Unintended Consequences

Presidential historian Robert Dalleck has observed; “As the war came to an end in September 1945, Truman came under intense pressure to “bring the boys home.” Where he saw a need to “adjust the rate of the demobilization of our forces so we would be able to meet our new obligations in the world,” the public, led by many of the twelve million men in the armed forces and their families, insisted on the fastest possible release from service.

Because of serious doubts about the country’s capability to establish effective occupations of Germany and Japan with diminished forces and its capacity to absorb so many men quickly into the economy, Truman was reluctant to give in to what he privately called the “disintegration of our armed forces.”

Truman encouraged Congress to “take the heat” from a public insisting on rapid demobilization, which he privately told congressional leaders could jeopardize global stability. He wanted them to encourage a more measured return of the most deserving or longest-serving troops rather than an indiscriminate release of most of the boys.

Congress, which was inundated with pleas from wives demanding the return of husbands for the sake of their fatherless children, was no help. One Democrat member of the House warned that Congress would find itself in “the hottest water,” as it “ought to be,” if it did not expedite the release of servicemen who had fulfilled their patriotic duty.”

Although a presidential appeal to an America mindful that it could not shun its new international obligations might have relieved some of the pressure for a rapid demobilization, Truman refused to confront the public with an unpopular demand. Opinion polls showed that most Americans might have been open to a Presidential appeal: the public understood that atomic bombs would not be enough to ensure the peace, favored Congressional renewal of the existing draft law, and supported the president’s proposal for compulsory military training for all able-bodied young men for a year to eighteen months.

And yet Truman was disinclined to confront the country with the emerging dangers he saw from Soviet aggression, which would have been the implicit argument for maintaining a significant part of the national force in the postwar period. He feared that such a frank appeal might have heightened international tensions and encouraged resurgent isolationism. On the other hand, demobilization had its attractions. A smaller military would make it easier for Truman to reduce the budget deficits that were spurring inflation.

Despite his hesitation about pressing the country for a commitment that could provoke strong opposition, international developments by January 1946 finally compelled him to announce his unwillingness “to discharge every member of the armed forces promptly.” He declared that “the future of our country . . . [is] now as much at stake as it was in the days of the war.” His announcement touched off an explosion of hostility, including demonstrations at American military bases around the globe, where servicemen were waiting to be shipped home. The protesters’ slogan was “No boats, No votes.”

At a press conference, the journalist Drew Pearson tried to hand Truman a stack of soldiers’ petitions asking their release from service. In what was not his finest moment, the President refused to accept them and threatened to punch Pearson in the nose for a falsehood he had broadcast on the radio about his wife and daughter’s travel from Independence to Washington in a private railway car.

Truman’s call for slower demobilization, however, could not overcome the pressures by war veterans for an end to military service. Thus, in the spring of 1946, he had to ask Congress to extend the Selective Service law for another year, which it agreed to do in response to pressure from U.S. military chiefs.

[This episode in presidential leadership is particularly curious. Truman was another accidental President. He had never had any realistic ambitions to run for President and was politically beholden to no one for his position. He had demonstrated that he had an iron will with his order to drop the atomic bomb. He was uniquely positioned to do the “right thing” as he correctly saw it. Yet, he didn’t. With his eyes set upon 1948, he chose the political path rather than the necessary path. A shame.]

Universal military training, however, was another matter. Truman urged Congress to act on what he believed was essential to the country’s future security by enacting a law requiring military service for all able- bodied young men. But Truman’s diminished credibility in the military sphere – primarily for the unpopular Potsdam agreements – coupled with behind-the-scenes opposition from the Navy, undermined his chances of winning a positive congressional response.

By March 1946, Collier’s magazine featured an article on “Truman’s Troubled Year” that he kept on his desk to show visitors as perhaps an implicit plea not to add to his burdens. The alienation of liberals over the Ickes – Pauley flap (one cabinet secretary – Ickes – undermining the cabinet appointment of another) and veterans’ families over the pace of demobilization were only two of the problems that had thrown the President on the defensive. The whole domestic scene – economic and social conflicts – confronted him with hard choices that left few Americans satisfied with the direction of national affairs.

