During George H. W. Bush’s single term in the White House, the Berlin Wall fell and Germany reunified peacefully, the Warsaw Pact dissolved, the Soviet Union crumbled and the Cold War ended. The American military ejected Manuel Noriega from Panama and liberated Kuwait from Saddam Hussein. The United States emerged as the world’s preeminent power after four decades of superpower standoff.
This outcome was the product of both long historical forces and key actors, including Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. But it was not inevitable.
As the world order shifted dramatically, George H. W. Bush steered the ship of state with experience, expertise and—though it launched a million gibes—prudence. America emerged from his tenure stronger than before, with its adversaries weakened or transformed. “I’m certainly not seen as visionary,” he wrote in his diary. “But I hope I’m seen as steady and prudent and able.” That oft-mocked prudence was key to Bush’s success.
Read the full article in The Atlantic.
More from CNAS
PodcastDiscussing Turkey’s Offensive Against the Kurds in Syria with Nick Heras
The United States’ withdrawal and the Turkish military’s incursion into the Kurdish-controlled northeast have completely changed the balance of power in Syria. Without America...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Jim Townsend & Nicholas Heras
VideoAndrea Kendall-Taylor Appears on Andrea Mitchell Reports
In her weekly press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi identified a number of President Trump's policies that she characterized as helpful to Russian President Vladimir Pu...
By Andrea Kendall-Taylor
CommentaryThe Nonintervention Delusion
Richard Fontaine addresses the most frequently expressed concerns about U.S. military interventions and concludes that the use of military force will remain a key component of...
By Richard Fontaine
VideoKaleigh Thomas on Trump's withdrawal from Syria
Middle East security expert Kaleigh Thomas discusses the aftermath of President Trump withdrawing from Syria. Listen to the full conversation and more in CTV News....
By Kaleigh Thomas