chapter  5
42 Pages

The Bush Administration

WithRichard A. Melanson

The irony was that neither Vice-President George Bush, who otherwise tried to wrap himself in the Ronald Reagan mantle, nor Michael Dukakis, his Democratic opponent in 1988, would acknowledge Reagan’s claim. Indeed, this was the last campaign of the Cold War—backward-looking, cautious, issueless, and filled with the symbols of patriotism, crime, and race. The Bush team spent most of 1989 attempting to shape a strategy for a world turning upside down. The imminent end of the Cold War era proved positively unsettling to some old hands, who had grown almost fond of its predictability. The Bush administration desired instead a superpower relationship immune to exaggerated fears and unfulfilled hopes. Certainly the administration’s response to the pro-democracy movement in China smacked of Cold War geopolitics. As student demonstrations mounted in size and intensity during the spring of 1989 the Bush team openly worried about the stability of the Chinese government.