World lead­ers honor late US pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush

Sunday Trust - - NEWS FEATURE -

Lead­ers from across the world on Satur­day paid trib­ute to the 41st pres­i­dent of the United States, Ge­orge H.W. Bush, who died Fri­day at his home in Hous­ton, Texas at the age of 94.

The for­mer pres­i­dent had been in poor health for sev­eral years, suf­fer­ing from a form of Parkin­son’s dis­ease and other ail­ments.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said, “We will never for­get his con­tri­bu­tion to our re­union.”

The late pres­i­dent was an ar­dent sup­porter of a uni­fied Ger­many as well as West­ern Europe as the Cold War un­rav­eled in the early 1990s.

U.K. Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May called Bush “a great states­man and a true friend of our coun­try” whose “ethos of pub­lic ser­vice was the guid­ing thread of his life and an ex­am­ple to us all.”

May said in a state­ment that “in nav­i­gat­ing a peace­ful end to the Cold War he made the world a safer place for gen­er­a­tions to come.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said Bush “in­spired gen­er­a­tions of his fel­low Amer­i­cans to pub­lic ser­vice.” He added, “Along with his full life of ser­vice to coun­try, we will re­mem­ber for­mer Pres­i­dent Bush for his de­vo­tion to fam­ily - es­pe­cially the love of his life, Barbara.”

“Ge­orge H.W. Bush’s life is a tes­ta­ment to the no­tion that pub­lic ser­vice is a no­ble, joy­ous call­ing,” said for­mer US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. “And he did tremen­dous good along the jour­ney.”

Also, a for­mer US Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton, who beat Bush in the 1992 elec­tion but went on to be­come good friends with his once-ri­val, said he “will be for­ever grate­ful for the friend­ship we formed.”

“From the mo­ment I met him as a young gover­nor in­vited to his home in Ken­neb­unkport, I was struck by the kind­ness he showed to Chelsea [Clin­ton’s daugh­ter], by his in­nate and gen­uine de­cency, and by his de­vo­tion to Barbara [Bush], his chil­dren and their grow­ing brood,” Clin­ton said.

For­mer Soviet leader Mikhail Gor­bachev said Bush was present at “a time of great change,” adding that his lead­er­ship con­trib­uted to “the end of the Cold War and nu­clear arms race.”

New Zealand Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern said Bush “was a strong sup­porter of the in­ter­na­tional rules-based sys­tem, the rule of law and demo­cratic val­ues.”

He tried to “cre­ate a new in­ter­na­tional or­der based on jus­tice and equal­ity among na­tions,” said Kuwaiti leader Sheikh Sabah Al Ah­mad Al Sabah. He never “for­got the Kuwaiti peo­ple and will re­main in their mem­ory.”

In a life on the world stage and at the high­est lev­els of the Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal scene, Bush lost and won elec­tions be­fore be­com­ing the Amer­i­can leader in 1989, and then, with a de­clin­ing U.S. econ­omy and un­em­ploy­ment ris­ing, was turned out of of­fice af­ter four years in the White House, los­ing his re-elec­tion bid in 1992.

He marked the start of his pres­i­dency with a sweep­ing in­au­gu­ral dec­la­ra­tion that “a new breeze is blow­ing, and a world re­freshed by free­dom seems re­born; for in man’s heart, if not in fact, the day of the dic­ta­tor is over. The to­tal­i­tar­ian era is pass­ing, its old ideas blown away like leaves from an an­cient, life­less tree.”

His pro­nounce­ment soon proved prophetic, with the fall of the Ber­lin Wall and the col­lapse of the Soviet Union oc­cur­ring early in his pres­i­dency. Bush met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gor­bachev shortly af­ter the fall of the Ber­lin Wall, their Malta talks viewed as an im­por­tant step­ping stone to­ward the two lead­ers sign­ing the 1991 Strate­gic Arms Re­duc­tion Treaty.

Dur­ing his four years in the White House, Bush or­dered a mil­i­tary op­er­a­tion in Panama to over­throw its drug-traf­fick­ing leader, Manuel Nor­iega. Later, he sent troops to the Mideast to re­pel Iraqi dic­ta­tor Sad­dam Hus­sein in his at­tempted takeover of oil­rich Kuwait. It was per­haps the high point of Bush’s pres­i­dency, his ap­proval rat­ing among U.S. vot­ers reach­ing a record 89 per­cent, with a fire­works dis­play light­ing the night-time sky over Wash­ing­ton to salute the suc­cess­ful mis­sion.

Bush’s com­mit­ment to his coun­try came early in life. He was a naval fighter pi­lot in World War II, at­tack­ing Ja­panese tar­gets at the age of 18, vic­to­ri­ous in one of the war’s largest air bat­tles, the Bat­tle of the Philip­pine Sea. Later, he com­pleted one mis­sion af­ter his plane was hit by flak, leav­ing his en­gine on fire. He bailed out of the air­craft and was rescued in the wa­ters off the Bonin Is­lands.

In his rise to the pres­i­dency, Bush held a va­ri­ety of key po­si­tions over the years, of­ten deemed by Re­pub­li­can pres­i­dents as the most qual­i­fied man in U.S. pub­lic life. He served as U.S. am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions in the early 1970s, chair­man of the Re­pub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee a short time later, then as chief U.S. en­voy to China in the mid1970s. Later, he was di­rec­tor of the Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Agency.

Bush sought the 1980 Re­pub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion but lost it to thenCal­i­for­nia gover­nor, Ron­ald Rea­gan, who tapped Bush as his vice pres­i­den­tial run­ning mate in two suc­cess­ful na­tional cam­paigns, in 1980 and again four years later.

With Rea­gan barred by the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion from serv­ing more than two terms, Bush plot­ted a pres­i­den­tial run for 1988, ul­ti­mately defeating the Demo­cratic nom­i­nee, Mas­sachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. (Agency re­ports)

The late Ge­orge H.W. Bush

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