Henry Stimson

Protectionism And Isolationism: Herbert Hoover And Donald Trump

Eighty six years ago, President Herbert Hoover signed into law the most protectionist tariff law in American history, the Smoot Hawley Tariff of 1930, over the strong opposition of hundreds of economists who signed newspaper ads opposing the cutoff of foreign trade in the early months of the Great Depression.

These economists warned that creating tariff walls would backfire on the US economy, but Hoover did not listen, and he paid the price of a much worsening depression, leading to his defeat in 1932 for reelection by Franklin D. Roosevelt

Hoover also pursued a foreign policy of isolationism, refusing to participate in the League of Nations, and issuing the Stimson Doctrine in 1932, named after the Secretary of State, Henry Stimson. This document declared the US refusal to recognize the aggression by Japan against Manchuria, part of China in 1931, but making clear that no military or other action would be taken against foreign aggression anywhere in the world.

Hoover continued to be an isolationist after the Presidency, and opposed US entrance into World War II until after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December, 1941.

Now, Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is taking similar stands on both protectionism and isolationism, a pivot from the modern tradition of the Republican Party, and considered by many to be a major mistake in both domestic and foreign policy.

Joint Party Tickets A Good Idea? History Tells Us NO!

Recently, there has been some discussion of a “fusion” ticket as the way to stop Donald Trump.

One such scenario is to have Hillary Clinton run with John Kasich as her running mate.

That is totally preposterous, and history tells us that when the Vice President is of a different party than the President, it does not work out well.

The first contested Presidential election led to Thomas Jefferson as Vice President under his opponent, John Adams from 1797-1801, and that did not work out well, and in fact, helped to promote the 12th Amendment in 1804.

Then we had John C. Calhoun as Vice President under John Quincy Adams in the years 1825-1829, and that did not work out well.

William Henry Harrison was elected in 1840 with this Whig candidate having a Democrat, John Tyler, as his Vice President.  Within a month, Harrison was dead, and Tyler had constant battles with the Whig Congress, because he did not wish to follow Whig platform ideas.

Abraham Lincoln chose Andrew Johnson as his second term Vice President, despite the fact that Johnson was a Democrat in a Republican Presidency, and when Lincoln was assassinated six weeks later, we had one of the worst struggles in American history, as Johnson fought and resisted the Republican Party which had put him into the Vice Presidency, albeit briefly.

With these four examples, none of them working out well, we have never had such a situation arise again since, but we have had suggestions of doing what has never worked out well.

There were suggestions that Hubert Humphrey select Nelson Rockefeller in 1968, and that John McCain choose Joe Lieberman in 2008.

It simply will not work, and it undermines party loyalty and commitment to a President and his administration, if the next in line, in case of tragedy, transforms the power base in the Presidency.

As it is, we have had top cabinet members who are of the other party, particularly in the War Department as it was known before 1947, and the Defense Department, as it has been known since then., including:

Henry Stimson under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1940-1945

Robert McNamara under John F. Kennedy, beginning in 1961, and continuing under Lyndon B. Johnson until 1968.

William Cohen under Bill Clinton from 1997-2001

Robert Gates under Barack Obama from 2009-2011

But the Vice President needs to be “on the team”, not a rival of the President in office!

 

Secretary Of State: More Prominent Public Figures Historically Than Presidency!

The Secretary of State serves at the will of the President of the United States, and its ranks have included future Presidents; Presidential candidates who were Secretary of State and later lose the Presidency; Presidential losers who then become Secretary of State; and Presidential contenders who do not get nominated for President, but later become Secretary of State. The Secretary of State also is often a great public figure who becomes notable for his background, without having sought the Presidency. Witness the following:

Presidents who were Secretary of State—Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, James Buchanan

Presidential candidates who were Secretary of State and later lose the Presidency—Henry Clay, James G. Blaine

Presidential Losers who then become Secretary of State—Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Lewis Cass, James G. Blaine, William Jennings Bryan, Charles Evans Hughes, John Kerry

Presidential contenders who do not get nominated for President, but later become Secretary of State—John C. Calhoun, William Seward, Edmund Muskie, Hillary Clinton.

Great public figures notable for their background, without having sought the Presidency, but become Secretary of State—John Marshall, Edward Everett, Hamilton Fish, William Evarts, Richard Olney, John Sherman, John Hay, Elihu Root, Robert Lansing, Frank Kellogg, Henry Stimson, Cordell Hull, James F. Byrnes, George C. Marshall, Dean Acheson, John Foster Dulles, Dean Rusk, Henry Kissinger, Cyrus Vance, George P. Shultz, James Baker, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice.