By this point, the press’s assessments of the “accidental” President’s leadership were almost uniformly negative. Although a member of the administration for only about 90 days, and kept in the dark about virtually everything, the news magazine The Nation characterized Truman as a “weak, baffled, angry man.” Walter Lippmann, America’s most famous columnist, decried Truman’s decision to surround himself with men whose questionable judgments made them more a deterrent than a help in reaching wise decisions – many being leftover “New Dealers” who had utterly failed to prepare the nation for the post-war world?

President Roosevelt had had the military community planning for the post-war world since 1943 but had neglected to include the Congress or the People in any discussions about what the “new” world would look like. He knew full well what the Soviet Union was planning even though the communist sympathizers in his administration would tamp down any speculation. He knew full well that Europe would be economically ruined by the campaign to destroy the Nazis as would all trading partners in the Far East. Yet, he said nothing to the American people who had elected him three times and who were fighting and dying for a peaceful post-war world at-home and abroad. This was unconscionable.

Others faulted Truman for being excessively “indecisive” and “vacillating,” a President without a clear sense of purpose or too willing to accommodate himself to conflicting points of view in hopes of satisfying everyone or alienating no one. The New York Herald Tribune described New Dealers as “unhappy,” conservatives as [correctly] “critical,” and moderates or independents as “uncertain” about the President. “I’m just mild about Harry,” went a current Washington joke.

Difficulties abroad matched Truman’s problems at home. In February 1946, Joseph Stalin announced a new Five-Year Plan with a warning to Soviet citizens that they would have to sacrifice consumer goods to military might, which would be essential in a coming confrontation with the capitalist, imperialist West. Many Americans saw the speech as tantamount to a declaration of war, which Stalin seemed to think was inevitable. Two weeks later, newspaper reports of Soviet agents in Canada funneling atomic secrets to Moscow aroused fears that Communist sympathizers in the United States government were engaged in espionage that would speed Soviet development of atomic weapons in preparation for an all-out conflict with America and its allies. [If only they knew the real story.]

Some in the United States, led by former vice president (and possible Soviet spy) Henry Wallace – now serving as Truman’s secretary of commerce – absurdly said that the spying and Stalin’s speech were defensive reactions to American belligerence, especially Washington’s refusal to offer Moscow a generous reconstruction loan. But others in the American government were increasingly, although belatedly, convinced of Soviet determination to undermine the United States at home and abroad in a contest for world dominance.

George F. Kennan, the American chargé d’affaires in Moscow, gave forceful expression to this fear in what became known as the “long telegram” of February 22, 1946. A Russian expert and longtime observer of Soviet affairs, Kennan warned that there was no way to disarm Soviet hostility toward the West: it was the product of a need to consolidate power at home by arousing fears of unrelenting foreign dangers.

The West needed to resist Communist expansion and [ironically] attempts at subversion of democratic institutions, he argued, while waiting until Soviet rule collapsed because of its own internal contradictions.

[How prescient of Kennan – the Soviet Union indeed collapsed of its own internal contradictions – in 1989. But, it wasn’t Soviet subversion that caused untold damage to the United States; it was subversion of our democratic institutions – the press, the judiciary, academia, the democratic process, labor unions and the willful-idiots in the entertainment/infotainment industry – by the nascent PLDC. Of course, there was some Soviet assistance and inspiration within these institutions but, the abundance of “fellow-travelers” among the PLDC elite – like Saul Alinsky – made the task much easier.]

Truman read and approved of Kennan’s analysis and prescription for dealing with the Soviet threat. But domestic political crosscurrents made him loath to say so openly. When a journalist at a February 21 press conference had asked the President if in view of “current revelations” about Soviet aggressiveness, he still “didn’t share the unholy fear of Russia,” as he had said several months earlier, Truman replied, “No comment.”

Predictably, the 1946 election results were a decisive defeat for the Democrats and Truman’s stewardship. The Republicans won a fifty-eight seat margin in the House, 246 to 188, and a six- seat advantage in the Senate. Among the Republican newcomers were Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin and Representative Richard Nixon of California. Among the smaller number of Democratic freshmen was a twenty-nine-year-old Navy veteran and hero from Massachusetts named John F. Kennedy.

Truman had latched onto Kennan’s doctrine of containment and modified it with his own Truman Doctrine. In a special address to the Republican controlled Congress in March 1947, Truman announced that the United States would support foreign governments resisting “armed minorities” or “outside pressures” – that is, Communist revolutionaries or the Soviet Union. He then convinced Congress to appropriate $400 million to prevent the fall of Greece and Turkey to Communist insurgents. Truman had learned his lesson.

