Bush the wise elder

A few years ago, Walter Isaacson described President Bush I:

a great realist who choreographed the end of the Cold War and the prudent execution of the first Gulf War.

While not everything he did was wise or good, Bush I grasped the core principles that were forgotten in the post-Cold War era: the limits of American power, the importance of restraint, the need to temper liberal idealism with tragic realism. And he had the greatest instinct in statecraft – knowing where to stop.

It took the dismal performance of his son, aided by the Washington foreign policy ‘consensus’, and its superb ideas about NATO enlargement, as well as the invasion of Iraq, and the general mirage of American omnipotence, to illuminate the unspectacular wisdom of his father.

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