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Illness in public office

I must confess to idle speculation about the extent to which the course of world affairs may have been affected by illness among those holding high public office since, say, the time of Woodrow Wilson. I say “idle” because it would probably be impossible to isolate the effects of illness and we cannot know what might have been. But the international list of those who have carried great responsibility while ill is a long one and there are fleeting glimpses of decisions which good health might have turned another way. The point is mentioned because one of the purposes of diplomacy, including its elaborate formality and high style, is to exclude from great affairs of state the many irrelevancies which spring from human frailty.
from "The President," by Dean Rusk, Foreign Affairs, March/April 1960
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