U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush (R) passed away late Friday night.
Bush was the 41st president of the United States and served from 1989 to 1993.
Prior to his service as President, he was elected Vice President in 1980 and 1984, serving with President Ronald W. Reagan (R). The twelve consecutive years of Republican control of the White House was the longest period of one party control of the Presidency since Democrats held the office from 1933 to 1953 under Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.
Bush ran for re-election as President in 1992, losing to then Arkansas Governor William J. “Bill” Clinton (D). Billionaire independent candidate Ross Perot finished a strong third in the election.
Bush’s presidency is best remembered for it’s foreign policy. Maps, military alliances, and whole national economies changed during the Bush presidency. On Nov. 9, 1989 the Berlin Wall, which along with deadly force, had kept the people of East Berlin from fleeing to the freedom of West Berlin. Warsaw Pact nation after Warsaw Pact nation broke ties with their Soviet overlords and the USSR pulled its military forces out of Eastern Europe, which they had occupied since World War II. The Soviet Union collapsed and divided into 15 Republics, the largest of which is Russia, after 74 years of unprecedented human suffering under its failed communist economic ideology. The fall of the Soviet Union ended the Cold War, which had dominated global affairs since the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945, and greatly diminished the threat of nuclear war, which had been a very realistic threat from the mid 1950s to that point in time.
George Bush was the President during the First Gulf War, in which the United States and its allies freed Kuwait from the Iraqi Dictator Saddam Hussein who had invaded the country and threatened to invade oil rich Saudi Arabia. That war began a series of U.S. involvements in military actions, occupations, and all out wars in the Middle East that has continued all the way to the present day.
Bush was also President when the U.S. invaded Panama to remove the unstable narco-dictator, Manuel Noriega. While Noriega was removed, narco terrorists and drug cartels continue to destabilize much of Latin America to the present. Yugoslavia began its disintegration during the Bush presidency and Nelson Mandela was released from his long captivity in South Africa. Racial Apartheid ended in South Africa during the Bush Presidency. While China adopted tremendous free market reforms that transformed the economy, the Chinese Communist Party bucked the Democracy trend of the 1980s when pro-Democracy supporters were massacred in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989 by the Chinese Army. Bush condemned the slaughter of peaceful Democracy activists; but the Chinese Communist Party has maintained its iron grip on power to this day.
Bush was a successful businessman, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, and a former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency before becoming President. While RNC Chairman Bush asked President Richard M. Nixon (R) to resign.
The media and his political opponents often portrayed Bush as a “wimp.” The political cartoonist Gary Trudeau even famously drew Bush as completely invisible. The portrayal had little to do with reality. The real George H. W. Bush was six foot two one hundred and ninety five pounds, flew combat missions for the Navy against the Japanese in World War II, was captain of the Yale baseball team, and celebrated birthdays jumping out of planes with a parachute, solo at age 75 and in tandem as recently as age 90.
Bush was the father of the Governor of Florida, Jeb Bush (R) and the Governor of Texas, George W. Bush (R). Gov. George W. Bush was elected President in 2000 and re-elected in 2004.
President George W. Bush said in a statement, “Jeb, Neil, Marvin, Doro, and I are saddened to announce that after 94 remarkable years, our dear Dad has died. George H. W. Bush was a man of the highest character and the best dad a son or daughter could ask for. The entire Bush family is deeply grateful for 41’s life and love, for the compassion of those who have cared and prayed for Dad, and for the condolences of our friends and fellow citizens.”
He was preceded in death by his wife, Barbara Bush, who died in April.