How George H.W. Bush Set the U.N. Up for Post-Cold War Success—and Failure

President George H.W. Bush, flanked by Secretary of State James A. Baker III, left, and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, March 19, 1992 (AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite).
President George H.W. Bush, flanked by Secretary of State James A. Baker III, left, and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, March 19, 1992 (AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite).
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George Herbert Walker Bush grasped the importance of the United Nations like no other American president before or since. The 41st occupant of the White House, who died last week, was U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in the early 1970s. Yet his main contribution to the institution came at the end of the Cold War. Throughout his single term in office, Bush grappled with the dilemma of how to dismantle the Soviet Union’s empire without sparking a disastrous bust-up with Moscow. He relied on the U.N. to pull off this geopolitical conjuring trick, turning to the Security Council to resolve […]

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