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Foreign Policy Definitions—Presidents (11192001)



Woodrow Wilson (Foreign):

WWI: the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary) fought the Allied Powers (Great Britain, France, and Russia). President Wilson sent the USA troops in 1917. After the War, Wilson created the League of Nations, a permanent peacetime international security organization.

Franklin D. Roosevelt (foreign):

Germany withdrew from the League in 1934 and began rearmament, violating the treaty of Versailles. Hittler took Austria in 1938, and bargained with Joseph Stalin to divide Poland between Germany and the Soviet Union. World War II started in 1939. In 1940, Japan, Hittler in Germany, and Mussolini in Italy signed the Tripartite Act creating the Tokyo-Berlin-Rome Axis. Roosevelt began a lend-lease bill to supply Britain in their fight against Germany. When the Japanese attacked pearl Harbor in 1941, the U.S. declared war on Japan, then on Germany and Italy. The countries fighting the Axis Powers were called the United Nations (UN) or the Allies: the United States, France, Britain, China, and the Soviet Union were the main members.

Harry S. Truman (foreign):

In 1945, Roosevelt died, Hitler died by suicide, and Germany surrendered. The United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Japan surrendered within a week. World War II is over. The Allies cooperate to form the U.N.O., then compete in the Cold War. The United Nations Organization (U.N.O.) was formed in 1945 to ensure global peace and security. Within the UN, there are agencies like the United Nations International Emergency Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which provides education and health care, nutrition, and emergency aid; and the UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization), a specialized agency to promote cooperation in these areas. The US began containment in 1947, sending military aid to Turkey and Greece to prevent the spread of communism. The reunification of Germany was a serious threat to thte U.S. and the Soviet Union. The Berlin airlift (flying food and supplies to cities with no road access for Allies) forced the Soviets to lift the Berlin blockade (aimed at pressuring the Western powers out of their occupied areas) in 1949. In 1949, America abandoned the policy of "abstention from entangling alliances in peacetime," joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization of democratic countries of Europe. It included Britain, France and BENELUX, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway, and Portugal. The alliance was a protection from the communist threat. The Soviets responded by the Warsaw Pact (Warsaw Treaty Organization) in 1955 to guard the countries where Soviet armies were present. The government of Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-Shek was so corrupt that it made U.S. aid ineffective. Chinese Communists under dicataor Mao Tse-tung took over China in 1949, making it the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Chiang fled in 1950 to Formosa (Taiwan), where he became president of the Republic of China (ROC). The Korean War, after WWII, Japan withdrew from Korea. Korea was now divided from 38 degrees north latitude into the Democratic People’s Republic (Communist North Korea), backed by the USSR and the Republic of (South) Korea, backed by the US and the UN. Sought Korea had a weak army and needed help to defend itself. The UN effectively pushed the North Koreans back. The Truman Doctrine of cantainment was aimed at supporting economically and financially any peoples against oppressor minorities. It became U.lS. policy when Britain requested help to protect Greece and Turkey from the communists as a safeguard measure because, according to the domino theory, one fall into communism would lead to the next until all were affected. The U.S. kept the Soviets from pursuing imperialistic interests by focusing on internal reconstruction through the Marshall Plan (officially, European Recovery Program), effective in 1947. The Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan were based on containment of the Soviet Union and the East bloc, Soviet Union satellites, and communist allies. Thus began the Cold War, a period of ideological, economic, and political hostility and competition between east and west.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (foreign):

Since 1862, France controlled the provinces around Saigon, and by 1893 it dominated all the Indochina (Vietnam Laos, and Kampuchea, or Camoodia). A group led by Ho Chi Minh formed the League for the Independence of Vietnam (Vietminh) in 1946, to oust the French from Vietnam. In the Geneva Accords of 1954 France, Great Britain, Russia, and China agreed to divide Vietnam along the 17th parallel: the Democratic Republic of Vietnam under Ho to the north and the southern sector under emperor Bao Dai. In the Soviet Union, marxist-leninist dictator Joseph Stalin died in 1953 and was replaced by Nikita Khrushchev. Satellite Sputnik was launched in 1957. In the Middle East, the U.S. had to restrain Russian expansion into oil resources such as Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Also, Israel (Forer Palestine) was in constant friction with neighboring nations. Truman had consistently supported Israel and this caused resentment of the U.S. among those Arab neighbors, adding to national, ethnic, and religious dissentions in the Middle East, like the movement by Palestinians in Jordan and Israel for a Palestine nation. When Guatemala began importing Soviet weapons, the Eisenhower administration helped overthrow the government of President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman in 1954. In 1959, Fidel Castro in Cuba overthrew dictator Fulgencio Batista and began a revolution. Eisenhower ended his term-breaking up diplomatic relations with Cuba.