But, his lack of self-assurance was as much in evidence two weeks later, when he accompanied Winston Churchill to give a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. Churchill had described the contents of his speech to the President beforehand and gave a copy to Truman to read on the train. Truman told the former prime minister that “it was admirable and would do some good.” Truman further put his stamp on Churchill’s remarks by introducing him to the Westminster College audience.

Churchill’s speech left no doubt that he was urging Washington to take the lead in an anti-Soviet coalition: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic,” Churchill famously declared, “an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern Europe” that had fallen under Soviet control. Churchill then advocated an Anglo-American military alliance that could act as an effective check on Soviet expansionism.

Despite Truman’s tacit public approval of Churchill’s speech, administration spokesmen denied the President’s advance knowledge or endorsement of the prime minister’s remarks. Concern that open backing might provoke a crisis in Soviet-American relations persuaded Truman to hide his satisfaction at Churchill’s warning and call for action.

Domestic pressures likewise made Truman reluctant to identify his administration with Churchill’s warning about Soviet intentions. Walter Lippmann, in an historic miscalculation of his own, called Churchill’s speech an “almost catastrophic blunder” that would increase the likelihood of an East-West war. Critical comments also followed from other liberals, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Harold Ickes, and Henry Wallace, who labeled the speech an attack on Moscow and the call for an Anglo-American alliance a slight to the United Nations.”

[With apologies to Churchill; Never had so many progressive/liberals been so wrong about so much as they were about the strategic aims of the Soviet Union, which would wage “war” on the West for the next 45 years until it literally collapsed from the effort. So, why was all this criticism heaped upon the man from Independence? It was simple. He was not Franklin Delano Roosevelt.]

“Truman was leery of taking a public stance that might antagonize a significant part of his party’s base – FDR’s ‘true-believers’ – and he also doubted whether Americans, however sympathetic to strong public criticism of Soviet behavior were ready to sign on to tough policies, including a strengthened military, which might intimidate Moscow.”

[Truman’s reading of the public mood was curious, since public-opinion polls had consistently shown, from the beginning of organized polling [by George Gallup in the mid-1930s], that – unlike the social and foreign-policy elite – the American general-public, both those who were attentive to current events – who would discuss the latest news with neighbors at weekend picnics and over back-yard fences – and those who were not very involved, were far more suspicious and distrustful of the Soviets than the blue-bloodsmaking policy in Washington. See The Public at the Creation: An iconoclastic View of Public Attitudes and the Origins of the Cold War, Hillmann, SDSU 1993.]

“Truman’s reluctance to take an open stand on Churchill’s remarks – neither criticizing them nor openly aligning himself with them – further undermined his public standing. “It was a bad time for Truman,” observes historian and Truman biographer David McCullough. “To the press and an increasing proportion of the country, he seemed bewildered and equivocating, incapable of a clear or positive policy toward the Russians.” Even when Truman put a foot right, he received no credit for it. To wit:

In March, when a deadline passed for a promised Soviet withdrawal of its troops from Iran’s northern province of Azerbaijan (where Moscow had stationed troops during the war), the State Department, led by Secretary of State Byrnes, publicly endorsed UN demands for an end to Soviet violations of Iranian sovereignty. Although a Soviet withdrawal was greeted with satisfaction in the United States, especially by officials who saw this as a successful demonstration of Kennan’s containment strategy, Byrnes and the UN received praise for the diplomatic victory, rather than Truman, who had put private pressure on Stalin for a withdrawal.

Where there was failure, of course, the blame fell on the President. A case in point was when the State Department developed a proposal to limit the spread of atomic weapons, for presentation to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission. The proposal, written by Dean Acheson, the Undersecretary of State, and David Lilienthal, the infamous Tennessee Valley Authority chairman, [naively] called for national commitments against building atomic bombs and the elimination of the U.S. atomic arsenal should it seem certain that other countries would not construct such weapons.

“The Acheson-Lilienthal proposal aimed to ensure support in Congress and the public by maintaining America’s atomic monopoly until it was clear that the United States could jettison its arsenal without risk to its national security. Acheson and Lilienthal hoped to win Soviet backing [here is the naïve – if not reckless – part] by reposing trust in Moscow’s self-denying commitment without insistence on international inspections of Soviet territory [and technology. Acheson would go on to do much worse.]

