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Strobe Talbott

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Strobe Talbott
12th United States Deputy Secretary of State
In office
February 23, 1994 – January 19, 2001
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byClifton R. Wharton Jr.
Succeeded byRichard Armitage
President of the Brookings Institution
In office
July 1, 2002 – November 6, 2017
Preceded byMichael Armacost
Succeeded byJohn R. Allen
Personal details
Nelson Strobridge Talbott III

(1946-04-25) April 25, 1946 (age 78)
Dayton, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
(m. 1971; died 2009)
Barbara Lazear Ascher
(m. 2015)
EducationYale University (BA)
Magdalen College, Oxford (MLitt)

Nelson Strobridge Talbott III (born April 25, 1946) is an American foreign policy analyst focused on Russia. He was associated with Time magazine, and a diplomat who served as the deputy secretary of state from 1994 to 2001. He was president of Brookings Institution from 2002 to 2017.

Early life[edit]

Talbott was born in Dayton, Ohio, to Helen Josephine (Large) and Nelson Strobridge "Bud" Talbott II.[2] He attended the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut and graduated in 1968 from Yale University, where he had been chairman of the Yale Daily News, a position whose previous incumbents include Henry Luce, William F. Buckley, and Joe Lieberman. He was awarded Yale's Alpheus Henry Snow Prize. He was also a member of the Scholar of the House program in 1967–68, belonged to a society of juniors and seniors called Saint Anthony Hall and elected to the exclusive Elizabethan Club. He became friends with future President Bill Clinton when both were Rhodes Scholars at the University of Oxford;[3] during his studies there he translated Nikita Khrushchev's memoirs into English.[3]


Talbott with George Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece, 2009

In 1972, Talbott, along with fellow Rhodes Scholar Robert Reich and friend David E. Kendall, rallied their friends Bill and Hillary Clinton to help the Texas campaign to elect George McGovern as president of the United States. In the 1980s, he was Time's principal correspondent on Soviet-American relations, and his work for the magazine was cited in the three Overseas Press Club Awards won by Time in the 1980s.[4] Talbott also wrote several books on disarmament. He translated and edited Khrushchev Remembers: The Last Testament (2 volumes, 1974) by Nikita S. Khrushchev.

Following Bill Clinton's election as president, Talbott served in the U.S. government. He was appointed Ambassador-at-Large and Special Adviser to the Secretary of State Warren Christopher on the New Independent States from 1993 to 1994, to mitigate the consequences of the Soviet breakup. He was then appointed to the second highest ranking position in the U.S. State Department as deputy secretary of state from 1994 to 2001.[5] After leaving government, he was briefly the Director of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.[6]

Talbott with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev whilst the latter was on a visit to the United States in April 2010
Talbott with Secretary of State John Kerry in 2016

Talbott was the sixth president of the Brookings Institution in Washington from 2002 to 2017. He helped raise more than $650 million in support of independent policy research and analysis.[7] At Brookings, he was responsible for formulating policies, recommending projects, approving publications and selecting staff, focusing on Eastern Europe, Russia, and nuclear arms control.[8] On January 31, 2017, Talbott announced his resignation from the Brookings Institution. The resignation was later retracted, but in October 2017, he was succeeded by General John R. Allen.[9][7]

In December 2011, Talbott returned to government service as chair of the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board.[10] He was on the advisory board of the DC non-profit America Abroad Media[11] and holds leadership positions in other organizations such as the Aspen Institute and the American Academy of Diplomacy.[12][13]


Talbott married Brooke Shearer in 1971. He had been the college roommate of her brother, Derek.[14] Brooke was a personal aide to Hillary Clinton. They were married for 38 years, until her death on May 19, 2009.[15] He has two sons, Devin and Adrian Talbott, co-founders of the now-defunct Generation Engage.[16] In 2015, he married Barbara Lazear Ascher.[17]


