Newsmax: A True Statesman, President Bush Helmed US as Sole Superpower

On the morning when the world discovered President Bush had passed away, I received an email from an old friend who I fought many political battles alongside. He informed me that the death of the president had stirred up dreams and remembrances. He asked if I recalled how great the 1988 campaign was, and how equally bad 1992 was. I had remembered it the same.
There have been countless articles and eulogies given for President Bush. Many of these rightly list off the numerous domestic and foreign policy accomplishments of the president who justly deserves to be considered the most qualified person for the Oval office since James Monroe.

Two items are often omitted from these acts of homage.

The first is that although many list his foreign policy achievements, they forget that at the grand strategic level Bush becomes the first president to deal with and manage the United States as the sole superpower. When the history of American grand strategy is written, it will need to start its chapter on the Pax Americana with George Herbert Walker Bush. This is greater than the singular parts of American foreign policy, even the Gulf War. In fact, you can’t have the successful transition of the USSR to Russia, the capture of Manuel Noriega, or the defeat of Saddam Hussein without Bush being first at the helm of the most powerful country to ever appear on the planet.

The second omission is the atmosphere of the 1988 campaign which made him president.

The 1988 presidential campaign was the first campaign where I, as a university student, held an executive position in Wisconsin. I was able to experience life as an “advance man” in addition to coordinating volunteers, phone banks, yard signs, and leaflet drops. This was still the golden age of retail politics before the internet age and the dubious and dark promises of social media. You either had a ground game, or you did not even bother.

My first encounter with the future president was at the Sheraton Hotel where I had to briefly act as a go-between from a Bush-adoring fan base to the Secret Service. They were naturally more nervous being in Madison, Wisconsin, which according to urban legend had an unofficial competition with San Francisco for the number of death threats against prominent politicians. President Bush was everything that many have recounted: generous, affable, awkward, and above all gentlemanly. Although Dukakis would carry the state 51 percent to 47 percent, this loss was tempered by both the popular vote and Electoral College landslide for President Bush nationally. Those of us in the heartland knew we had given it our all, and the right man won in the end.

The strangest aspect of the campaign, and one that enraged those of us on the team, more than the man himself, was the attacks by a minority of Republicans and many Democrats that Bush was “a wimp.” It was shocking, insulting, and appalling for two fundamental reasons. First, many of those accusing him of being said “wimp” had done nothing courageous or brave or sacrificial in their own lives. Second, was how far off the mark it was from the reality of the former young navy pilot, and recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism. However, similar to Bob Dole and John McCain, Bush refused to exploit his wartime heroics, much to the consternation of the various campaign staffs. I remember phone banks where we would sometimes have the “wimp” or “silver spoon” factor thrown in our faces. The media de jour, the proto-fake-news media, had embellished both. As the campaign went on, it was clear that the more a voter knew about George Bush, the more that voter liked him, and better yet, respected him. Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson stated in his memoir that Bush had a common touch, and had once told him to, “Never forget where you came from, Tommy.” Bush never forgot that where he came from was from a family devoted to service above self.

Sometimes Bush was accused of being a Patrician, but this was a strength, not a curse. The patrician class was what made Rome a Republic and ensured Rome’s greatest traditions and laws. If that is what the accusers were getting at, it was a losing battle.

Perhaps his real strength, which was somewhat of a curse when faced with a biased media was that he was not a politician. He was a statesman.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 4 December, 2018.

Newsmax: The Troika of Tyranny Is the New Axis of Evil

When President Bush gave the State of the Union speech in 2002, it was one of those magnificent historical events in the Anglosphere. It hearkened back to President Reagan’s Westminster speech and Churchill’s Battle of Britain Speech.

This State of the Union speech was the formal declaration of war against the post-cold war threats of the 21st century emphasizing the president’s declaration that he would not wait for threats to materialize before taking action. In that speech, President Bush coined the term, “the axis of evil,” referring to the three regimes that fit this evil definition, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. Thus, under the Bush Doctrine, American foreign policy was moved from simply pursuing Al Qaeda to a worldwide crusade against the combined forces of extremism and WMDs. The speech set out the premise of the Bush Doctrine: preemption, prevention, and the ‘non-negotiable’ demand for liberty fulfilled by American primacy.

President Bush clearly affirmed, “States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world.”

In 2010, the “Axis of Resistance” was declared by Iran, Syria, and Hamas, the very entities that drink at the same evil wellspring that President Bush warned against.

The United States hit back forcefully this month when National Security Adviser John Bolton proclaimed his “Troika of Tyranny” speech at the Freedom Tower in Miami, calling out Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. Bolton, who also referred to this grouping as the triangle of terror declared: “In Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, we see the perils of poisonous ideologies left unchecked and the dangers of domination and suppression… This Troika of Tyranny, this triangle of terror stretching from Havana to Caracas to Managua, is the cause of immense human suffering, the impetus of enormous regional instability, and the genesis of a sordid cradle of communism in the Western Hemisphere.”

Regarding Cuba, Bolton emphasized the need for free elections, assembly, expression, freeing of political prisoners, and the legalization of political parties. The atrocities committed by the Cuban communist regime can’t be forgotten or ignored. Despite, and in spite of, the Obama administration’s willingness to sacrifice human rights on the altar of left-wing romantic notions concerning murderers like Che Guevara. Bolton condemned both Venezuela and Nicaragua for continued repression, violence, election fraud, and setting their countries on a path of economic ruin.

The media has focused primarily on two issues. One, they claimed, was a cynical attempt to help Republicans in Florida by pandering to Cuban-American voters. Second, was for some media outlets to highlight Bolton’s criticisms, while engaging in apologetics for the same regimes. What is lost is a historical context.

Cuba was the epicenter of Soviet operations against its own people and the United States during the Cold War. Cuban Intelligence, the DGI, was and is the main arm of terror not only inside of Cuba but also abroad. It is one of those amazing examples of an arm of the state acting like a terrorist organization. Cuba is notorious for its labor camps, torture, and murder of its own population, the destruction of churches, the imprisonment of pastors, and an overarching tyranny that has attempted to destroy the spirit of the Cuban people. Venezuela and Nicaragua are only “better” by degree. Both governments have engaged in torture, brutality, election fraud, false imprisonment, executions, the use and pay of mobs to engage in violence against political opponents, destruction of the rule of law, the confiscation of private property, and persecution. Amnesty International reports that the Venezuelan government alone has murdered over 8,000 people from 2015 to 2017.

Where is the media outcry about this? Why divert attention to discussing Floridian congressional midterm elections while such human rights atrocities are occurring?

National Security Advisor Bolton made a bold and dynamic statement in line with the noblest expressions of American foreign policy. Americans should rally to this, and condemn real evil when we see it.

This piece originally ran on Newsmax on 19 November, 2018.