Has a piece of the US's past died with Bush Sr.?
Former US president George H. W. Bush has died aged 94. As 41st president of the United States he succeeded Ronald Regan in 1989 - the year the Berlin Wall came down - and shaped Western politics in a time of radical change. While some commentators praise the president's handling of events others point to his mistakes.
The last moderate conservative
Bush was the last Republican president who led a united US, remarks columnist Gerardo Morina in Corriere del Ticino:
“With the death of George Bush, a son of his times, it will be noticeably harder for today's America to remember that in its recent history it experienced an epic phase of moderate conservatism. A phase in which politicians - whether on the right or the left - ultimately shared the same values. They were united by common ethical standards and a Decalogue of views that excluded mutual hatred. Then after Bush Senior, starting with the era of his son George W. Bush who was known for his neoconservative, muscle-driven idealism, the change began that as the years passed led to an extreme radicalisation of the Republican Party. Trump is to some extent a consequence of that.”
The right man at the right time
Bush deserves credit for the decisions he took when the Berlin Wall came down Hospodářské noviny comments:
“In comparison to his emotional predecessor Ronald Reagan Bush had his feet very much on the ground. In November 1989, with the fall of the Berlin Wall - which Reagan had called on Gorabchev to bring about - Bush knew how fragile the world was. In the East the Soviet Union was packed with nuclear weapons and could have exploded at any moment. In the West France and England had cold feet at the thought of a reunited Germany. Bush didn't celebrate, he worked, negotiated, sought compromises. For example when he offered Moscow massive economic aid and convinced Helmut Kohl to pay for the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the GDR. And he remained firm when he saw the need to. For example when he refused Gorbachev's demand that the new Germany should not be part of Nato.”
A failure in the Kuweit crisis
Milliyet is more critical, arguing that the Gulf War sealed Bush Sr.'s fate:
“While the Iraq-Kuwait conflict [in 1990] could clearly have been resolved using diplomatic means the ambassador appointed by Bush ruined everything, and when there were fifty different ways out of Iraq's occupation of Kuwait Bush opted for war. ... Even if this attack aimed at freeing Kuwait from Iraqi occupation didn't last long, with it Bush destroyed the balance of the US economy to such an extent that he had to break his promise not to introduce new taxes. The US entered a period of economic stagnation and regression. ... Daddy Bush was perhaps not as hated and ridiculed as his son. ... But the Americans couldn't put up with him for another four years.”