(August 7, 2020 / JNS) Former two-time U.S. National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft died of natural causes on Aug. 6, his 95th birthday, according to a statement from the Scowcroft Group.
“Brent Scowcroft was an American patriot and public servant of the highest order with an extraordinary military and government service career spanning over 60 years,” it read.
Scowcroft, a former U.S. Air Force general and leading foreign-policy voice, served as national security advisor under presidents Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush when relations between the United States and Israel were tense during the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the 1991 Gulf War, respectively. He is the only person to have served as national security advisor under two presidents.
“Mr. Scowcroft generally drew narrow military goals, and in the Persian Gulf war urged Mr. Bush to limit operations to evicting Iraqi troops from Kuwait and not ousting Saddam Hussein, unless the dictator resorted to chemical or biological warfare against the American forces or Israel,” according to his obituary in The New York Times.
In a July 2014 interview, when Israel was defending itself from rockets launched by Hamas in Gaza, Scowcroft said that “what puzzles me is why Hamas is doing this, and what it hopes to gain by it. Because this is certainly bringing tragedy to the whole of the Gaza. It’s not clear to me what its objective is. They’ve turned down requests from Egypt to abjudicate the issue.”
Nonetheless, Scowcroft acknowledged that “if you want to take Hamas at its words, its long-term objective is the destruction of Israel. But that’s not a practical or realistic goal, even for them.”
Simultaneously, Scowcroft said “the Israelis can march through the Gaza Strip, there is no question about it. But then what? For Israeli troops to occupy the Gaza Strip would be a serious problem for them. They are doing okay in the Palestinian territories because they are not in active conflict, and the Palestinians have taken over local security in most of the areas quite thoroughly and quite effectively—in the West Bank.”
The Scowcroft Group wrote that “his entire professional life was devoted to how best to protect America and advance its interests. He mentored two generations of American public servants who revered him for his brilliance, integrity, humility and fundamental decency. He served the United States with great honor and distinction, and is considered one of the most influential experts in international affairs.”
Scowcroft is survived by his daughter, Karen, and a granddaughter, Meghan. He was predeceased by his wife, Marian, in 1995.
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