George Herbert Walker Bush (GHWB) the 41st president of the United States (US) died recently at the age of 94. I was in the US when he was elected vice president and then president and I was also in the US four years later when he lost the presidential election to William Jefferson (Bill) Clinton. No, I did not have a vote so I did not vote for him or against him. But I did live in the US through much of the time when he came up the Republican Party ladder. He was a congressman from Texas, US ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, the first head of the US ‘liaison office’ in China, head of the Central Intelligence Agency, a losing presidential candidate, vice president under President Ronald Reagan for eight years and then a one term US president (1988-92). During the funeral services for him, GHWB was eulogized as an honest and decent man and as a true American patriot. He was all that from the US perspective but there were many who did not think too well of him especially when he was president. As I thought back to the life and times of GHWB at least as I remember him, there are a few things that do stand out.The first time I paid attention to him was when he was appointed to head the ‘liaison office’ in Peking (1974). At that time the US did not officially recognise The People’s Republic of China. For most of us from Pakistan, it was a matter of some pride that Pakistan had helped to facilitate relations between the US and China a few years earlier. By the time GHWB first ran for US president in 1980, I had become a little bit more aware and involved in US politics. During that campaign Ronald Reagan emerged as the Republican Party’s candidate for president. What I do remember of that campaign is that during a candidate’s debate GHWB accused Reagan’s economic policy based on ‘supply side economics’ as ‘voodoo economics’. Reagan chose Bush as a running mate and won the elections. Bush served for eight years as Reagan’s vice president but never again brought up voodoo economics.Towards the end of his time as vice president, GHWB insisted that he had no knowledge of the infamous ‘Iran-Contra’ affair or of the famous cake that Reagan sent to the Iranians. It was a complicated matter and many Reagan advisers were indicted. This honest and upright American (GWHB) evidently was not entirely truthful about not knowing anything about the affair. During his presidency the Berlin Wall demolished. The person behind it was USSR’s leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his policy of ‘perestroika’The next time GHWB came into the spotlight was when he ran for president against the Democratic Party nominee, Gov. Michael Dukakis (1988). Of that election two things I remember well. First of course was the infamous, obviously racial ‘Willie Horton’ political ad. Yes this ‘decent’ American used an overt anti-African American ad to suggest that Democrats were pro ‘black’ and thus weak on law and order. On the other side I remember the rather ridiculous picture of a diminutive Dukakis wearing an oversized army helmet standing in a large tank. Just a look at that picture was enough to convince anybody that Dukakis was not going to win.The other memorable thing about that election was GHWB’s statement that he would never raise taxes if elected president. The famous TV clip was that of him saying: “Read my lips”. However, as president he did agree to raise taxes and perhaps went down in his re-election campaign because of that.During his presidency the Berlin Wall came down. The person behind it was Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR’s) leader Mikhail Gorbachev and his policy of ‘perestroika’. Gorbachev must go down in history as the only ‘emperor’ that presided over the dissolution of his own empire. GHWB got credit for being there at the right time.The other image that was sort of burnt into my memory was that of President GHWB throwing up in the lap of the Japanese Prime Minister. It probably was almost as impressive as former US President Jimmy Carter’s confrontation with a killer rabbit. Nevertheless four years of GHWB’s presidency did give the US political conservatism a ‘kinder and gentler’ face. Albeit just a face but still an important face.Then there was something called ‘Desert Storm’ preceded by ‘Desert Shield’. Essentially it was a war led by the US to ‘free’ Kuwait from Iraqi occupation. Almost thirty five countries joined in to help the US. It was the first time I realised that the US ‘free’ media does rally around the flag when it spread the anti-Iraq stories like the one about Iraqi army killing babies in Kuwaiti intensive care units (ICUs). Stories that were subsequently found to untrue.Two important things I remember about that war, first is about the role of the Pakistani army; the then chief of the Pakistan army staff (COAS) declared that the Iraqi National Guard would put up a great resistance to the coalition forces and decided not to send Pakistani troops initially. He was proven wrong. Eventually Pakistan did send its troops and they were kept as far away from the action as possible. Egypt on the other hand, agreed early and had its foreign debt wiped out.The other thing I remember is the US general Norman Schwarzkopf when confronted by a reporter who presented different dismal scenarios said famously that in that case you are going to have a “bad day anyway” or something to that effect.And perhaps the final indignity heaped on Pakistan was when under the ‘Pressler Amendment’ GHWB allowed a ban on aid to Pakistan because he refused to certify that Pakistan did not have an active nuclear program. Of course this happened after the Russians had been beaten in Afghanistan and the US no longer needed Pakistan’s help. However, I don’t hold the sins of Bush 43 against the father.The writer is a former editor of the Journal of Association of Pakistani descent Physicians of North America (APPNA)Published in Daily Times, December 11th 2018.