GEORGE H. W. BUSH, "A WHOLE EUROPE, A FREE EUROPE" (31 MAY 1989): TEACHING AND LEARNING
speech is in large part a response to Mikhail Gorbachev's drastic reforms
behind the Iron Curtain and his willingness to engage the West more
cooperatively--actions that represented a radical departure from the previous
45 years of the Cold War. In
light of these significant changes, is Bush's response fitting? Should he have responded
differently, perhaps more openly or dramatically? Why or why not?
to his presidency, Bush had served as a WWII fighter pilot, a congressman
from Texas, a diplomat to China, the American ambassador to the United
Nations, the chair of the Republican National Committee, and Ronald Reagan's
vice president. How do you
think each of these roles and experiences impacted his strategy as
president at the end of the Cold War?
Germany was home to a large number of American troops and a stockpile of
NATO nuclear weapons. With
Soviet forces and weapons just across the border in East Germany, West
Germany had long held a unique status as an almost unavoidable nuclear
battleground if the Cold War ever became a hot war. Does Bush address this unique
burden when speaking to West Germans in this speech? How does the status of West Germany
factor into the address?
when presidents speak on foreign policy, they are addressing multiple
audiences at once. These
include, but are not limited to, the American citizenry, foreign allies,
and foreign adversaries, among others. What audiences are targeted in this speech, and in what
ways does Bush address each of them?
was Bush's first visit to Germany as president, and while the goal of his
visit was to increase cohesion between the countries, nowhere in this
address does he mention the highpoints of American-German unity, such as
America's aid through the Marshall Plan or the Berlin Airlift. Why do you think he avoids these
delivered this speech the day after he brokered agreements with other NATO
countries at the 1989 NATO Summit.
There are no indications that he called Congress overnight to
discuss these agreements, so presumably he acted unilaterally, without
congressional approval. Write
a research paper about the constitutional role of the president in foreign
affairs using the events surrounding the NATO Summit and Mainz speech as a
case study. Was Bush acting
Bush delivered this speech, there was a general sense that the Cold War
would soon end peaceably, but there was no guarantee. Search the editorials and op-ed
pieces of major national newspapers, such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post, from May 1-June
1, 1989. How did journalists
respond to Bush's foreign policy strategy? What recommendations did they make, and is there any
indication that Bush followed any of them?
Martin J. Medhurst's introduction to The Rhetorical Presidency of George H. W.
Bush. Reconcile the Mainz
speech with Medhurst's argument about Bush as a
rhetorical president. Ultimately, write a research paper that assesses
Bush's rhetorical presidency.
Fred I. Greenstein's chapter, "The Highly Tactical Leadership of
George H. W. Bush," in Presidential
Difference: Leadership Style from FDR to George W. Bush. Here Greenstein examines the
overall Bush presidency under the rubric of his "public
communication," "organizational capacity," "political
skill," "vision," "cognitive style," and "emotional
intelligence." Based on
Greenstein's characterization of Bush, perform a similar examination of
Bush at the 1989 NATO Summit and at Mainz.
- If we
were to name a "George H. W. Bush Doctrine" based on the
principles of this speech--namely, to proceed slowly, cautiously, and
cooperatively in world affairs--how would that compare with the "Bush
Doctrine" attributed to his son, which emphasizes acting unilaterally
if necessary, and has in practice proceeded quickly and with elements of "shock
and awe?" What are the
advantages and disadvantages of these fundamentally different "doctrines?" Is one better than the other?
Address these issues in a research paper.
two recent news articles and two recent opinion pieces about NATO's role
in the world. How has NATO's
mission changed since the end of the Cold War? Is it still relevant today? What role should it play in contemporary international
is the current status and role of the American military in Western
Europe? How has it changed
since 1989? When did these
when making a speech largely about military and foreign policy matters,
Bush called specific attention to issues related to the environment. Find out what you can about
concerns over the environment in terms of contemporary American military
and foreign policy endeavors.
Should greater attention be given to the environment? Why or why not?
what extent is Europe "whole and free" today? Draft a speech relevant for today's
international milieu, wherein you call for greater cohesion between the United
States and European countries.
an Internet search and identify groups that exist to lobby the government
on issues related to American nuclear weapons and/or military policy. What are the primary issues these
groups are concerned with?
it be possible for the current War on Terror to "end" as the
Cold War did? How does
dealing with individuals and groups, instead of states, make this conflict
different? Do any current
political figures (the president, presidential candidates, members of
Congress, etc.) or political pundits have a vision for how the War on
Terror could end? Locate from
opinion columns and from presidential, congressional, and candidate
websites as many positions as you can find about this particular issue.