Meantime, the Iran-Contra scandal had played an ironic role as a catalyst in the growing cordiality of the two superpowers. Partly as a consequence of the scandal, those advisers most hostile to the Soviet Union were gone or replaced. By 1987 William Casey was dead, felled by a brain tumor; gone, too, were John Poindexter from the NSC and Donald Regan from the White House staff. Kirkpatrick and Haig had long been out of the picture. Vernon Walters replaced Kirkpatrick at the United Nations in the spring of 1985. Left now were Howard Baker as chief of staff; William Webster at the CIA; Frank Carlucci, heading the NSC and then taking over the Defense Department from Weinberger; and Colin Powell, following Carlucci as NSC chief. These were no hardliners, but moderates. With them in place, Shultz moved into the ascendancy in foreign affairs. There was a new acceptance of the notion that the United Nations might be a useful instrument for defusing conflicts in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Results were quick to come.
The Iran-Iraq war had been going on for almost a decade, following the Iraqi's aggression in 1979. Death rates and carnage were high, particularly for the Iranians, and neither side seemed on the verge of victory. It became clear with the administration of Gorbachev in Moscow that there could be cooperation among the major powers in addressing the crisis in the Gulf. Shultz convinced Reagan that the United States should work through the United Nations to take advantage of the cooperative spirit. In July 1987, Shultz traveled to New York for informal discussions with Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar and the representatives of the permanent members of the Security Council. An intense three-hour meeting revealed a common concern for the crisis and a shared commitment to resolve it. That very day, July 20, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 598, calling for a cease-fire and the withdrawal of belligerents to internationally recognized borders, and deploring the bombing of civilian populations. It also threatened unspecified retaliation against the combatants if they did not agree to a cease-fire. As Shultz noted approvingly, the resolution was adopted under the authority of Articles 39 and 40 of Chapter VII, "the UN Charter's most powerful provision." 180 Iran, angry that the international community had not found Iraq to be the aggressor in the war, criticized____________________