Assessing the George W. Bush Presidency: A Tale of Two Terms

Assessing the George W. Bush Presidency: A Tale of Two Terms

Assessing the George W. Bush Presidency: A Tale of Two Terms

Assessing the George W. Bush Presidency: A Tale of Two Terms


In one of the first volumes to assess the full term of the George W. Bush presidency, Andrew Wroe and Jon Herbert join together the work of leading American and European scholars into fifteen succinct and incisive chapters.

Contributors such as Jim Pfiffner, Jim McCormick, Graham Wilson, and Alan Gitelson account for the Bush administration's successes and failures, paying particular attention to Bush's foreign policy, the repercussions of the Bush Doctrine, and his policies regarding trade and homeland security. Essays investigate the president's domestic economic and social policies, as well as his dealings with other institutions within the U. S. political system. The result is a comprehensive guide to the Bush presidency and legacy.


Andrew Wroe and Jon Herbert

George W. Bush left office on 20 January 2009. Many, perhaps most, observers thought the country and world inherited by Barack Obama were considerably less safe and prosperous than those Bush had inherited eight years earlier. While most presidents, even two-term ones, leave office with their reputations damaged, they rarely achieve the level of opprobrium that clung to President Bush. Americans, in a multitude of different polls, consistently rated him as one of the country’s worst post-war presidents – and not without reason.


Bush started, and failed to end, wars and civil wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, at great human, financial and geopolitical cost. Tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars were expended in a hitherto unsuccessful attempt to rid the world of “terror”. Indeed, many commentators and politicians, including Bush’s successor in the White House, suggested that the war on terror was itself a primary motivating factor radicalising elements, particularly fundamentalist Islamists, already hostile to the United States, thus making the world a more dangerous and unstable place. Even outside the two main arenas of conflict, the security situation deteriorated in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The United Kingdom, Spain, Russia and its satellites, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, China and Egypt, among others, experienced large and deadly terrorist attacks after the instigation of the war on terror. The Israel–Palestine conflict, both a cause and consequence of instability and hostility, erupted again in 2008 with great loss of life. During Bush’s tenure, governments friendly to the . . .

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