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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M Aggies guard Tyrece Radford (23) blocks Arkansas Razorbacks guard Tramon Mark (12) during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Free falling
February 20, 2024
Jace LaViolette (17) an Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle celebrating a home run during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
GALLERY: Baseball vs. UIW
February 20, 2024
Texas A&M Aggies guard Tyrece Radford (23) blocks Arkansas Razorbacks guard Tramon Mark (12) during Texas A&M’s game against Arkansas on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024, at Reed Arena. (Ishika Samant/The Battalion)
Free falling
February 20, 2024
Jace LaViolette (17) an Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle celebrating a home run during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
GALLERY: Baseball vs. UIW
February 20, 2024

Bush becomes first American to receive Schuman Medal

President George H.W. Bush will be the first American to receive the European Schuman Medal on Monday for his actions at the close of the Cold War.
The Schuman Medal is awarded by the European People’s Party to public figures who have advanced the cause of peace. Bush will join Pope John Paul II, current European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and other heads of state as recipients of the award.
“I think because of the passage of time and world history, the younger generation forgets the role that President Bush, and other presidents, have played in critical moments,” said Andrew Natsios, director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs and an executive professor at the Bush School. “And one of those critical moments was this month 25 years ago when the Soviet Empire in Eastern Europe collapsed, and the Berlin Wall came down.”
Bush’s decisions during these critical events made him the first American recipient of the Schuman Medal, said Ryan Crocker, Bush School dean and executive professor.
According to a press release, the Schuman Medal began in 1986 and is named after Robert Schuman, a French statesmen widely considered as the European Union’s founder.
Bush will receive his medal during the “25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall at the Liberation of Eastern Europe” conference. The actions of Bush and other foreign officials will be evaluated by scholars from around the world at the conference.
The Berlin Wall’s fall and the way it was managed was a seminal event of the 20th century, Crocker said. If Bush had not handled it as he did, the world could look very different today.
“There was a famous press conference he gave in the Oval Office, all of his national security cabinet were there, it was in the Oval Office, everyone is seated. No big deal out there in the Rose Garden, no bands and so forth,” Crocker said. “It was just about a historic moment in history about our cooperation and coordination with Russia, which we intended to carry forward with a new order. If it had been handled as a moment of triumphalism, again you can’t predict what didn’t happen, but I can imagine a scenario in which the Russian military would have overthrown Gorbachev, and they came very close, unsuccessfully. “
When it came to the Berlin Wall and handling international affairs, Bush was able to avoid an outright war, Natsios said.
“Typically, when empires fall there are wars, international wars, and this is a very unique [situation] historically for this not to happen. It was handled in an extraordinarily skillful way by the president,” Natsios said. “If we had humiliated the Russians, than it would be different.”
Bush’s decisions and actions during this time also impacted many individuals personally, said Don Bailey, assistant director at the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs.
“As a retired army colonel, I spent half of my career focused on fighting the Russians in eastern block countries, and George H.W. Bush is one of my heroes next to my dad,” Bailey said. “Because of him we did not have to go to war, we never fired a shot. People think that World War II was big or the two Iraq wars are big, they have absolutely no idea how big a war with the Russian and eastern block countries would have been.”
The medal will be presented at 6 p.m. Monday in the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center.

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