You know you're out of power when your limousine is yellow and your driver speaks Farsi, said former Secretary of State James Baker Sunday morning when addressing the Adult Forum at St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square.
President George H.W. Bush at St.John's-Lafayette Square/Patricia
Mr. Baker, tanned and relaxed, spoke and answered questions (nothing was off-limits, he said) for about 50 minutes and frequently interspersed his comments with praise for President Bush.
The 13-year Capitol Hill veteran who worked for President Gerald Ford, President Ronald Reagan, and President Bush said people everywhere desire affirmation, recognition, and fulfillment, not just D.C. power brokers. Power can be "intoxicating and addictive," but it alone does not "bring the fulfillment that many people think it does."
When asked about the possibility of American troops going into Yemen, Somalia, or other African nation, Mr. Baker said "our economy is in the tank, and we don't have the money to go" and "be the policeman of the world." He talked about "wars of choice" versus "wars of necessity."
He commended President Obama, the Navy Seals, and the military for taking out Osama bin Laden, and he cited last week's successful rescue of an American in Somalia. He made no negative remarks about the president but he had a few for members of Congress.
About the Iranians, he said he thought they were too smart to block the Strait of Hormuz since it would be an act of war and a violation of the international sea agreement which would likely compel the U.S. to act. He has no insider information but thinks and hopes the Iranians are merely talking rhetoric and they "may be posturing a little bit."
Mr. Baker spoke sincerely about his faith and friendship.
Coming up at St. John's: