Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger
Often described as a low-key, effective team player with a workaholic schedule, National Security Advisor-to-be Sandy Berger will be spending a large amount of time with President Bill Clinton during the next four years. The two men met at the Alamo in 1972 while Clinton was a Texas state organizer and Berger a speechwriter for George McGovern's presidential campaign.
Clinton and Berger became fast friends and stayed in touch during the years that Clinton spent as governor of Arkansas and Berger worked on Democratic presidential campaigns. Berger urged Clinton to run for president as early as 1987 and joined his campaign in 1991 to coordinate foreign policy for the candidate. It was Berger who brought Anthony Lake and Madeleine Albright to the team.
Between his years of campaign work and a stint in the State Department, Berger also joined the firm of Hogan & Hartson as an international trade attorney. Berger became a regular in the foreign policy establishment and was often involved with the policy-heavy dinners hosted by Albright.
Berger is known as a team player and someone who is good at building consensus. One of Berger's priorities is to prevent the kind of internal squabbling that crippled the Carter administration's foreign policy. At State, Berger wrote speeches for Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and worked on the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty as the deputy director of policy planning. The director? Anthony Lake.
In Michael Dukakis's unsuccessful 1988 presidential campaign, Berger worked in the foreign policy section under Albright. Perhaps the most valuable quality that Clinton is getting in his new foreign policy team is their proven ability to work well together over the long haul.
Berger lobbied Congress for the post-Communist government of Poland and for the United States subsidiary of Toyota. He was also a close advisor to the late ambassador to France, Pamela Harriman, and helped her to enter the foreign policy community.
Big on process, Berger is expected to function behind the scenes to keep the administration synchronized on policy. His strengths in international economics may help shift the national security emphasis from military security toward more of an economic security outlook for America. As a long-time Clinton friend and advisor with decades of political and policy experience, Berger is well positioned to have great influence in American foreign policy over the next four years.
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