In a way, Utah native Brent Scowcroft - President Bush's national security adviser - may be the father of the "mother of all battles" and a co-author of the new world order.
And he has become so important that many allies now have hot lines directly to his office. That's not bad for a sometimes-tired aide for whom Bush has named an award to "honor" staffers prone to fall asleep in meetings.All that was revealed this weekend as Scowcroft was given the Distinguished Public Service Award by the BYU Management Society of Washington, a group of alumni and friends of Brigham Young University.
Roger Porter, another Utahn who is Bush's economic and domestic policy adviser, presented the award and provided some inside information about Scowcroft's work with the president.
He said Scowcroft - who was raised in Ogden, attended West Point and became an Air Force general - has been continually at the right hand of the president as he has made some of the "most momentous decisions in our nation's history."
"It was Brent's presentation at one of the meetings Aug. 3, the day following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, that made clear what the stakes were, crystallized peoples' thinking and galvanized support" for what became the Persian Gulf war, Porter said.
During a meeting in the ocean waters off Bush's summer home at Kennebunkport, Maine, Scowcroft also helped the president formulate his ideas for the post-war world.
Porter said, "When the history of the Bush administration is written, historians will record that perhaps his most important policy and its most memorable phrase - the new world order - were the product of a several-hour conversation last August between President Bush and Brent Scowcroft as they sat together and talked in a boat futilely waiting for the bluefish that were not biting."
Scowcroft's international stature is perhaps best exemplified in the fact that British Prime Minister John Major has a hotline to Scowcroft's White House office.
"Indeed in capitals all around the world, there are those who have and desire a red line to Brent Scowcroft," Porter said.
Porter adds that Bush and other advisers to him all praise Scowcroft for being an "honest broker" with their information. "He has the capacity to synthesize ideas, to get to the heart of an issue. It is a remarkable talent."
Porter said Scowcroft is "self-effacing, lively, confident, competent." But more than anything else, he's fiercely loyal to the president and hesitant to leave his side. When he developed severe flu in January, the president even had to have Scowcroft spirited off to Camp David to rest. Scowcroft notes, "The president didn't ask me, he ordered me."
Porter said Scowcroft is also meek and always gives all the credit to other team members and the president himself. That lack of ego allows the president and others to not only work well with Scowcroft, but to kid him too.
"He is the only living American to have the president of the United States name a memorial award in his honor: The Brent Scowcroft Memorial Award given each year by Bush to the administration official who measured by depth, duration and recovery comes closest to challenging Brent to the fine art of sleeping in meetings," Porter said.
Befitting Porter's description, Scowcroft told the BYU group that he really didn't deserve the distinguished service award - that the real credit should go to "my family, my church and my state (of Utah)."
He said, "I grew up with the notion of public service, caring for others. It was a hallmark not only of my family, but of the (LDS) church - its philosophy and practices - and of Utah and the pioneer spirit."
Although Scowcroft is not active in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he credits the church's influence for his public service orientation. Scowcroft's association with the church also has impressed others, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who hired Scowcroft as an aide when he was President Nixon's national security adviser.
"When I first became associated with Henry Kissinger, he told me that he had been attracted to me because I was a Mormon from Utah.
"I said, `What does that have to do with anything?' He said, `Because of their deserved reputation for dedication, loyalty and integrity.' "
Scowcroft gave his most lavish praise to his boss, President Bush. He said Bush has totally changed the nation's lack of confidence in government, in the military and its foreign policy - which he said were all damaged heavily by the Vietnam War.
"I'm happy to declare to you that in my judgment, among the more notable achievements of our president in this crisis has been the exorcizing of the demon of Vietnam - a major step in allowing us to not just participate in but to help shape a new world order," Scowcroft said.