“A Whole Europe, A Free Europe”

On May 31, 1989 President George H.W. Bush delivered a major address on U.S. foreign policy, “A Whole Europe, A Free Europe.” In that speech, he described his vision of a free and unified Europe, one that would result in lasting peace in the region. More than twenty years later, we still have not realized that vision, and with the recent Russian military intervention in the Ukraine, we seem in danger of returning to the divided and unstable Europe of the Cold War era.

Video courtesy of the George Bush Presidential Library & Museum

The Voices of Democracy unit on President Bush’s speech provides valuable pedagogical resources for stimulating classroom conversations about Russian-Ukrainian relations and the future of European politics. For example, to promote better understanding of international affairs in the classroom, instructors could use this assignment from the teaching and learning materials that accompany Bush’s speech:

Locate two recent news articles and two recent opinion pieces about NATO’s role in the world. How has NATO’s mission changed since the end of the Cold War? Is it still relevant today? What role should it play in contemporary international affairs?

These questions afford an opportunity to discuss the enduring legacy of Bush’s address, along with questions about possible responses to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis. Other VOD units classified under the deliberative themes of War and Peace and U.S. Internationalism might also be used to encourage classroom discussion and student research on current developments in Europe and elsewhere around the world.

Almir Hodzic, Undergraduate Intern at the Center for Democratic Deliberation, Penn State University.