On the passing of George H.W. Bush The man of the transition to the new world order

01/12/2018

 

Cristina Crespo is Director of External Relations at the Franklin Institute


If Reagan is to go down in history as the last Cold War president, his former vice president George H. W. Bush (Bush Senior), must be recognized as one of the world leaders who championed the peaceful transition from the end of the Cold War (with the signing of the arms reduction agreement in 1990) to a new world order in which the United States could exercise its world hegemony. Since then, although not with the same intensity, the United States has been able to carry out its political-military supremacy in the world in accordance with its strategic interests.

The concept of a new world order was pronounced by the forty-first president of the United States (1989-93) in his 1991 speech after the first Gulf War in 1991, in which the military intervention was led by an international coalition considered one of his diplomatic achievements. In his speech, he defended the presence of the United States in the world and the dissemination of its principles and values in order to preserve international peace and stability. In order to do so, it would be necessary to count on the group of democratic nations - as he defended - in a reinforcement of the transatlantic bond that had organizations such as the United Nations as an instrument.

During his four-year term, Bush focused on the country's foreign policy along the lines of the Reagan administration and the historical context of the time. In this way, he occupied a single term punished at the polls for failing to keep his promise not to raise taxes and against an exciting young Bill Clinton for the Democratic Party.

His vision of the international stage with a strong transatlantic sense is one of the legacies left by this president, one of the most multifaceted and complete leaders in the history of his country. He participated in World War II as a naval aviator, which made him a war hero like other presidents of his country. But he also held the position of director of the CIA and US ambassador to the United Nations and was the US interlocutor with China. These positions provided him with extensive experience and knowledge in international relations and a conception of the place that the United States should occupy in the world.

He also built an empire in the oil industry, making him a millionaire entrepreneur. However, one of his greatest legacies has been his family. Father of George W. Bush (forty-third president of the United States 2001-2009) and Jeb Bush (congressman and pre-candidate in the Republican primary for the last presidential race), the Bush clan constitutes one of the most influential pillars within the Republican party. The Bush administrations (both Bush Sr. and Bush Jr.) form an ideological reference linked to realism, liberalism and neoconservatism in different historical contexts of strong international tensions.

As Bush senior would say, "no generation can escape history''. This history will be in charge of giving the president his rightful place.

Translation by David Outeda

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