Brent Scowcroft was the quintessential honest broker, and the precedent he set as national security advisor for Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush remains the gold standard to this day. His recent passing means the country has lost an outstanding member of the “greatest generation,” but it also provides an opportunity to take a fuller measure of his many, valuable contributions.
Not claiming credit
Throughout his career, Scowcroft was happy to let others attract publicity and remain in the background. With his expertise, dedication, analytical ability, emotional intelligence, sense of humor, and knowledge of Washington bureaucracy, Scowcroft worked effectively behind the scenes handling crises and thinking ahead. None “of the principals, or their bureaucracies, or their immediate staffs fe[lt] in the least bit threatened” by his handling of White House meetings and his close relationship with the president,” recalled one associate, David Gompert. Those who worked with him knew that Scowcroft would represent their views accurately and objectively in meetings or consultations with the president. [Read more]