Why did I love this book?
Paradoxically, my thoughts on the decline of U.S. diplomacy begin with the superb biography of James A. Baker by Peter Baker (no relation) and Susan Glasser. Many believe Baker was the best secretary of state ever. He presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union, the reunification of Germany, our muscular response to Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, and the reinvigoration of the Middle East peace process I personally witnessed Baker’s impressive negotiating skills in Riyadh. Baker did not begin with a favorable impression of the Foreign Service, and he did not leave it a better place. Unlike George Shultz who relied on Foreign Service professionals, he brought his own team with him. He replaced the entire leadership of the Middle East bureau, a center of excellence under Shultz.