This paper is an adaptation of an earlier one I delivered on the Cameroon National Radio Station on the 24th of November 2004, at the time American troops, supported by allies, and invaded Iraq. The paper was one of the daily political commentaries I delivered on the 6.30 a.m. prime time national and world news on Cameroon Radio Television (CRTV), Yaounde, between 2002 and 2005.
Like him or loathe him, when the history of contemporary America is written, it will incontestably be stated that George Walker Bush was a man who firmly broke new ground. He was clear, unambiguous and decisive in his policies, especially his foreign policy. For instance, he unequivocally termed the group of “enemy” countries in which he included Iran and North Korea and Iraq as “the axis of evil”. He remained implacable even when confronted with what one might regard as “obvious” wrongfulness such as the yet-to-be-found weapons of mass destruction over which he waged a war against the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
It is to be recalled that although he did not succeed him directly and immediately, George Walker Bush became President of the United States of America after his own father had held the same post. This coincidence reminds me of the two William Pitts, both of them having been Prime Ministers of Britain, the son getting there after the father. It was therefore very befitting that my teacher of British History in high school, Mr.(today Dr.) Anthony Ndi, once gave us an assignment that ran thus; “William Pitt the Younger was not just a chip off the old block, but the old block itself. Discuss”.
Even so, as a politician, George Walker Bush proved to be very different from his father, George Herbert Bush. The former was rash, fiery and uncompromising, whereas the latter in his time at the helm of affairs, was calculating, levelheaded and flexible. Surely, discussing the two presidents from an astrological perspective will be something of a challenge because although an Air sign (Gemini), Bush Senior exuded calmness, while Bush Junior, although a Water sign (Cancer), displayed something of the ferocity of the Aries ram.
George Walker Bush undoubtedly has his own share of detractors. For instance, one observer referred to him as: “a former alcoholic and functional illiterate who has won re-election and will retain his office as 43rd President of the United States of America, despite a proven inability to pronounce the word, “nuclear”. Nonetheless, to be fair to Bush Jnr., we ought to recall Dan Quayle who while visiting an elementary school as Vice President of the United States, took the pains to add the letter “e” to a pupil’s spelling of the word, “potato”, although the word was not in the plural and therefore did not necessitate the additional “e”. As a result of that gaffe on the part of Dan Quayle, William Figueroa, the student who had written the word became an instant star not just in America but worldwide because he had beaten the President of the United States in a spelling contest.
Another commentator wrote that George Walker Bush beat his opponent (Al Gore) at the presidential election through ”fear-mongering and the time-honored tradition of banking on American stupidity.” Some detractors have even gone as far as endangering their lives in order to show their disapproval for the American President. For example, after Bush was declared winner of the presidential election, a man is said to have killed himself on the site where the twin towers of New York had stood before they were struck down by suicide planes driven by agents of Al- Quaeda leader, Usama Bin Laden. Shortly after, another man is said to have set himself alight at one of the entrances to the White House, the official residence of the American President, while shouting, “Allah! Allah!”
Whatever is the case, George Walker Bush is very likely to take it very much in his stride, since he is no stranger to controversy. One only has to look at the conditions under which he beat Democratic Presidential Candidate, Al Gore. As we know, his foreign policy, especially as it concerns the war in Iraq, created enemies for him and greatly divided America. Even so, after serving his first term as president, and despite his abrasive nature, the American people still trusted him with a second mandate. Perhaps that is America, the World’s Number One country at its best – or its worse, depending on how you look at it.
Whether you call George Walker Bush an icon, a die-hard maverick, a political dinosaur, an invincible sphinx, or even a modern day Spartan or simply the great survivor, what is undeniable is that he is in a class of his own. With a degree in history and an MBA from the prestigious Harvard University of the United States of America, he is unique in being a president whose father was a president and whose grandfather was a senator. He is the first American President to have appointed a Black man, Colin Powell, and later a Black woman, Dr. Condoleeza Rice, to the key post of Secretary of State, a coveted and prestigious position which can be likened to that of Prime Minister in countries that have prime ministers. George Walker Bush is the first modern day president to have demanded that the situation of immigrants in America be reviewed so immigrants in irregular situations could regularize their situation and be in a position to take up jobs in America.
In fact, it seems there is no limit to how far the former fighter pilot could go to do what he believed in. A case in point is the incident that happened at a reception in Santiago (Chile) in 2004, when the President personally stepped in to break up a scuffle between his bodyguard and Chilean security men who were stopping the guard from getting into the hall. This was during the Asia Pacific Summit that was held in the Chilean capital in that year.
The least one can say about the unstoppable George Walker Bush is to paraphrase Former President Ronald Reagan who once said: “You ain`t seen nothing yet”
Tikum Mbah Azonga