  • "It was Yugoslavia's resistance to the broader trends of political and economic reform - not the plight of Kosovar Albanians - that best explains NATO's war."[18]
  • "In the next century, nations as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority. National sovereignty wasn't such a great idea after all." (Time)[19]
  • "The Russians have provided an opening for renewed diplomacy. Since last summer, President Dmitry Medvedev has been calling for a 'new Euro-Atlantic security architecture'. So far, except for rehashing old complaints and the unacceptable claim that other former Soviet republics fall within Russia's 'sphere of privileged interests', Mr Medvedev and Mr Lavrov have been vague about what they have in mind.
"That creates a vacuum that the United States and its European partners can fill with their own proposals. The theme of those should be accelerating the emergence of an international system (of which NATO is a part) that is prepared to include Russia rather than exclude or contain it, and to encourage positive forces in Russia that want to see their nation integrated in a globalized world organized around the search for common solutions to common problems." (Financial Times)[20]
  • "We already know that the Kremlin helped put Trump into the White House and played him for a sucker…. Trump has been colluding with a hostile Russia throughout his presidency."[21]

Honors and awards[edit]


  1. ^ "Barbara Ascher and Strobe Talbott". The New York Times. March 2015.
  2. ^ Contemporary Authors. Gale Research International, Limited. May 2003. ISBN 9780787651961.
  3. ^ a b Cornwell, Rupert (January 8, 1994). "Strobe lights up the world stage for his friend Bill...". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on May 25, 2022. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  4. ^ "Yale Lecture Series: Putin's Path: Russian Foreign Policy Since 9/11". Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  5. ^ Schmitt, Eric (September 24, 1999). "State Dept. Expert Upbeat About Russian Fund Case". New York Times. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  6. ^ "Talbott to leave for Washington". Yale Daily News. January 25, 2002. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  7. ^ a b "John R. Allen named next Brookings Institution president". Brookings Institution. October 4, 2017.
  8. ^ "Strobe Talbott: "Not clear what Russia is going to do next"". Georgian Times. August 26, 2008. Archived from the original on September 4, 2008. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  9. ^ https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brookings-now/2017/01/31/strobe-talbott-to-step-down-from-the-brookings-institution/ Strobe Talbott to step down from the Brookings Institution
  10. ^ "Strobe Talbott". Brookings. April 27, 2016. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  11. ^ "Strobe Talbott".
  12. ^ "Strobe Talbott". The Aspen Institute. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  13. ^ "Strobe Talbott". The American Academy of Diplomacy. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  14. ^ "Brooke Shearer dies at 58; former journalist, personal aide to Hillary Clinton". Los Angeles Times. May 27, 2009. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  15. ^ Smith, Ben (May 19, 2009). "Brooke Shearer, R.I.P." Politico.
  16. ^ Rothstein, Betsy (December 13, 2005). "Political engagement: the next generation". The Hill.
  17. ^ "Barbara Ascher and Strobe Talbott". The New York Times. March 2015.
  18. ^ Norris, John (2005). Collision course : NATO, Russia, and Kosovo. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Pub. ISBN 0-313-05135-6. OCLC 70157464.
  19. ^ Talbott, Strobe (July 20, 1992). "America Abroad: The Birth of the Global Nation". TIME.com.
  20. ^ "A Russian 'reset button' based on inclusion". Financial Times. February 23, 2009.
  21. ^ "Anti-Trump Frenzy Threatens to End Superpower Diplomacy". The Nation. January 16, 2019.
  22. ^ "Apbalvotie un statistika" (in Latvian). president.lv. Retrieved May 30, 2022.

Further reading[edit]

  • Finan, Bill. "Nuclear Diplomacy Up Close: Strobe Talbott on the Clinton Administration and India." India Review (Jan 2005) 4#1, pp 84-97.
  • Lane, Charles. "The Master of the Game: A journey down the paper trail of Strobe Talbott: Russophile, establishmentarian, … ", The New Republic, March 7, 1994. (pp. 19–29)

Primary sources[edit]

  • Talbott, Strobe. Endgame: The inside story of SALT II (1980) online
  • Talbott, Strobe. Deadly Gambits: The Reagan Administration and the Stalemate in Nuclear Arms Control (1984) online
  • Talbott, Strobe. The Master of the Game: Paul Nitze and the Nuclear Peace (1988) online
  • Talbott, Strobe. At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War, with Michael R. Beschloss, (1993) online
  • Talbott, Strobe. The Russia Hand: A Memoir of Presidential Diplomacy (Random House, 2007). online
  • Talbott, Strobe. The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation (2009) online
  • Talbott, Strobe. Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy, and the Bomb (Brookings Institution Press, 2010). online

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by United States Deputy Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by President of the Brookings Institution
Succeeded by