So 42 of the 68 people who have served as Secretary of State are prominent in American history, while some of our 43 Presidents have NOT been notable in their careers or in their Presidency!

“Crossing The Aisle”: BiPartisanship Of America’s Presidents From FDR To Obama

A common theme in American history is the “crossing of the aisle”, the bipartisanship encouraged by just about every American President, and the utilizing of leaders of the opposition party to help make his administration successful.

Franklin D. Roosevelt had Henry Stimson as his Secretary of War from 1940-45, with Stimson having served as Secretary of State under Herbert Hoover. He also had Frank Knox as Secretary of the Navy from 1940-1944, who had been the Republican Vice Presidential nominee in 1936.

Harry Truman had Warren Austin as his United Nations Ambassador from 1947 to 1953.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had Robert Anderson in various roles, as Secretary of the Navy, Deputy Secretary of Defense, and Secretary of the Treasury, during his eight years in office from 1953 to 1961.

John F. Kennedy had Robert McNamara as his Secretary of Defense and D. Douglas Dillon as his Secretary of the Treasury and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (who he had defeated for the Senate in 1952, as his Ambassador to South Vietnam.

Lyndon B. Johnson kept on McNamara, Dillon and Lodge as close advisers in his administration, after he succeeded to the Presidency upon Kennedy’s death.

Richard Nixon had Sargent Shriver as Ambassador to France, John Connally as Secretary of the Treasury, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan as Ambassador to India.

Gerald Ford had Moynihan stay on as Ambassador to India, and then as Ambassador to the United Nations.

Jimmy Carter had James Schlesinger as Secretary of Energy, and Lawrence Eagleburger as Ambassador to Yugoslavia.

Ronald Reagan has Mike Mansfield at Ambassador to Japan, Jeane Kirkpatrick as Ambassador to the United Nations, William Bennett as Secretary of Education, and Paul Volcker as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

George H. W. Bush had Richard Stone as Ambassador to Denmark, and Robert Strauss as Ambassador to the Soviet Union.

Bill Clinton had Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve and William Cohen as Secretary of Defense.

George W. Bush had Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation.

And Barack Obama has had Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, Ray LaHood as Secretary of Transportation, Jon Huntsman as Ambassador to China, John McHugh as Secretary of the Army, Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and now has pending the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense.

Notice that Obama has had more members of the opposition party in his administration than any President!

As John Kerry Becomes Secretary Of State, An Assessment Of The Most Influential Secretaries Of State In American History

With Hillary Clinton leaving the State Department, and John Kerry becoming the 68th Secretary of State, it is a good time to assess who are the most influential Secretaries of State we have had in American history.

Notice I say “most influential”, rather than “best”, as that is a better way to judge diplomatic leadership in the State Department.

Without ranking them, which is very difficult, we will examine the Secretaries of State who have had the greatest impact, in chronological order:

Thomas Jefferson (1789-1793) under President George Washington—set the standard for the department, and was probably the most brilliant man ever to head the State Department.

John Quincy Adams (1825-1829) under President James Monroe—brought about the Monroe Doctrine, treaties with Canada, and the acquisition of Florida.

William H. Seward (1861-1869) under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson—brought about the neutrality of Great Britain and France in the Civil War, and purchased Alaska from Czarist Russia, a fortunate development.

Hamilton Fish (1869-1877) under President Ulysses S. Grant—involved in many diplomatic issues in Latin America, had America become more engaged in Hawaii, and settled differences with Great Britain, and often considered the major bright spot in the tragic Grant Presidency.

James G. Blaine (1881, 1889-1892) under Presidents James A. Garfield and Chester Alan Arthur briefly, and full term under President Benjamin Harrison—helped to bring about eventual takeover of Hawaii, and promoted the concept of a canal in Central America.

John Hay (1898-1905) under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt—-involved in the issues after the Spanish American War, including involvement in the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and a major influence over TR’s diplomatic initiatives in his first term.

Elihu Root (1905-1909) under President Theodore Roosevelt—-a great influence in TR’s growing involvement in world affairs in his second term in office.

Robert Lansing (1915-1920) under President Woodrow Wilson—a major player in American entrance in World War I and at the Versailles Peace Conference.

