Bush will be re­mem­bered for lead­ing a new world or­der

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

Of­fice in 1992 was de­stroyed by his fail­ure to con­vince vot­ers he un­der­stood the eco­nomic and so­cial prob­lems they suf­fered.

But where Bush did suc­ceed, he did so on a huge, and of­ten global scale.

He made his­tory, and much of that his­tory made the world a bet­ter place.

Although at the time not given credit, he han­dled a se­ries of his­toric crises with com­pe­tence and re­straint, while deal­ing with the ev­ery­day con­flicts and com­pro­mises of govern­ing re­spon­si­bly and rea­son­ably.

But for­eign pol­icy was Bush’s great strength, and of his worldly con­tri­bu­tions, two stand out.

Firstly, the end of the Cold War and of the Soviet Union oc­curred on Bush’s watch.

They both had the abil­ity to wreak havoc in the world but his han­dling was skil­ful and adept.

Bush saw the im­por­tance of giv­ing Soviet re­form­ers tacit sup­port while not pro­vok­ing their ad­ver­saries to act against them.

He al­most sin­gle-hand­edly stage-man­aged the cre­ation of a new world or­der amid the col­lapse of com­mu­nism, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the re­u­ni­fi­ca­tion of Ger­many.

Se­condly, his de­ci­sions in 1990-1991 to pro­tect Arab al­lies and drive Iraqi forces from Kuwait were brave and well-jus­ti­fied.

Both events shocked the world, and Bush calmly sat steer­ing their out­come with a calm that char­ac­terised most of his pub­lic life.

Some­times peo­ple think pol­i­tics is tawdry, to­day never more so.

But ask any world leader who met with Bush what he was like and they will say he be­haved at all times with truth and hon­esty at the fore­front of his lead­er­ship.

Sure, he had op­po­nents but never, they say, en­e­mies. He made friends and never lost them. By all ac­counts, Bush en­sured pol­i­tics was a re­spectable pro­fes­sion, and he un­der­stood its obli­ga­tions to ev­ery­one, not just the pow­er­ful, not only the rich but those far less for­tu­nate from every walk of life.

It is dif­fi­cult at the mo­ment of his pass­ing not to take note of the pro­found dif­fer­ences be­tween his time in the White House and that of its cur­rent oc­cu­pant, Don­ald Trump.

Be­yond a de­sire to be pres­i­dent – Bush was more driven and am­bi­tious than his mod­est per­son­al­ity of­ten sug­gested – there is al­most noth­ing in com­mon be­tween the two men.

Whereas one was gra­cious and mod­est, the other is ar­ro­gant and vain. One was pru­dent, the other brash. One de­pend­able, the other un­hinged.

Bush’s death should be a mo­ment to re­mem­ber a re­spect­ful po­lit­i­cal or­der when re­la­tions with tra­di­tional al­lies were more cor­dial than com­bat­ive and when govern­ment at­tracted peo­ple of tal­ent and in­tegrity for whom pub­lic ser­vice of­fered a pur­pose higher than self-en­rich­ment.

Bush is now rightly seen as one of the most un­der­rated pres­i­dents in re­cent his­tory.

His­to­ri­ans will al­most cer­tainly treat him more kindly than the vot­ers ever did.

Some­how I don’t think we’ll be do­ing the same when the cur­rent in­cum­bent of the White House meets his maker.

Where Bush did suc­ceed, he did so on a huge, and of­ten global scale

>Don­ald Trump and first lady Me­la­nia Trump pay their re­spects to for­mer Pres­i­dent Ge­orge HW Bush as he lies in state in the US Capi­tol

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