Hostage in Iraq - Dec. 1990
1990 – a particularly haywire year. (photo: Saddam Hussein and  “guest”)

1990 – ABC World News This Year – December 30, 1990 – ABC Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection

1990. A year loaded with contrasts, intrigues and question marks. And all of it came up for review, this December 30th, 1990.

The year started on a hopeful note, but somewhere in the middle, things started to slip. In January the Dow closed above 2800 for the first time. Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega finally surrendered to U.S. troops. Washington D.C. Mayor Marion Barry is arrested on Cocaine charges as part of an FBI sting operation. Bush and Gorbachev meet in a Summit. Ironically, the first McDonald’s opens in Moscow.

But as the year went on – things started going south. President Bush, elected on his “read my lips; no new taxes” reneges and accepts a tax hike in order to counter the growing economic problem, which eventually turns into an official recession. Baseball legend Pete Rose is sentenced to prison on Tax evasion charges. 1990 Grammy winners Milli Vanilli are suspected of not being who they claimed to be.

And in August, Iraq decided to invade Kuwait.

From August 2nd to the end of the year, the threat of war loomed large. As the crisis ramped up and public outcry, along with stories of horror and mass killings emerged, the U.S. suddenly got itself involved in a buildup of armed forces, and the looming showdown between Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and a coalition of countries was inevitable. And the hopeful note the year started with, ended on a pessimistic one, with sabers rattling and threats tossed back and forth. It was looking like war for sure.

But it was a busy year too – for a lot of reasons, some which boded strange for the future and some which gave pause for the loss. The merger of Time Inc. and Warner Communications rose big question marks for the future. The death of legend Leonard Bernstein gave pause to the indelible contributions he made to the Music world. And in November, the off-year elections increased the majority of Democrats in both houses of Congress; a sign 1992, though it was a way and an eternity off, was going to be an interesting one.

And that’s a small slice of what went on in 1990, as reported by ABC Radio News and their World News This Year feature.

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