Bush: A World Reordered
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While on one level prophetic, on another George Bush’s assessment of the international situation could not have been wider of the mark. The year 1989 proved to be the most significant of the post-war era, the point at which all the apparent certainities of the East-West relationship began to unravel in a matter of weeks. But this was not foreseen. ‘I know of no one’, recorded Robert Gates, Bush’s Deputy National Security Advisor, ‘in or out of government who predicted early in 1989 that before the next presidential election Eastern Europe would be free, Germany unified in NATO, and the Soviet Union an artifact of history’ (Gates, 1996). No president since Truman had to respond to such fast-moving events as Bush, something which anyone tempted to see his presidency as something of an interlude between those of his ideologically driven predecessor and his flamboyant successor should remember. Bush won the 1988 election by the comfortable margin of 48,886,097 votes to 41,809,074 over Michael Dukakis. Higher than Reagan’s 1980 total, it was well short of the 54,455,075 who had voted for the Republican team in 1984.
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