In a series I am doing on America’s worst presidents, which covers various government functions, this first in the series is easy. It is based directly on theamericanconservative.com post here, written by Akhilesh Pillalamarri . It best summarizes my own specific thinking on the worst five foreign policy presidents.
In coming posts, I will expand on my position on America’s presidents and foreign policy. Much of my thinking has been formed over many years of analyzing the outstanding historical research of Cato Institute VP, Dr. Christopher Preble, author of The Power Problem.
Pillalamarri writes at The American Conservative:
The president of the United States is granted wide leeway by the U.S. Constitution over foreign policy, more than any other policy realm. In addition to being the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the president can make treaties, appoint diplomats (with the consent of the Senate), and, due to congressional legislation, impose sanctions on foreign entities.
Since World War II, the United States has issued no declarations of war; all military actions have been initiated by the president. As per the War Powers Resolution of 1973, the president can deploy troops for up to 60 days without congressional approval. Thus, whatever the foreign policy of the United States—positive or negative—the president owns it:
He got the United States involved in a war that had no particular purpose and resulted in no particular gain: the War of 1812.
Woodrow Wilson should be best known for his mishandling of American involvement in World War I. He “kept us out of the war,” till he didn’t. Instead, he helped unleash a chain of events that led to the rise of fascism, communism, World War II, and even the present problems in the Middle East.
Harry S. Truman
In the aftermath of the Second World War, there were tensions, naturally, between the United States and the Soviet Union. But these strains would be institutionalized by the policies of Harry S. Truman, and ultimately lead to the Cold War and the polarization of the world on binary lines rather than the more typical great-power competition that had prevailed before the war.
Truman enunciated a line of thinking in 1947, later known as the Truman Doctrine.
Lyndon B. Johnson
The United States need not have gotten involved in Vietnam. Instead, as with many other anti-communist initiatives supported by the U.S. government, American aid could have been limited to military supplies and political support. And while presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy sent some military advisors to the South Vietnamese government, it was LBJ who really ramped up direct military intervention.
George W. Bush
George W. Bush’s foreign policy is still so recent that the nature of his mistakes seem self-evident. However, some points are worth encapsulating. For better or for worse, the unipolar moment that the United States enjoyed for a decade after the Cold War ended due to the American overreaction in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. As the United States spent trillions upon trillions of dollars trying to reconstruct the Middle East in its own image.
Read more here.