insurance claims; they sought to settle the decades-old claims brought by victims of Nazi brutality whose entitlement to insurance benefits had been raped during the Second World War.
Eagleburger was in 2006 in the Iraq Study Group, the special panel headed by Baker and former Congressman Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., Which called for a gradual withdrawal of troops and diplomacy, took a step to help lift the U.S. Iraq.
“When I was asked to do this by Jim Baker, was not quite sure I would want to do because I had very serious doubts about whether bipartisanship could prevail in this type of session,” Eagleburger said at the time.
In 2008, he was a prominent supporter of the presidential candidacy of Arizona Senator John McCain. He told an NPR interviewer-mate McCain, Sarah Palin was not up to the task of taking over the presidency in a crisis but could become “adequate.”
Over the years, a sense of humor and Eagleburger served.
Asked at a Senate confirmation hearing whether he had ever publicly or privately pinched behind a woman, Eagleburger said, “I can divide this into two questions?”
Asked by reporters how he planned to run the State Department after the departure of Baker, Eagleburger said, “Evil.”
He named each of his three sons Lawrence – who used his middle name Scott, Andrew and Jason – and there was a lack of pretense that is seen on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.
“It was me,” Eagleburger said The Washington Post about giving their children the same name. “And secondly, I wanted to ruin the Social Security system.”
Explaining Eagleburger relationship with Congress, then Representative. Stephen Solarz, Democrat of New York, said, “always gives the impression that you are speaking plainly and honestly, and that goes a long way.”
“It is a reflexive operator, behind the scenes allowing you to believe that he is open to their advice,” said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., on another occasion.
During the Persian Gulf War, Bush sent Eagleburger to Israel where he was held in high esteem, to counsel patience as Iraq Scud missiles landed against the Jewish state. The Bush administration wanted Israel to retaliate, fearing that shake the coalition with the Arab nations who had joined in the fight to liberate Kuwait.
Eagleburger respondents bombed rubble, building with a cane.
“I knew the Israelis. … (The missile attacks required) someone they know cares about them,” he said.
He also made clear that he would keep the American line, even if they disagreed with him.
When he returned to Washington and a reporter asked about his poor health, Eagleburger said, “What are you writing for – a medical journal?”
Eagleburger took on special missions to China and Panama. Its highest concentration in missions abroad was in Yugoslavia, where he spent seven of his 11 years abroad.
In 1992, he compared the country’s dissolution, which began a year ago, a Greek tragedy, and predicted, “Many people are going to die.”
At the same time, Eagleburger was unwilling to intervene militarily. “Sometimes there are problems for which there is no immediate solution, and sometimes there are problems for which there is no solution,” the longtime troubleshooter, paradoxically, he said.
He found fault with all ethnic groups, found none of them particularly noble.
Eagleburger was married to the former Marlene Ann Heinemann, who died last year. His family was in the bakery business in Milwaukee. A previous marriage ended in divorce.
Their home was a farm of 40 acres west of Charlottesville, Virginia, where Eagleburger enjoyed listening to the opera and play poker, which he often did with reporters accompanying him and Kissinger on longhaul flights abroad.
“Lorenzo is not worried,” his wife said once. “If he thinks he can do something about a problem, what it does. If he does, he can break away and return to it.”
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