1. Harry Truman
After the death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Vice President Harry S. Truman took over the office of the Presidency, working with Allied Forces to end Nazi Germany and imperial Japan and prepare the US for the eventual Cold War against the USSR. Under the Truman administration, the President and his team declared the US would aid anyone in the fight against communism, supporting allies in Korea, the MidEast, Latin America, and Europe against the USSR’s expansion. President Truman committed US air, ground, and naval forces to the combined UN forces helping Korea against communist North Korea, sending US General Douglas MacArthur as Commanding General of the UN Command. Another success of the Truman Presidency was the recognition and support of the Jewish state of Israel, which was battling hostile-Arab countries seeking to invade. Truman’s recognition of Israel created decades of economic and military alliance between the two nations.
2. Dwight Eisenhower
Following the end of World War II and Harry Truman’s Presidency, former US Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe, Dwight D. Eisenhower, came into office, arguing that active US engagement in world affairs was the best way of presenting democracy to nations fearful of the Soviet Union. Regarding the arms race, President Eisenhower thought that buildup of a stockpile of nuclear weapons and delivery systems to prevent military threats was the best foreign policy route against the Soviet Union. Under the Eisenhower administration, the US engaged in covert operations, including in Iran and Guatemala, to prevent the spread of communism’s influence and secure America’s interests. Fearing the spread of Communism in Asia, President Eisenhower chose to supply South Vietnam with military advisors, sending money and prestige while also assisting nations like Indonesia and Burma. The administration maintained dialogue between the US and the USSR, which was necessary for world security at the time, even though both sides did not trust each other and were building their nuclear weaponry. The President and his foreign policy team managed to work with the USSR on an agreement that banned nuclear testing in the atmosphere, which was hailed as historic by many.
3. Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon’s administration focused heavily on foreign policy objectives that would contain communism. Under the Nixon administration, the President and his foreign policy team worked hard to reach an agreement with the Soviet Union on the limitation of anti-ballistic missiles between the two superpowers and an interim agreement on strategic missile weaponry. While many question Nixon’s policies of opening up relations with the Chinese communist government, foreign policy analysts note that the President created an ideological wedge between Moscow and Beijing, splitting up two of the most ardent communist states and eventually leading to the USSR’s downfall. With the Soviet Union trying to overthrow regimes in places like the Middle East, Latin America, and other parts of the world, Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger supported allies, including the Shah of Iran, the Saudi Arabian monarchy, and the Chilean government under General Augusto Pinochet to prevent Communist insurgencies from taking over. Nixon strengthened America’s relationship with Israel by providing much-needed military weaponry, given that, at the time, the small country was constantly under attack by neighboring Arab states.
4. Ronald Reagan
After years of the failed-Carter administration, Republican President Ronald Reagan upended the conventional wisdom of US-Cold War policy by confronting the Soviet Union and its international presence on the world stage. Reagan increased military spending and readiness, promising to bring peace through strength and defend America’s national interests in the Middle East, Latin America, and Europe against communism. In Latin America, the President and his advisers focused on El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Cuba, supporting groups like the Contras to combat communist governments and insurgencies. The Reagan administration worked with Israel, formalizing strategic military cooperation between the Pentagon and IDF, strengthening Israel’s military capability. As the Iran-Iraq war was waging, the Reagan administration sent the US Navy to defend oil shipments from Arab states against Islamic Republic forces resulting in the near destruction of Tehran’s navy and the defense of US interests. Reagan exposed the economic, political, and military weaknesses of the Soviet Union, resulting in the eventual fall of the USSR and the end of communism.
5. Donald Trump
Throughout the four years of the Trump administration, the President and his foreign policy team were known for their unpredictability, going-around diplomatic conventions, and creating stronger relations with traditional allies. Once in office, President Trump called for NATO allies to increase military spending to defend their countries, supplied Ukraine with deadly weaponry against Russia, and called on the EU to address the issue of immigration felt by Europe and the US regarding national security. Trump renewed ties with Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which had been given the cold shoulder under the Obama administration, strengthening economic and military relations with their governments against the Islamic Republic of Iran. President Trump also brokered several peace agreements between Israel, Bahrain, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Sudan, surprising many and resulting in new economic and military opportunities between the Arab states and Israel. The move of the US Embassy to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, and the revocation of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement were two other successes of the administration’s foreign policy, strengthening America and Israel’s relationship and security of America’s interest in the Middle East against Islamic terrorism. In Asia, the Trump administration focused on China and its growing presence, taking a more confrontational approach against Beijing in economic trade and relations.