Jimmy Carter
Jimmy CarterReuters

The attack on the US embassy in Baghdad this week is serving as a warning about the dangers of shadow diplomacy.

The Washington Post reported this week that Rudy Giuliani was part of a back-channel effort to ease President Nicolás Maduro from power in Venezuela. President Trump’s personal lawyer was also involved in an effort to interfere in US policy in Ukraine, the subject of the upcoming impeachment trial against the president.

Shadow diplomatic efforts like those orchestrated by Giuliani and others are “not new,” says former New York Times reporter Terence Smith. Smith reported on this in the late 1970s when David Rockefeller, heir to the Standard Oil fortune and chief executive of Chase Bank, tried to convince a reluctant President Jimmy Carter to bring the Shah of Iran — who was deposed in the 1979 revolution — to the U.S.

Nearly 40 years later, the Times’ David Kirkpatrick used Rockefeller’s private minutes to corroborate much of what Smith wrote in a 1981 piece about those puppet masters.