Foreign Policy: Evaluating Nixon's and Eisenhower's Use of Power

3304 Words Oct 1st, 2012 14 Pages
Modern Presidency
Research Paper

Foreign Policy: Evaluating Nixon’s and Eisenhower’s’ Use of Power
Both President Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon were presidents during the cold war. Their uses of presidential power within foreign policy greatly shaped the United State’s strategies in cold war politics. Comparing their actions as Chief Diplomat, Chief Legislator, Chief Executive and Commander in Chief shows how they have used both their formal and informal powers to lead the nation. President Eisenhower was much more successful in gaining congress approval through working with them yet had much more trouble dealing with peace abroad. Nixon was able to use powers to make successful gains within the cold war abroad, yet had trouble
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Nixon was able to limit congress’s oversight of his administration, and the publics control by using the Chief Diplomat formal power of secrecy. He wanted to use these formal powers to show that the president could plan and execute foreign policy as efficiently as historic leaders (Small 1999, 61). Nixon used his power of executive agreements manipulatively in a strategy that he called, linkage politics; this is a term for strategically organizing the United States relationships with communist powers (Small 1999, 63). Nixon knew that he must settle the Vietnam War with honor because it was a stake in Southeast Asia. Using his theory of linkage politics he saw that the end of the Vietnam War would affect negotiations with China and Russia (Small, 1999 65). He first tried to make an executive agreement with Russia, by explaining to them his idea of “strategic parity. This was an idea that because both nations had enough weapons to completely demolishes the other, neither should start war, and peace would continue. Like Eisenhower’s attempts, Nixon was unable to make an agreement with the USSR and talks continued to be slow (PBS Nixon 2002, 2). Playing the China card was a new way Nixon was able to integrate his idea of linkage politics. His theory was that because China was afraid of the Soviets, they may purse relations with the United States, which in return, would help control the USSR (PBS Nixon
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