Because Byrnes and Truman remained concerned that Congress would object to any agreement eliminating America’s freedom to sustain its international military dominance with atomic weapons, they enlisted the participation of the financier Bernard Baruch, whose political influence was strong among Democrats and Republicans alike. Baruch agreed to represent the United States at the UN commission’s deliberations, but only on the condition that the U.S. proposal be identified as his and not the State Department’s and that he be free to alter some of its provisions.

Specifically, he insisted on including sanctions against any nation violating the arms control agreement and the suspension of the Security Council veto of potential sanctions, meaning that Moscow would not be able to prevent UN action against it if it broke a promise not to build the bomb.

It is interesting that such an esteemed member of the nation’s elite political class was so aligned with the American public in distrust of the Soviet Union. His attitude may have been a byproduct of his work with the industrial titans of America whom Roosevelt had lambasted during his first two terms but who had enlisted Baruch to encourage them support the war effort.

Truman felt compelled to appease Baruch, who was a prima-donna with a flair for public dramatics: when he introduced what was now called the Baruch Plan at the UN, he announced the world organization faced a choice between “the quick and the dead.”

Soviet appeaser Henry Wallace tried to encourage Truman to be more understanding of the Soviets’ point of view. He told the President that the country’s suffering in World War II, coupled with acts of perceived American bellicosity, were frightening Moscow and provoking tensions that could lead to a conflict. Truman was not convinced. He saw Wallace as a well-meaning eccentric with little knowledge of world affairs and poor judgment, in particular about Soviet intentions. If only he knew the real story.

By September, Truman had begun to see the Russians as acting ruthlessly in their own selfish-interest, which included undermining an America they considered a deadly adversary. He remained hopeful [and correct], nevertheless, that checking Soviet expansionism would lead not to war but to a standoff competition in which the United States would ultimately prevail.

[Despite Truman’s correct reading of the American-Soviet challenge and his charting the correct course for the 45-year standoff known as the Cold War, the opposition of the PLDC to the threat of any force – military, economic, financial – against any adversary, for fear of offending them, remains a liberal/progressive political staple.]

The Truman-Wallace differences over Soviet-American relations came to a head on September 12, when Wallace gave a speech at Madison Square Garden in New York, which was billed as a political address supporting Democratic candidates in the November congressional elections. Instead, Wallace revealed his true-colors as a Soviet apologist and took the opportunity to focus on American foreign policy and the requirements for future peace.

Specifically, he spoke out against the administration’s recent expressions of determination to “get tough with Russia.” He warned that the Soviets would match all American moves in this direction. “We must not let our Russian policy be guided or influenced by those inside or outside the United States who want war with Russia,” he said.

In a diary note, Truman decried Wallace’s desire “… to disband our armed forces and trust a bunch of adventurers in the Kremlin Politbureau.” He described Wallace and “… the Reds, phonies, and ‘parlor pinks’” as “a national danger.”

Truman’s public opposition to Wallace’s remarks forced Wallace to resign as Secretary of Commerce and Truman was happy to see him go. Truman told his mother and sister, “Well, now he’s out, and the crackpots are having conniption fits. I’m glad they are. It convinces me I’m right.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, for decades the Nationalist government of Chiang Kai-shek had been fighting a long civil war against Communist rebels led by Mao Zedong (or Mao Tse-tung). The U.S. government under Roosevelt and Truman had backed the Nationalists with money and small arms shipments but overall had little influence on the war. General Marshall was Truman’s principal adviser on foreign policy matters, influencing such decisions as the U.S. choice against offering direct military aid to Chiang Kai-shek and his Nationalist Chinese forces in the Chinese Civil War.

Marshall’s opinion was contrary to the counsel of almost all of Truman’s other advisers – he believed that even propping up Chiang’s forces would drain U.S. resources in Europe needed to deter the Soviets – a tragically narrow and ill-considered, although influential, strategic view that paved the way for a communist takeover of China and a powerful alliance between the world’s two communist giants.

When the communists took control of the mainland, driving the Nationalists to Taiwan and establishing the People’s Republic of China, Truman would have been willing to maintain some relationship between the U.S. and the new government, but Mao was unwilling.

While Chiang and his supporters fled to the island of Taiwan, Mao’s revolutionaries finally managed to defeat government forces in 1949 and took control of mainland China. Communist Party chairman Mao became the head of the new People’s Republic of China (PRC).

