Pres­i­dent at a time of a world in tur­moil


HE was only a one-term pres­i­dent but Ge­orge H.W. Bush was in power at such a tu­mul­tuous time in global pol­i­tics that he was re­mem­bered fondly yes­ter­day as the man who brought ci­vil­ity, in­spi­ra­tion and ex­pan­sion to democ­racy.

Tributes flowed for the 41st US pres­i­dent who died on Fri­day night aged 94 fol­low­ing a long bat­tle with a form or Parkin­son’s dis­ease.

“Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro and I are sad­dened to an­nounce that af­ter 94 re­mark­able years, our dear Dad has died,” his son, for­mer pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush, said in a state­ment.

“Ge­orge H.W. Bush was a man of the high­est char­ac­ter and the best Dad a son or daugh­ter could ask for.”

His pass­ing comes just months af­ter the death in April of wife Bar­bara – his “most beloved woman in the world” – to whom he was mar­ried for 73 years.

Mr Bush was elected in 1988 and within months into his pres­i­dency was faced with a dizzy­ing pace of pol­i­tics with the fall of the Ber­lin Wall, the dis­so­lu­tion of the So­viet Union, the end of the Cold War and rais­ing a force for the re­moval of Pana­ma­nian dic­ta­tor Manuel Nor­iega.

In Au­gust 1990, he re­sponded to Sad­dam Hus­sein’s in­va­sion of Kuwait, cre­at­ing a US-led in­ter­na­tional coali­tion which in­cluded Aus­tralia, that lib­er­ated the tiny oil-rich na­tion. It was dur­ing the pres­i­dency of his son that Sad­dam’s rule would even­tu­ally end.

Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Scott Mor­ri­son said: “The pres­i­dent was a true and great friend of Aus­tralia, who fought for free­dom and democ­racy, not only as pres­i­dent and through­out his pub­lic life, but as a WW2 vet­eran.”

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump yes­ter­day paid tribute to Mr Bush for his “life­time of ser­vice to the na­tion” and “un­flap­pable lead­er­ship” dur­ing the wan­ing days of the Cold War.

“Me­la­nia and I join with a griev­ing na­tion to mourn the loss of for­mer pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush,” Mr Trump said in a state­ment from the G20 sum­mit in Buenos Aires.

“Through his es­sen­tial au­then­tic­ity, dis­arm­ing wit, and un­wa­ver­ing com­mit­ment to faith, fam­ily, and coun­try, Pres­i­dent Bush in­spired gen­er­a­tions of his fel­low Amer­i­cans to pub­lic ser­vice.” For­mer pres­i­dent Barack Obama said the na­tion had lost a pa­triot. He cred­ited him with “ex­pand­ing Amer­ica’s promise to new im­mi­grants and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties and re­duc­ing the scourge of nu­clear weapons to build a broad in­ter­na­tional coali­tion. And when demo­cratic rev­o­lu­tions bloomed across Eastern Europe, it was his steady, diplo­matic hand that made pos­si­ble an achieve­ment once thought any­thing but, end­ing the Cold War with­out fir­ing a shot.” For­mer So­viet premier Mikhail Gor­bachev ex­pressed his “deep con­do­lences” to the Bush fam­ily.

Born Ge­orge Her­bert Walker Bush in Mil­ton, Mas­sachusetts, on June 12, 1924, he en­listed into the mil­i­tary on his 18th birth­day and was the youngest pi­lot in the US Navy when he re­ceived his wings, go­ing on to fly 58 com­bat mis­sions and earn­ing the Dis­tin­guished Fly­ing Cross.

One saw him shot down by Ja­panese anti-air­craft fire over the Pa­cific, leav­ing him to be res­cued by a US sub­ma­rine.

In 1945, he mar­ried Bar­bara Pierce, with whom he had six chil­dren – Ge­orge, Robin (who died as a child), John (Jeb), Neil, Marvin and Dorothy.

His po­lit­i­cal ca­reer saw him oc­cupy a num­ber of po­si­tions in­clud­ing con­gress­man, CIA di­rec­tor and Ron­ald Rea­gan’s vice-pres­i­dent.

TRIBUTES FLOW: Ge­orge H.W. Bush and wife Bar­bara.

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