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How US presidents behave in the world – Whittier Daily News

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President Ronald Reagan fired America’s air traffic controllers when they went on an illegal strike in 1981. The controllers’ union risked a strike to show their determination, leading to concessions from the new administration. Instead, it was Reagan who showed determination. Secretary of State George Shultz called it one of the Reagans’ greatest achievements in international relations because the leaders of other nations concluded that Reagan was prepared to act decisively, even harshly.

Iran had come to the same conclusion a few months ago, when Ayatollah Khomeini chose the day of the inauguration of the Reagans to return American diplomats held hostage for 444 days under President Carter. Khomeini had judged Reagan to have a more determined character than Carter.

Carter had shown weakness when Haitians fleeing extreme poverty while sailing in Florida met what Carter said would be America’s open provinces and open hearts. This statement caused thousands more to take the sea to come here. President Obama showed weakness when Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons in Syria. Obama said this crossed a red line but had no consequences. In contrast, President Trump bombed the airport from which Syrian Air Force planes had taken off to drop chemical weapons, and al-Assad was stopped.

President Nixon angered the world by bombing North Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, on Christmas Day, 1972; but this led to a resumption of peace talks from which Ho Chi Minh had withdrawn (banking in the US Congress ending US involvement in Vietnam, without any concessions from the North).

The lesson from these, and many other instances in American diplomatic history, is that as the exercise of foreign affairs power has increasingly focused on the president, the personal character of presidents has had a profound effect on the evaluations of opponents and partners. ours for American determination.

The Christmas bomb showed the world that Nixon was not sentimental, that he was probably cruel too. President Trump, through harsh words and actions regarding immigrants crossing our southern border illegally, showed similar character traits as Nixon.

President Biden is a much more compassionate man than Trump. However, this can have a disadvantage. In his last press conference, Biden asserted that the rapid growth of unaccompanied children crossing our border illegally was not in response to their parents’ perception that he was a good boy. Indeed, it was decided because of this. Biden said he offered no apology for a policy that allows unaccompanied minor immigrants to stay in America. This statement has already had the same result as Carter open arms, uttering open hearts to Haitians. Biden has said unaccompanied children can stay in America, so their parents are sending them here. This lack of determination will invite opportunistic behavior from other countries, as it did with Carter.

Early in his term, Carter announced that his foreign policy would be as good and bad as the American people themselves. The rest of the world took advantage: from the Haitian government sending its poor into impenetrable ships, to Fidel Castro emptying its prisons, sending prisoners across the Florida Florida, to Ayatollah Khomeini holding American diplomats hostage for more than a year.

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