John F. Kennedy (foreign):

President Kennedy assigned the CIA to train and equip anti-Castro exiles to attack and overthrow revolutionary dictator Fidel Castro when there were signs of Soviet-friendly activity in Cuba. This secret army invaded the Bay of Pigs in April, 1961 but was unsuccessful. Kennedy then raised an economic blockade on Cuba. Castro strengthened his connections with Soviet Union.his connections with the Soviet Union. In 1961, Khrushchev built the Berlin Wall to separate East and West and stop the migrations in and out of East Germany. Seeing no objection from the U.S., he began testing nuclear weapons. The Cuban Missile Crisis, in 1962, Khruschev loaded Cuba with nuclear technology. Kennedy demanded removal, threatening force if necessary. Khruschev negotiated an agreement and slowly backed out. The blockade on Cuba was lifted and both the US and the SU opened direct communication in case of crisis. Kennedy took the U.S. to the verge of war.

Lyndon B. Johnson (foreign):

In 1954 pro-Communist forces (Vietcong) in North Vietnam received indirect support from China and the Soviet Union. The U.S. had been sending troops to help establish a firm government under Ngo Dinh Diem in S. Vietnam but was assassinated by South Vietnamese generals. Congress and President agreed in the Gulf Of Tonkin Resolution (1963)to self-defense and control of aggression by communist N. Vietnam against the U.S.

Richard Nixon (foreign) :

The Vietcong were unwilling to negotiate. South Vietnamese armies were incapable of working with the U.S. Nexon then began to gradually reduce the number of U.S. forces there. But in 1970, he sent thousands of American troops to Cambodia, hoping to destroy the enemy base. Foreign policy adviser, Henry Kissinger’s détente (negation rather than confrontation): if dealing with Russia and China separately and differenltly, they would deal with each other differently too. In 1972 the Soviet Union and the United States agreed to stop making nuclear ballistic missiles by signing the first Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT). Nixon agreed to support China’s admission to the United Nations and to develop economic and cultural exchanges with the Chinese. This change in relations opened a way for the North Vietnamese to negotiate for U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam. In January 1973 America exited the war. The North Vietnamese retained control of large sections of the South and agreed to release American POW’s within 60 days.

Gerald Ford (foreign):

In 1975 communists invaded Cambodia and took captive American merchant ship Mayaguez in the Gulf of Siam. President Ford ordered an attack to rescue the ship and its 39 crew members.

James Carter (foreign):

In 1979 the United States and the Soviet Union signed the second Strategic Arms Limitations Treaty (Salt II). War in the Middle East would result in a cut in the oil supply so President Carter called for Israel and Egypt to negotiate an end to their wars. Representatives of the three nations met at Camp David. In the resulting compromise Egypt recognized Israel as a nation and Israel withdrew from territory capture in 1967. Carter sought to diminish American dependency on OPEC oil. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, with other nations like Libya, Indonesia, Algeria and Nigeria joining in following years. The OPEC nations could raise oil embargoes on countries supporting their enemies. Since 1972 Iran had bought arms from the U.S. The shah of Iran alienated the people, especially Muslim leaders, by his ineffective rule, so dependent on America. IN 1979 Pahlavi had to flee the country. Ayatllah Ruhollah Khomeini a revered religious leader back from exile in France, assumed power, seized the embassy in Teheran and demanded the surrender of the shah and his possessions as exchange for American hostages. Compliance to his demands would violate American laws. In 1980, Carter sent a rescue team but the aircraft crashed and the stalemate continued with hostages still in Iran. In 1979 dictator Anastasio Somoza was toppled by (Marxist) Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

Ronald Reagan (foreign):

During the Reagan administration the U.S. openly aided the opposed governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras; and covertly aided the contras of Nicaragua and the Cuban backed Grenada government of Nicaragua. In 1983 U.S. involvement in Central America and the Caribbean was justified as prevention against Cuban military plans for the area, and in Grenada it was also for protection of American medical students from potential violence by pro- Cuban forces. In El Salvador, communists, peasant rebels and native Indians formed guerrillas to bring about land reforms, aided mainly by Nicaragua, Cuba, and the Soviet Union. The U.S supported the conservative government of El Salvador with financial and military aid. The United States became involved in the peacekeeping force in Lebanon when a fight broke out between the PLO and the Christian (Maronite) Phalange, with Israeli and Syrian intervention. In the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader. Showing himself more open politically, he started glasnost (open political debate and criticism) and introduced perestoika (restructing, encouraging individual enterprises and decentralizing administration to stimulate the economy). He honored SALT II, but Reagan pressed for increase in defense technology- the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)/Star Wars- a computer- controlled system capable of destroying enemy missiles in outerspace. IN 1987 Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to eliminate short and medium- range nuclear missiles during the first Strategic Arms Reductions Talks (START). The Iran- Contra affair. In 1980 Iran and Iraq started a war. U.S interest in peace there was petroleum and hostages held in Lebanon. In 1985 Reagan tried unsuccessfully to trade weapons for hostages through Israel. Then he dealt directly and secretly with Iran. $12 million income from arms sales to Iran went to aid the Conras in Nicaragua. This act violated the Boland Amendment of 1984 designed to prohibit U.S. aid.

