James Addison Baker III

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James Addison Baker III served as Secretary of State (and Chief of Staff) under George Herbert Walker Bush and was Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan. He was Undersecretary of Commerce under Gerald R. Ford. Baker also served on the National Security Council.

(born April 28, 1930), American politician and diplomat, was Chief of Staff in the President Ronald Reagan's first administration, and Secretary of State in the administration of President George H. W. Bush and as United States Secretary of the Treasury from 1985 to 1988 in the second Reagan administration.

Born in Houston, Texas, Baker was educated at Princeton University, receiving a bachelor's degree in 1952. He then served in the United States Marine Corps for two years as a lieutenant, after which he attended the University of Texas School of Law, where he received his J.D. in 1957. Baker became employed with the law firm Andrews & Kurth, where he remained until 1975.

Originally a Democrat, Baker switched to the Republican party and managed George H. W. Bush's unsuccessful Senate campaign in 1970.

He served as Undersecretary of Commerce under President Gerald Ford in 1975 and ran Ford's unsuccessful election campaign in 1976. Baker ran an unsuccessful race in 1978 to become State Attorney General of Texas.

After serving as George H.W. Bush's campaign manager in the 1980 Republican primaries, Baker was named White House Chief of Staff by President Reagan in 1981. He served in that capacity until 1985. Due to Reagan's passive management style, Baker is seen as wielding a high degree of influence over the successes and failures of the first Reagan administration, particularly in domestic policy. After managing Reagan's wildly successful reelection campaign in 1984, Baker was appointed Secretary of the Treasury in January of 1985 — he "switched roles" with the former Secretary of the Treasury, Donald Regan, who replaced Baker as Chief of Staff. During the Reagan administration Baker also served on the Economic Policy Council, where he was instrumental in achieving the passage of the administration's tax and budget reform legislation package in 1981.

Baker served on Reagan's National Security Council, and remained Treasury Secretary through 1988, during which year he also served as campaign chairman for Bush's successful presidential bid.

Bush appointed Baker Secretary of State in 1989, in which position he continued to serve through 1992, being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991. From 1992 to 1993 he was named Bush's Chief of Staff. He is credited as a leading architect of the peaceful transition from communism to democracy in Europe beginning in 1989. Together with President Bush, Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Chancellor Helmut Kohl and German Foreign Minister Genscher he is one of the inspirators of German reunification.

During the Gulf War, he helped to architect the 31-nation alliance that fought alongside the United States in the first Gulf War.

In March 1997 Baker became the Personal Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Western Sahara [1]. In June 2004 he resigned from this position, frustrated over the lack of progress in reaching a complete settlement acceptable to both the government of Morocco and the pro-independence Polisario Front.

Baker served as chief legal advisor for George W. Bush during the 2000 election campaign and oversaw the Florida recount. He is currently (as of 2003) senior counsel to the Carlyle Group.

In late 2003 he was drafted by the President to assist in the operations of the US-led occupation of Iraq. He is also a special envoy to the president to persuade other countries to relief Iraqi debts.

On October 13 The Guardian released documents stating that the Carlyle Group on behalf of Kuwait is trying to payments from Iraq. Baker is believed to be a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

On 15 March 2006, Congress announced the formation of the Iraq Study Group.

On October 8th, the Washington Post reported that Baker is "the Republican co-chairman (along with Lee Hamilton) of a bipartisan commission tasked by Congress with assessing U.S. options in Iraq," and quoted him as saying "our commission believes that there are alternatives between the stated alternatives, the ones that are out there in the political debate, of 'stay the course' and 'cut and run.'"

On 8 October 2006 Baker basicaly said that there are alternatives in Iraq for the United States other than the stay-the-course-policy of President George W. Bush's administration.

For this the New York Post branded him a surrender monkey on their front page.

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