Should the U.S. Police the World?From the Collections: The Presidents | Leadership in times of crisis
Within weeks after the U.S. took Baghdad, Iraq ground to a halt and became a free-for-all, as homes and stores, museums, hospitals and electric plants were looted. "There was a decision to be lean and count on others showing up to secure the peace,” recalled chief of staff Andrew Card. “There was not as much discussion that I remember in the National Security Council about the process of organizing a government and identifying leaders."
When Bosnian Serb soldiers murdered thousands in July 1995, Clinton initiated a massive NATO military response. "He didn't blink," National Security Coordinator Richard Clarke said. "We knew that day that we had a commander-in-chief who was rational and comfortable with the use of force."
War in the Persian Gulf
H.W. Bush initiated a war in Iraq instead of imposing economic sanctions, drawing criticism from the American people and members of Congress.
Aiding Freedom Fighters
In 1981, Reagan aided the Polish workers movement. "If Poland were freed, [he] felt all Eastern Europe would follow."
In 1964, American bombers striking deep into North Vietnam demonstrated that Johnson was a committed anti-Communist.
The Vietnam Question
Kennedy felt buildup of a military arsenal wasn't enough to show the United States would not cower to communism. So he decided to make a stand in a place few Americans at the time had ever heard of: Vietnam.
In 1938, Roosevelt broadcast a personal appeal to Hitler, asking him to halt further aggression. In reply, Hitler ridiculed the president with withering sarcasm.