Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush. Photo: Eric Gay/AP/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
e remember former U.S. President George H.W. Bush who passed away on November 30 at the age of 94. A recent Houston Chronicle editorial notes that Bush’s vision, which he “was willing to risk everything to defend, and one still worth pursuing today” is what he called a “New World Order.” This was his “dream, in which world peace would be guaranteed by a cooperative international structure, where small states would not be at the mercy of their neighbors’ territorial ambitions.”
The Chronicle’s editorial continues, noting that even before Bush “President Franklin D. Roosevelt had hoped the creation of the United Nations Security Council would allow countries to act in concert to secure the peace. He and others saw a future where nations were fully integrated into global institutions like the World Trade Organization, World Bank and United Nations … For Bush, it was one where free markets and free people were universally shared values.”
The editorial points out that “that notion of world peace may sound utopian to modern ears, but at the time it seemed within grasp. Humanity had just witnessed the end of an empire [the collapse of the Soviet Union] without a major war, thanks in no small part to Bush’s leadership.”
In Bush’s own words “A hundred generations have searched for this elusive path to peace, while a thousand wars raged across the span of human endeavor. Today that new world is struggling to be born, a world quite different from the one we’ve known. A world where the rule of law supplants the rule of the jungle. […] A world where the strong respect the rights of the weak.”
The late president’s words can clearly resonate with many Filipinos today who face the aggression of a powerful neighbor bent on claiming what an international tribunal very clearly said does not belong to them. A neighbor that uses its military might to coerce and intimidate its smaller and weaker neighbors into submission.
Unlike Bush’s vision of a multilateral world of nations working together for peace. Communist China insists only on unilateral (one-on-one) negotiations. That way, it can use its size and power to force its will on whatever country it is negotiating with.
George H.W. Bush’s passing only highlights how truly fragile freedom and democracy is. If mankind is to move forward and create a truly free, just, and united world, then all nations rich and poor, big and small must work towards that goal. No nation should use the argument that it is just too small, too weak, or too poor, to make a difference. Because if no one acts, then do not be surprised if tyrants and totalitarian regimes dominate the world our sons and daughters will have to live in. Published 12/4/2018