The Presidency: Old Soldier, New Policy

In the body of diplomatic legend that Alexander Haig encountered when he became Secretary of State was the story that France's ex-President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing had twice asked Jimmy Carter whether he would use nuclear weapons if the Soviet Union invaded Western Europe. And twice, the story goes, Carter said no.

Haig is convinced that the report, true or not, long ago permeated the minds of our allies and, of course, found its way to the Kremlin. If he and his boss Ronald Reagan sometimes seem to be needlessly "poking the bear,"...

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