What was the importance of George Bush's New World Order speech of 1991?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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George Bush's articulation of a "new world order" was significant at the time because it suggested a vision for how the world would function in the aftermath of the Cold War. His famous "new world order" speech emphasized the importance of American-Soviet cooperation (the USSR had not yet completely collapsed at this point) in achieving a peaceful transition from the Cold War order. It also argued for rapid integration of the former communist states into international organizations. US leadership would be essential to this, but it should not, Bush said, act unilaterally. This vision was widely criticized by many who argued that it was in practice an attempt to project American power in a world that had just become unipolar rather than bipolar. After the fact, the vision was criticized as unrealistic inasmuch as it failed to anticipate many of the challenges, particularly those related to nationalism and the emergence of new economic powers, in the wake of the end of the Cold War.