As Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful armed force in a world
plagued by small military crises, the question ultimately becomes: when does a
crisis call for intervention? From 1988 to 1992, this was President George
Bush's dilemma. The days of the United States fearing embroilment in
international affairs due to the towering menace of the USSR and global
destruction ended at about the same time as Bush ascended the Presidency.
However, with the threat of the USSR gone, the importance of small scale
conflicts had taken priority in maintaining world peace. Further, the fall of
communism had left the United States with a leading role in world politics. In
that position, with a powerful armed force behind it, the United States carried
the heavy responsibility of how and why to use it's new found eminence. That
responsibility fell onto the shoulders of Mr. George Bush as the first American
President to sit in that exalted position. His actions would determine the
United States' place in the new world order and set the path that future
Presidents would have to carefully tread.
The world order that President Bush inherited was of a vastly different
character then that of all his predecessors. The Cold War environment that the
world had just left behind had provided a clear framework for national security
policy and the use of the US military. The environment that Bush walked into was
an environment filled with disagreement and confusion over the new framework
with which the US should operate. It was also an environment with which the
role of Congress was almost eliminated as President Bush continually authorized
military operations without the full consent of Congress. It was an environment
where the executive held the power to use the military based on his own intent.
During his term in the Presidency, George Bush was confronted with many
opportunities to demonstrate... [continues]
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