In July 1988, during his final year as secretary of state, George Shultz embarked on an eight-country, three-week tour of Asia. No crisis or urgent diplomatic objective had spurred the trip—unthinkably long by today’s standards. With the Soviet Union in decline and China focused inward, the United States’ global position was strong. But Shultz had a deep commitment to what he called “tending the diplomatic garden.” I was a young Foreign Service Officer accompanying Shultz. Watching the way he treated his hosts in each capital city was a powerful lesson in American diplomacy and why it matters.
Burns, Nicholas. "The Diplomat as Gardener." Foreign Affairs. February 19, 2021.