Foreign Affairs on Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton

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Foreign Affairs

Foreign affairs during the presidential terms of Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Senior, and William "Bill" Clinton battled with conflicts mainly involving the Soviet Union, until its collapse in 1991, and the Middle East. Some of these presidents handled foreign affairs very well and tactful, yet others did a poor job at keeping things in order and dealing with the affairs. Although a mixture of Republicans and Democrats, the presidents shared the same goal of making peace with foreign countries and preventing war with hostile nations.

Gerald Ford, the thirty-eighth president of the United States of America came took the oath in office on August 9, 1974 after Nixon had resigned. He was known as the "Accidental President" and declared, "I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances... This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts," after swearing in. Ford had been vice president for the previous two years under Nixon's term until his resignation. Ford was viewed by himself as a dyed-in-the-wool internationalist in foreign affairs. For the first term of his presidency, Ford entrusted the foreign policy in the hands of the US Secretary of State, Kissinger, which gave Ford plenty of time to meet and become friends with world leaders. Ford met with the Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhneve and the leaders of other European nations to sign the Helsinki Accords in 1975, which recognized the existing boundaries after the second world war. Strong states on human rights, which later in the Carter term would be used to hold the Soviets responsible for their actions in the Eastern European nations were included in the accords. Mr. Ford called for greater increases in defense spending to throw back at his critics who said that the accords had accepted the Soviet ruling in eastern European countries. Disagreements dealing with limits on Soviet bombers and American cruise missiles resulted in a failure to talk about negotiating and agreeing with the Soviet Union about limiting production and deployment of nuclear weapons.

The communist armies of Laos, South Vietnam, and Cambodia consolidated their ruling over all of Indochina during President Ford's term. In 1974 he asked for an infusion to help aid the Southern Vietnam troops to fight back against a major offensive force in the north. The US congress turned this down and refused to honor a commitment made by the notorious former president, Richard Nixon to help the South in case of an invasion. Ford had little choice but to order the evacuation of all of the American troops as communist troops seized on Saigon in 1975. The north had infiltrated all of the South within days. Khmer Rouge, Cambodian communists, charged an American cargo ship with its thirty-eight American crew on board. The president, mandated a commando raid to release the crew. In the raid, forty-five Americans were killed on the island of Koh Tang. Kissinger and Ford showed the return of the ship as a victory on the US's part which led to Ford gaining more public support.

Major Investigations were going on during Ford's term in the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1976, a Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations gave out a report which showed the CIA as a group ran demoniacally by covert operations going beyond presidential guidelines, deception in testimony before Congress, and the assassination attempts against foreign leaders ordered by Eisenhower and Kennedy.

In 1976 the Outsider President, Jimmy Carter, took office and tried his hardest to keep up the American expectations of the nation. In foreign affairs, Carter set his own style. He pushed for human rights which was looked down on by the Soviet Union and other nations. Carter helped bring friendship between Egypt and Israel through the Camp David agreement of 1978. He obtained the ratification of the Panama treaties and established full diplomatic...
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