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How have recent U.S. Presidents dealt with domestic and foreign issues?

The Cold War and Post Cold War eras have made for some rather interesting political decisions. These have been difficult and challenging times. Politics as well as the American people have changed. From Richard Nixon's famous "I am not a crook" to Ronald Reagan's "Evil Empire" and who could forget William Clinton's "I did not have _ _ _ with that woman," American Presidents have come under enormous scrutiny. Below you will find a brief outline of the foreign and domestic policies and issues that our more recent presidents have had to deal with.

Recent Presidential Policies and Developments

A. Richard M. Nixon (1969 - 1974)

Foreign Policies

1. War Powers Act - Signed in 1973 over a Presidential Veto, this act mandated that the President notify Congress 48 hours sending troops into action. If troops are fighting abroad for more than 90 days then the President must ask Congressional permission. This was a reaction to the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that had given President Johnson permission to use troops in Vietnam as he saw fit.

2. Realpolitik - policy of focusing on realities rather than ideals developed in the recognition that all nations pursue policies that are in their self interest.

3. Detente, SALT 1, Grain deal with Soviet Union

4. Normalizing relations with China.

5. Pulled out of Vietnam

Domestic Policies

1. Had to deal with stagflation, a situation where the economy slows and there is inflation which produced difficult economic times.

2. Oil prices jumped due to an Arab oil embargo in 1973.

3. Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

4. The Watergate Affair -Nixon underlings caught breaking into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel. Nixon refused to turn over tapes of the incident citing executive privileged. The Supreme Court ruled that had to turn them over. President Nixon forced to resign


B. Gerald R. Ford (1974 - 1977)

Foreign Policy

1. Continue Detente

Domestic Policies

1. Pardoned Nixon

2. Attempted to cut government spending. Vetoed dozens of spending bills.

C. James Earl (Jimmy) Carter (1977-1981)

Foreign Policy

1. Placed an emphasis on Human Rights.

2. Brokered the Camp David Accords bringing peace between Egypt and Israel.

3. Arranged to give back the Panama Canal.

4. Hostages taken in Tehran. Iran by the Ayatollah Khomeini, an Islamic fundamentalist. Unable to secure their release.

Domestic Policy

1. Begins deregulation of many industries.

2. Set voluntary wage and price guidelines.

3. Failed to gain the support of Congress.

4. Developed the MX missile project and the B-2 Bomber

D. Ronald Reagan (1981 - 1989)

Foreign Policy

1. Hostages in Iran released.

2. Held Summit meetings with Gorbachev.

3. Embroiled in controversy over giving aid to Nicaraguan rebel known as the "Contras." Money for this aid had come from secretly selling weapons to the Iranians. Col. Oliver North was in charge of the operation. When questioned by Congress Reagan claimed, "I do not recall."

4. US troops sent to Lebanon to enforce a peace there. Hundreds killed by a suicide bomber.

5. US troops invade Grenada.

6. Begins the Strategic Defense Initiative aka "star wars" defense spending program.

Domestic Policy

1. Known as the "Great Communicator" he was a conservative who had much popular support.

2. Economic policy known as Reaganomics was a supply side spending program that called for tax cuts to the rich.

3. Cut spending on social programs.

4. Takes deficit spending to a new level. The national debt soars from 280 billion to about two trillion dollars.

5. Supervises payoff of consumers during the Savings and Loan Crisis.

6. Continued deregulation

E. George Herbert Walker Bush (1989 - 1991)

Foreign Policy

1. Invaded Panama to depose dictator and drug kingpin Manuel Noriega.

2. Conducted Operation Desert Storm to oppose Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.

3. Continued to aid and negotiate with new Russian President Boris Yeltsin.

Domestic Policy

1. Conducted the "War on Drugs"

2. Began national educational reform.

3. Raised taxes and lowered medicare payments.

4. Continued bailout of S&L's

5. Nation in recession, high intrest rates and heavy foerign debt.

F. William Jefferson Clinton (1991 - Present)

Foreign Policies

1. Continued support of Boris Yeltsin.

2. Sends troops to Somalia, Haiti and Bosnia as peace keepers.

3. Attempts to negotiate peace between Bosnia and Serbia (Dayton Accords are signed) and between Israel and the PLO.

4. Signs the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) eliminating tariffs between the US, Mexico and Canada.

5. Signs agreement with Japan that opens up limited Japanese markets to US companies.

6. Leads strikes against Hussein in Iraq.

7. Leads NATO to attack the Serbians in Kosovo

Domestic Policies

1. Supports gays in the military but then backs down and endorses a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

2. Is embroiled in numerous sandals involving: a land deal in his home state of Arkansas known as "Whitewater," alleged extramarital affairs (see below), the firing of the entire White House travel office staff, the death of White House lawyer Vincent Foster, problems with their old tax returns, Wife Hillary Rodham Clinton missing documents connecting her to financial dealings, the finding of those papers in Mrs. Clinton's study, the resignation and indictment of Department of Justice lawyer Webster Hubbell a friend of Mrs. Clinton, questions concerning illegal campaign contributions by Chinese citizens and having contributors sleep in the White House (Charlie Tree a Chinese Clinton supporter is eventually tried and found guilty), the Paula Corbin Jones sexual harassment trial, Kenneth Starr's independent counsel investigation, MONICA, impeachment and acquittal, Chinese stealing secrets from US nuclear testing we really need to go on???

3. Fails to pass health care reform.

4. Signs a bill he had originally opposed to end federal welfare payments.

5. Vows to lead educational reform.

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