March 8, 2021

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George Shultz, Reagan’s secretary of state who helped forge new relationship with Soviet Union, dies at 100

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George Shultz, who served as secretary of state in the Reagan administration, died Saturday at his home in California, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where he was affiliated, announced Sunday. He was 100. The Hoover Institution did not provide additional details about his death.

Throughout his career, Shultz held four different Cabinet positions. Former President Nixon tapped him to serve as labor secretary, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and treasury secretary at different points throughout his run. As The Washington Post notes, Shultz developed a reputation for “good judgment and integrity,” and he emerged unscathed from the Watergate scandal. In fact, Nixon did not appear to be very fond of Shultz, who refused to allow the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the president’s political enemies.

Later, in 1982, Reagan selected him to lead the State Department, which he did for six-and-a-half years until the end of the Reagan’s presidency, the second longest of any secretary of state in the post-World War II era aside from Dean Rusk, who served under former Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Reagan and Shultz reportedly enjoyed a warm relationship, though it could be strained by certain geopolitical issues.

Shultz’s most notable accomplishment was pushing Reagan to develop a more constructive relationship with the Soviet Union in the final years of the Cold War. Per the Post, Shultz viewed Mikhail Gorbachev as a new type of Soviet leader with whom Reagan could negotiate. The two eventually reached a breakthrough, signing a nuclear arms treaty in 1987, and tensions continued to ease. Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O’Donnell

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