President George H.W. Bush addresses the nation on February 27, 1991 from the White House Oval Office.AP
- The 41st president of the United States, George H.W. Bush, died on November 30 at the age of 94.
- Throughout his political career, he served as the ambassador to the United Nations, vice president to President Ronald Reagan, and served one term as the president of the United States from 1989-1993.
- Here are some of Bush’s key political moments.
George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States, died on November 30 at the age of 94.
Bush served first as vice president to Ronald Reagan from 1981-1989 before being elected as president in 1989 and serving one term.
An economic recession and a heavy federal budget debt hindered him from enacting great progress in domestic affairs during his presidency, but he still made a number of notable moves within the country’s border as well as outside of it.
Here are some of the former president’s key moments during his political career.
When Iraq’s Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, Bush responded on behalf of the U.S. with Operation Desert Storm.
Aircrafts fly over Kuwait’s burning oil wells following Desert Storm’s deployment.AP
Convinced that Kuwait was stealing crude oil from their shared border, Hussein ordered the invasion of the country in 1990. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia turned to NATO (National Atlantic Treaty Organization) members, including the U.S., for aid.
Operation Desert Storm was an air offensive that sparked the Persian Gulf War of 1991. U.S. troops, as well as those from other nations, launched attacks on Iraqi forces for 42 days before Bush declared a cease-fire. Most Iraqi troops had either surrendered or fled, making Operation Desert Storm a success in initially fending off Iraqi forces.
Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as START l, on July 31, 1991.
Bush, vice president at the time, and Gorbachev in 1987.J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Much of Bush’s time and work in office helped foster better US-Soviet relations, and START I was no exception.
The treaty helped regulate strategic nuclear weapons in both countries, with a goal of limiting arsenals by about 35%. By the time START I expired in 2010 and was replaced with a new version, arsenals on both sides were much lower than specified in the treaty.
Source: History and NTI
In 1989, Bush deployed Operation Just Cause in Panama to overthrow the nation’s dictator, Manuel Noriega.
Panama City in 1990.Charles Bennett/AP
Noriega had been indicted by the U.S. for drug trafficking and money laundering. The U.S. also accused him of suppressing democracy when he annulled a presidential election in Panama in 1989.
After an off-duty U.S. Marine was shot and killed by Noriega’s Panamanian troops, Bush authorized Operation Just Cause, which led to a total of 21,000 U.S. troops defeating Noriega and his forces after just four days.
Bush was mostly praised for his work in foreign affairs, but a few noteworthy moves on his part during his presidency were made within the country’s borders.
Like the Americans with Disabilities Act he signed in 1990.
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is an equal opportunity law for people with disabilities. It prohibits discrimination and ensures that those with disabilities are guaranteed the same opportunities as everyone else in the workplace and in society.
We have the ADA to thank for things like bigger public bathroom stalls and lower drinking fountains.
It was modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Many declared the act the “Emancipation Proclamation for the disabled.”
Source: History and Wheelchair Travel and CNN
He also signed amendments to the Clean Air Act in 1990.
Bush after signing the Clean Air Act amendments in 1990.Charles Tasnadi/AP
The changes were made to address four major threats, posed by cars, factories, and the like, to the environment: acid rain, urban air pollution, toxic air emissions, and stratospheric ozone depletion.
For example, one of the provisions stipulates the gradual phaseout of chemicals that damages the earth’s ozone layer. The amendments also included measures that would ensure greater enforcement of the Act.
Source: EPA and EPA
He publicly requested President Nixon to resign following the Watergate Scandal in 1974.
Bush and Nixon at the White House in 1970.John Rous/AP
In 1971, the then-president had appointed Bush as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
In 1974, Bush was serving as the chairman to the Republican Party when details of the Watergate scandal surfaced about the then-president Richard Nixon. A break-in at the Democracti National Committee headquarters was connected to Nixon’s reelection campaign. Burglars wire-tapped phones and stole documents, and Nixon scandalously attempted to cover his involvement in the crime.
Bush formally requested Nixon to resign from the presidency, which he did two days later.
Source: History and History
His policies weren’t without criticism, however.
Operation Desert Storm was a precursor to a long-standing conflict with Iraq that led to a second Gulf War, dubbed the Iraq War, that began in 2003.
And many, including the United Nations, denounced Operation Just Cause, since the attacks violated international laws.
Source: History and Miller Center