The so-called “fall of China” was a crushing blow for the United States, primarily because it suddenly put more than a quarter of the world’s population under “imperialistic” Communist control. Moreover, previous U.S. support for Chiang Kai-shek also meant that the PRC would not look favorably upon the United States. It was also a warning sign to allies that support from the U.S. might not be so ironclad after all – a dangerous precedent.

Also in 1949, Truman had to announce that the Soviet Union had successfully tested its first atomic bomb, about 10 years sooner than American scientists had predicted. Even though it would have been difficult for the USSR to actually deliver a nuclear bomb to U.S. soil – nuclear missiles would not be perfected for another decade – the Soviets’ discovery cost Truman the diplomatic upper hand. Whereas the United States had lorded its nuclear superiority over the Soviets’ heads in the past, it could no longer do so.

To regain the upper hand, Truman poured federal dollars into the 1952 development of the hydrogen bomb, an even more devastating weapon than the original atomic bomb. Its developers feared this weapon would become a tool for genocide. The Soviet Union responded in kind with its own [spy-assisted, again] H-bomb the following year, ratcheting the stakes even higher.

The United States and the USSR continued competing against each other with the development of greater and more destructive weapons in an arms race that lasted until the end of the Cold War – a successful strategy called, ironically enough, MAD – mutually assured destruction.

Truman’s [now] Secretary of State, Dean G. Acheson’s gave a speech at the National Press Club on January 12, 1950 that was among the most important and controversial US policy statements in the early history of the Cold War in East Asia. In it, he defined the American [strategic] “defensive perimeter” in the Pacific – a line within which we would defend our allies – as a line running through Japan, the Ryukyu Islands (the island chain extending from Japan to Taiwan), and the Philippines. This denied a guarantee of US military protection to the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan.  

Emboldened by this speech, on June 25, 1950, Kim Il Sung’s North Korean People’s Army suddenly invaded South Korea without provocation, starting the Korean War. In the early weeks of the war, the North Koreans easily pushed back their southern opponents. Truman called for a naval blockade of Korea, only to learn, incredibly, that due to demobilization following the end of World War II and budget cutbacks, the U.S. Navy could not enforce such a measure. Truman promptly urged the United Nations to intervene; it did, authorizing troops for a “police action” under the UN flag led by legendary U.S. General Douglas MacArthur.

Critics immediately pointed to Acheson’s National Press Club speech as giving Pyongyang the “green light” to pursue forcible reunification, based on the premise that the United States had ruled out military intervention to defend South Korea.

More than fifty years after the start of the Korean War, countless South Koreans still hold Acheson responsible for igniting this fratricidal conflict. The United States, they bitterly maintain, committed an act of betrayal toward Korea ranking with President Theodore Roosevelt’s approval of the Taft-Katsura Agreement in 1905 and President Harry S. Truman’s agreement to divide the peninsula forty years later at the end of World War II. Of course, progressive/liberal/Democrat supporters have rallied to Acheson’s defense ever since, just as they have for Eastern liberal socialite, icon and Soviet spy Alger Hiss.

Release of Soviet documents during recent years has removed any doubt that North Korea planned and initiated the Korean War with the reluctant endorsement of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. North Korea’s leader Kim Il Sung had begun to press the Soviet Union to support an invasion shortly after creation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in September 1948. But Stalin withheld approval until April 1950 mainly because he feared that the United States would intervene militarily, thereby risking escalation into a major war involving the Soviet Union. The Acheson speech, no doubt, emboldened Kim Il Sung in his discussions with Stalin and reduced Stalin’s apprehension enough for him to grant approval for the operation.

Acheson’s attitude toward the military capabilities of the United States in Asia reflected a realistic grasp of the limits of American power – a truly amazing realization only five years removed from having the most powerful and unrivaled armed force in history. He clearly stated that, beyond Japan, the Ryukyus, and the Philippines, “It must be clear that no person can guarantee these areas against military attack.” In the event of open aggression outside this defensive perimeter, he announced, “… the initial reliance must be on the people attacked to resist it and then upon … the United Nations which so far has not proved a weak reed to lean on by any people who are determined to protect their independence against outside aggression.”

[A more insincere and naïve statement could not have been made and it cleared the decks for North Korea’s Soviet backed military. Such a statement would have been better left unsaid. The Secretary of State claimed, however, that the military threat was not as immediate as the challenge of political “subversion and penetration”. Naïve, insincere and ignorant!]

