Akhilesh Pillalamarri, writing at The American Conservative, lays out his choices and reasoning for the five best foreign policy presidents in history. Here is a much abbreviated version of his thoughts on each of his choices.
In this author’s view, a good foreign policy is one that serves America’s interests.
Here are my five best foreign policy presidents:
George Washington (1789-1797)
Our first president set the gold standard for pursuing the most reasonable foreign policy for the United States given the circumstances.
John Adams (1797-1801)
Although George Washington was a tough act to follow, the United States was most vulnerable at its inception, and most in need of a steady guiding hand in foreign policy during its early years. After Washington’s retirement, this was provided by Adams.
Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)
Lincoln’s primary achievement for American foreign policy was the setting of a precedent by which foreign powers ceased their intervention in the domestic affairs of the United States, as well as in the general neighborhood of the U.S.
Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909)
By the time of Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency, the United States had grown into a great power, and thus had a need to maintain a sphere of influence and some offshore bases.
Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
Whatever his flaws and mishaps in the domestic sphere, Richard M. Nixon was one of the most brilliant foreign policy minds of the 20th century.
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