At National Review Conrad Black writes “An Awful First Year”.
A Comprehensive rant about Team Obama’s first year, this passage focuses on an historical perspective of presidential foreign policies:
Dwight D. Eisenhower came into office determined to end the Korean War and begin de-escalating the Cold War. He did both, the latter with a revival of summit meetings and his Open Skies proposal. Richard Nixon entered office with a plan to open relations with China, extract the U.S. from Indochina without bringing down the non-Communist government in Saigon, and pursue better relations with the USSR, arms control, and a peace process in the Middle East. All this happened. Ronald Reagan entered office with a plan to end the Cold War by outspending the USSR on defense, reducing Soviet income by inducing the Saudis to cut the world oil price, stopping Soviet industrial espionage, and working with the Vatican to destabilize the satellite countries, while reinvigorating the U.S. economy with tax cuts. It happened and it worked. George W. Bush protected the nation from terrorists.
The foreign-policy pattern of post-Truman Democratic presidents has been less encouraging. John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson abandoned the Eisenhower doctrine of “more defense bang for the buck” and massive retaliation, for the policy to “pay any price, bear any burden” while acquiescing in Mutual Assured Destruction. The Bay of Pigs, Vietnam War, and Soviet nuclear parity resulted. Jimmy Carter renounced “the irrational fear of Communism” until the Soviets invaded Afghanistan. Bill Clinton under-reacted to successive terrorist outrages, and 9/11 was the consequence.
Obama’s pursuit of instant gratification in the most complicated areas – arms control, the environment, the Middle East – and his feckless apologies for great statesmen of the recent past, including Roosevelt, Truman, Churchill, and Eisenhower, have dismayed America’s allies and delighted its rivals. It has been a year of naive amateurism, but it has ended well.