George H.W. Bush dead at 94. RIP.


#41

He’ll probably just steal a bunch of office supplies and clog the toilet.


#42

"Dear Pocahontas,

“You have to jiggle the handle in the second floor john. Also, RIGGED!”


#43

While I admit Obama (and Bush 2) began their presidencies under terrible conditions (recession and 9-11), I think Obama was only middling when it came to foreign relations.


#44

I agree, it wasn’t his focus or his expertise, and the “Red Line” in particular was rather weak. There’s no doubt both Russia and China progressed at our expense. He gets higher ratings for his domestic policy.

Although if we compare him on foreign policy vs. other presidents in the past 50 years who does better?

George HW clearly. He’s really tops in my mind.

George W was a complete disaster.
Trump is a disaster.
Reagan had the advance into Lebanon followed by retreating with his tail between his legs.
Clinton has to take responsibility for Somalia and for the Balkan’s. Also I’d put “losing post-communist Russia far more his responsbility than George HWs).
Carter was bad, although I’d say he was still better than George W or Trump.


#45

I’d argue the trouble is far more fundamental.

The US does not have a clearly defined international policy objective. Which leads us to get involved when we shouldn’t, not get involved when we should, and generally muck around in foreign nations for some vaguely defined interest.

We talk up principles like promoting democracy, then support dictators or juntas and overthrow governments not sufficiently friendly (mostly, but not always, in the context of Cold War mentalities). We use force without the groundwork to create a stable situation.

The reality is that US foreign policy is a mess, and it is a mess because we as a nation refuse to do the nessecary to look at our involvements, alliances, deployments and see if we are really using he best methods to achieve a particular goal. Which allows us a Trump, who trashed our NATO allies, while slobbering over the Saudis. When in a rational accounting we would be taking a seriously hard look at whether we should behave such close friendly relations with them.

So weak foreign policy is the reality because the nation doesn’t really have a foreign policy, at least not in the long term objectives sense. We flit from one engagement to the other, looking only as far as the now.

I’m too young to remember Bush Sr’s foreign policy, really I only recall the broad strokes like the first Iraq war. So it is completely plausible to me that his foreign policy would be the best in my lifetime. Because it was the last time there seemed to be any coherent long term plan. Once the USSR was gone, it became transactional.

So I agree that foreign policy has been weak, and we are long overdue for a reckoning and reconsidering what we are, what our place in the world is, and what the future we want is.


#46

Best thing I read on twitter today an excellent summary of 41’s legacy.


#47

Carter had Camp David, at least.

I think Obama was hoping the Arab Spring would pan out a bit more like 1989 than it actually did. His handling of Afghanistan was… I don’t even know. What a mess that is. I imagine he did his best. His reliance on drone strikes prosecuted the “war on terror” effectively only at the cost of blowing up a few civilians and pissing off lefties (like me).

The Iran deal was a real achievement immediately undone by idiotic successors. Democracy sometimes resembles a drunken man’s walk. The electorate, in its ineffable wisdom, elects one man for two terms and then follows it up by electing another man who has expressly vowed to dismantle all of his predecessor’s achievements.


#48

I mean I feel like central America would question HW’s supposed foreign policy bonafides y’all are so eager to prop up while lionizing yet another in a long line of American war criminals responsible for untold death and destruction south of the border over the last 70-odd years…

See, look, I was even polite enough to wait a full day before commencing the grave shitting.

Mind, hard to keep my mouth shut through all of World AIDS Day on the matter of ol HW, but civility, right?


#49

Despite coming from a rich family, he enlisted in the Navy when he was a kid, flew 58 combat missions, most of them after he had already been shot down once.

What have you done?


#50

In Armando’s defense, it is possible to both be a war hero and enact bad policy.


#51

Indeed, history suggests the one causes the other.


#52

As probably one of the few veterans here at Qt3, I’m not too fond of this approach. He wasn’t criticizing his service, but his policies as president. Was he harsh? Yes. Was he entirely wrong? I’m not so sure of that. US policy toward S and Central America over the last 35-40+ years is hardly something to be proud of. Yes, there’s more to HW’s foreign policy than just the Americas, and it’s probably hard to find any example of regional neighbors with such a vast disparity in economic and military power throughout history replete with benevolent fairness with which to shame modern America for its policies toward our southern neighbors, but that said trying to hand-wave away these criticisms by deflection over military service, or the lack thereof, is a piss-poor argument to use.


#53

So anyone who served in the military is beyond criticism? Fuck that.


#54

Or you’re not allowed to criticism them if you haven’t.


#55

Again, he put this life on the line, 58 times, to save the world from the fucking Axis powers. And he didn’t have to do that. He was rich. He could have gotten out of it, easy.

So yeah, he’s better than most of us.

He was the President. He did a lot of stuff. Some of it you might not like. Some of it resulted in the deaths of folks. The same goes for literally every president who ever held the office. Every single one. When you are the leader of the free world, you are making bigger choices than anyone else is faced with.

But all that policy is separate from the man himself.

And George H. W. Bush was by all accounts a good and honorable man, who dedicated his life to the rest of us through service to his country. That deserves respect. Any policy decision does not erase the fact that, as a young man, he risked his life over and over again to save the world. And that’s not hyperbole. The axis powers represented an existential threat, and bush and the men and women of his generation met it head on.

So yeah, maybe just shut up and acknowledge that they did something that we never did, and may not even be able to do.


#56

Except Armando wasn’t attacking the man, he was taking a poke at the “greatest foreign policy pres of our lifetime” meme. Sure, he was snarky about waiting one day before leveling the criticism, but at least he waited. :)

In that context, HW’s service isn’t relevant, nor is Armando’s.


#57

Well I’ve been up for three hours today and managed to not back any state sponsored terror in Central America or get AIDS victims’ ashes dumped on my front lawn by justifiably furious activists, so I figure I’ve gotta be doing something right.

You’re right: Bush did brave shit I’d never even think about doing. He also oversaw and often even directed some pretty heinous shit that all the fondly remembered nice letters in the world shouldn’t cover up or expunge.

Also, you know, the reasonable responses several others have offered while I was busy not pardoning any of my high ranking buddies this morning :-)


#58

Name a president who didn’t.


#59

What does this have to do with anything?


#60

I think the problem might be here:

Is he better than most of us, or is he just better than most Presidents?