Politics James Baker’s 7 Rules for Running Washington

James Baker’s 7 Rules for Running Washington

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Sometimes, more aggressive methods of press management were needed. In 1990, treacherous weather condition almost thwarted a superpower top with the Soviets, which had been set to happen aboard ships in Malta. When the logistics fiasco threatened to end up being the story, Baker, by then the secretary of state, told Tutwiler to instantly feed the media crowd a diversion: 17 brand-new propositions President Bush had brought to the conference to present for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and which they had not prepared to release up until the end of the top. “Dump!” he screamed into the phone, and she did.

3. If Dick Cheney (or anybody else) gets in your lane, run over him “with all possible alacrity.”

Collegiality just presumes in the upper reaches of the Cabinet, any Cabinet. The first Bush administration had an uncommonly collective nationwide security group, particularly compared to its predecessors. But in a town where the understanding of power typically equated into power itself, Baker was still figured out to keep his authorities as secretary of state, particularly in public. In the spring of Bush’s first year in workplace, amidst a time out to re-examine policy towards the Soviet Union and its reformist young leader Gorbachev, Baker was furious when Defense Secretary Dick Cheney went on CNN and revealed doubts about Gorbachev’s opportunities of success. The Bush group was wagering that Gorbachev’s reforms were genuine, and, besides, diplomacy was Baker’s lane. While Cheney had been a good friend of Baker’s for 20 years and had assisted make his Washington career by protecting his promo throughout the Ford administration, he had no business speaking up on diplomatic issues.

“Cheney, you’re off the reservation,” Cheney told us Baker said when the intensified secretary of state called.

“I got it,” Cheney said. “Won’t happen again.”

But Baker was refrained from doing. He desired to make sure Cheney’s view would not represent the administration’s position. He called the president as well as Brent Scowcroft, the nationwide security advisor, and told them the White House must distance itself from Cheney’s remarks. “Dump on Dick with all possible alacrity,” Baker told Scowcroft. The White House did simply that. Cheney discovered his lesson.

4. Never let ’em see you pee.

Baker’s relentlessness was one of the factors for his success as a diplomat — that, and an iron bladder. He would need both in handling the Syrian totalitarian Hafez al-Assad. Assad was notoriously obstreperous, but Baker was figured out to equate victory in the 1991 Persian Gulf War with Iraq into a real opening for a more comprehensive Middle East peace in between Israel and its Arab next-door neighbors. To start, that implied holding an extraordinary peace conference in Madrid at which the Arabs, consisting of the Palestinians, would really take a seat jointly with an Israeli delegation in public for the first time. Which implied Baker required Assad to concur.

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