George Bush (foreign):

In 1989 the U.S forced Manuel Noriega out of power in Panama and restored the elected, legitimate president. Iraq attacked Kuwait in 1990. The UN immediately imposed a trade embargo on Iraq; U.S. troops were sent to Saudi Arabia. After negotiations Iraq refused to withdraw. After a month of battle Iraqi armies surrendered. IN 1993 Iraq agreed to cease- fire resolutions and long- term weapons inspections. Saddam Hussein has set up a dictatorship, eliminating all manifestations of opposition since he became President in 1979. Iraq linked its occupation of Kuwait with Israel’s take- over of the West Bank in 1967. Somalia had been afflicted with internal divisions, famine and disease. Fighting got so intense in 1990, that the UN had to briefly leave, but returned led by U.S. troops in 1992 to help with reconstruction. When Gorbachev let the communist governments of the Soviet Union survive on their own, they soon began to weaken. The Warsaw Pact was now null. The Berlin Wall fell and talks of unification of Germany began. Student demonstrations for democracy in China in 1988 became massive. In 1989 many students died crushed by PLA tanks on Tiananmen Square. This event influenced Gorbachev’s decision to relax communism in the S.U. Bush aided the new governments resulting from the breakup of the S.U. into 15 parts that occurred in 1992 as Soviets rejected Gorbachev’s glasnost/ perestroika. The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania won independence from the U.S.S.R in 1991. The Philippines received U.S. aid while under President Maria Corazon Aquino, elected in 1986

William Clinton (foreign):

A civil war broke out among the six major tribes of Somalia in the 1980’s. The Somali president had previously established a socialist government to end illiteracy and bring social and economic development for his people. The Soviets supported him only until Somalia entered war with socialist Ethiopa, which was already aligned with the USSR. He faced opposition also at home, initially from the north, in 1988. In 1991 he had to flee the country. The Somali peoples began to clash for power, for they could not decide on one leader- as individuals, the Somalis’ allegiance goes first to their own tribe, then to the common leader. The tribes fought for control of ports and airports because of food distribution depended on these; whoever controlled these had the upper hand. President Bush wanted to prevent a famine and violence in the land and took action in late 1992. President Clinton continued the effort. In October 1993, he sent additional relief troops to Somalia. Bosnia became Independent from Yugoslavia in 1991. IN 1992 Bosnian Serbs began ethnic cleansing, Bosnian Croatians followed with the same. They prevented the UN from delivering humanitarian aid to Bosnian Muslims that were cut off. Conflict came more violent when President Clinton began his term. The U.S. airdropped relief supplies in 1993, but no U.S forces. In 1995 a seize- fire was agreed upon to begin peace negotiations. The UN was to help keep peace while the nation focused on rebuilding. Four years of bloodshed ended with the Dayton Peace Accords in Ohio. American troops were part of the UN peacekeeping forces, sent in 1995. In 1991 the president of Haiti was overthrown by a military coup. Many Haitians fled the country and sought, refuge in the U.S. but President Bush did not allowed them to immigrate. When Clinton became president, the number of refugees increased. He requested the UN to impose economic sanctions to pressure the military dictatorship to restore the legitimate president. This caused a negative effect in the economy, more refugees fled the country. Clinton allowed them to be taken to Cuba and other Caribbean countries where they could find asylum. He attempted negotiations with the military leaders but efforts were fruitless. As a last measure, troops were sent to take them down by force. In1994 President Clinton called off the invasion when rebel leaders agreed to reinstate the exiled legitimate president, Jean- Bertrand Aristide. In 1994 the U.S and N. Korea made an agreement in which a nuclear power plant would be built and fuel oil would be provided in exchange for the North ceasing construction of an old style nuclear power plant. In the DMS 1,500,000 soldiers face each other, including 37,000 from the U.S. President Clinton sought to expand NATO trying to build a stable democratic Europe. The Chemical Weapons Convention bans the production, reserve and use of chemical weapons. The START II Treaty, along with Start I, reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals two- thirds from their Cold War heights.