The last in former Telegraph Keich Whicker's dispatches from Texas A & M, where former President George H. W. Bush spoke this week.
U.N. full of talk:
Bush said NATO is the only real way to do multilateral actions overseas, because “The UN can’t fight its way out of a wet paper bag.”
The former president, who represented the United States at the UN in the 1970s, said he couldn’t remember that body accomplishing much of anything the entire time he was there, because all it did was talk.
Kuwait or Bust:
Bush said he would have used military force to liberate Kuwait regardless whether he received Congressional support.
The vote to approve Desert Storm was close, the president recalled, and one that largely broke along party lines. Bush said many friends he had across the aisle disappointed him, because they voted against the war for purely political reasons.
In one striking example, he recalled how Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) told him that if the Congress voted against the war and Bush went into Kuwait anyway, he would be impeached by the U.S. Senate.
“I told him, ‘Well, you do what you have to do,’” said Bush, who stressed that he believed he had the legal authority to liberate Kuwait without Congressional approval. After the war ended successfully, Bush said many of the lawmakers who had initially opposed the military intervention told him that he had done the right thing.
Bush, who served as an ambassador to China early in his political career, is incredibly bullish on U.S./Sino relations. No other international relationship is as important, he stressed.
“China is incredibly important to the United States and the United States is incredibly important to China,” he said. “The relationship is fundamentally important.”
Contrasting the China of Mao Zedong to the “huge evolution” the country has made since the totalitarian leader’s death, Bush said the Eastern giant is “very different” these days than it was when he was stationed there.
“They’re emerging, they’re strong and they’re honorable people,” he said.
He chastised critics of China, many of which exist in his own party, for not seeing the big picture. Americans need to ignore anti-Chinese propaganda and “stay involved” with the country.
“The rhetoric has to change and the level of understanding has to change,” he said.
Keich is the one standing. Image courtesy Keich Whicker.