“On June 27, 1950, after the outbreak of fighting in Korea, Truman also ordered the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet into the Taiwan Strait to prevent further conflict between the communist government on the China mainland and the Republic  of China (ROC) on Taiwan.

Truman decided that he did not need formal authorization from Congress on the matter of Korea, believing that most legislators supported his position; this would come back to haunt him later, when the stalemated conflict was dubbed “Mr. Truman’s War” by legislators. However, on July 3, 1950, Truman did give Senate Majority Leader Scott W. Lucas a draft resolution titled “Joint Resolution Expressing Approval of the Action Taken in Korea”.

Lucas said Congress supported the use of force, that the formal resolution would pass but was unnecessary, and that the consensus in Congress was to acquiesce. Truman responded that he did not want “to appear to be trying to get around Congress and use extra-Constitutional powers,” [but] added that it was “up to Congress whether such a resolution should be introduced.”

By August 1950, U.S. troops pouring into South Korea under UN auspices were able to stabilize the situation. Responding to criticism over readiness, Truman fired his incompetent Secretary of Defense, Louis A Johnson, replacing him with the retired General George C. Marshall.

With UN approval, Truman decided on a “rollback” policy – conquest of North Korea. UN forces led by General  MacArthur led the counterattack, scoring a stunning surprise victory with a militarily astounding amphibious landing at Inchon near Seoul, on the West coast of Korea, which nearly trapped the invaders. UN forces marched north, toward the Yalu River boundary with China, with the goal of reuniting Korea under UN auspices.

However, Communist Chinese forces surprised the UN forces with a large-scale invasion of their own in November. The UN forces were forced back to below the 38th Parallel, then recovered. By early 1951 the war became a fierce stalemate at about the 38th parallel where it had begun. Truman rejected MacArthur’s request to attack Chinese supply bases north of the Yalu, but MacArthur promoted his plan to Republican House leader Joseph Martin, who leaked it to the press.

Truman was gravely concerned that further escalation of the war might lead to open conflict with the Soviet Union, which was already supplying weapons and providing warplanes (with Korean markings and Soviet fliers). Therefore, on April 11, 1951, Truman fired MacArthur from his commands.

“I fired him [MacArthur] because he wouldn’t respect the authority of the President … I didn’t fire him because he was a dumb son of a bitch, although he was, but that’s not against the law for generals. If it was, half to three-quarters of them would be in jail.” Harry S. Truman to biographer Merle Miller, 1972, posthumously quoted in Time magazine, 1973.

The dismissal of General MacArthur was among the least politically popular decisions in presidential history. Truman’s approval ratings plummeted, and he faced calls for his impeachment from, among others, Republican leader, Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft [son of former President William Howard Taft, author of the Taft-Katsura Agreement, essentially conceding Japan’s making a protectorate of Korea after its victory in the Russo-Japanese War in 1905]. Fierce criticism from virtually all quarters accused Truman of refusing to shoulder the blame for a war gone sour and blaming his generals instead.

Others, including Eleanor Roosevelt, supported and applauded Truman’s decision. MacArthur meanwhile, returned to the U.S. to a hero’s welcome, and addressed a joint session of Congress, a speech which the President called “a bunch of damn bullshit.”

The war remained a frustrating stalemate for two more years, with nearly 40,000 Americans killed, until an armistice ended the fighting in 1953. In February 1952, Truman’s approval mark stood at 22%, according to Gallup polls, the all-time lowest approval mark for an active American president.

[Once again, the lack of capable Democrat leadership [in a performance similar to that of Wilson following world War I], capable meaning ‘one with a capacity for forward looking strategic postwar planning, to counter the emotional clamor for disarmament and demobilization’, had led to unforeseen, but predictable, consequences that resulted in more death and destruction.

In this case, it would lead to the Cold War – with associated costs estimated at over $8 trillion, Soviet domination of Eastern Europe for the next 44 years, the fall of China to communist control, the arming of the Soviet Union and China with nuclear weapons, the Soviet and Chinese backed Korean War – costing 37,000 American lives – and set the stage for conflict in Southeast Asia that would take another 60,000 American lives, the election of Democrat Jimmy Carter and the beginning of Radical Islamism on his watch – which morphed into a new kind of war – worldwide Islamic jihad.]

Next time: Cuba

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