Charles Evan Hughes (1921-1925) under Presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge—-had major role in Washington Naval Agreements in 1922.

Henry Stimson (1929-1933) under President Herbert Hoover—-was a major critic of Japanese expansion, as expressed in the Stimson Doctrine of 1932.

Cordell Hull (1933-1944) under President Franklin D. Roosevelt—-was the longest lasting Secretary of State, nearly the whole term of FDR, and very much involved in all of the President’s foreign policy decisions.

Dean Acheson (1949-1953) under President Harry Truman—-involved in the major decisions of the early Cold War, including the Korean War intervention.

John Foster Dulles (1953-1959) under President Dwight D. Eisenhower—had controversial views on Cold War policy with the Soviet Union, including “massive retaliation”.

Dean Rusk (1961-1969) under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson—highly controversial advocate of the Vietnam War escalation, but served under the complete terms of two Presidents, and never backed away from his views on the Cold War.

Henry Kissinger (1973-1977) under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford—-easily one of the most influential figures in the shaping of foreign policy in American history, earlier having served as National Security Adviser.

George Shultz, (1982-1989) under President Ronald Reagan—-very close adviser to the President on his major foreign policy initiatives.

James Baker (1989-1992) under President George H. W. Bush—very significant in Persian Gulf War and end of Cold War policies.

Madeleine Albright (1997-2001) under President Bill Clinton—-first woman Secretary of State and played major role in many issues that arose.

Colin Powell (2001-2005) under President George W. Bush—-involved in the justification of the Iraq War based on Weapons of Mass Destruction, which undermined his reputation because of the lack of evidence on WMDs.

Condoleezza Rice (2005-2009) under President George W. Bush—second woman Secretary of State and intimately involved in policy making.

Hillary Clinton (2009-2013) under President Barack Obama—third woman Secretary of State, and hailed by most as a major contributor to Obama’s foreign policy initiatives.

This is a list of 21 out of the 68 Secretaries of State, but also there are 15 other Secretaries of State who were influential historical figures, including:

John Marshall
James Madison
James Monroe
Henry Clay
Martin Van Buren
Daniel Webster
John C. Calhoun
James Buchanan
Lewis Cass
William Jennings Bryan
George Marshall
Cyrus Vance
Edmund Muskie
Alexander Haig
Warren Christopher

So a total of 36 out of 68 Secretaries of State have been major figures in American history, and contributed to the diplomatic development of the United States in world affairs!

Best Team For America’s Future Security: John Kerry For Secretary Of State, And Chuck Hagel For Secretary Of Defense

In the midst of the “Fiscal Cliff” battle, President Obama is also deep into Cabinet selection, and it was heartening to hear that former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican who served in Vietnam and became an acknowledged expert on foreign policy in his years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been at the White House, and is a hot candidate for Secretary of Defense.

This author has long raved about the credentials of Hagel, and suggested him for the cabinet in the first term, and it now seems more likely that he might become the head of the Pentagon when Leon Panetta leaves soon.

This would be continuing the tradition of past Democratic Presidents to decide to choose reputable Republicans for the Defense Department, and it even goes back to when it was called the War Department before 1947.

The historical record shows Franklin D. Roosevelt having Henry Stimson, former Secretary of State under Herbert Hoover, as his Secretary of War, along with Frank Knox, who had been the Republican Vice Presidential nominee in 1936, being named Secretary of the Navy, both in 1940, when Great Britain was being attacked by the German Air Force in World War II, and the threat to America was seen as dire by many as a result.

John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson utilized Robert McNamara as Secretary of Defense in the 1960’s.

Bill Clinton had former Maine Senator William Cohen, a responsible and reputable Republican Senator, as his Secretary of Defense in the second term, and he received kudos for his performance.

And Robert Gates, George W. Bush’s second Secretary of Defense, became Barack Obama’s first Secretary of Defense, and did a wonderful job for more than two years.

So the reasoning to pick Hagel is clearly there, but to make the foreign policy-defense team complete, the President also needs to choose Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, a Vietnam War veteran too, and 2004 Democratic Party Presidential nominee, to replace Hillary Clinton at the State Department, after 28 years of service in the US Senate, and chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry has had a distinguished career, and would be an excellent choice, and the team of Kerry and Hagel would be sensational.

In a time of trouble and turmoil, America needs its strongest team on national security, and Kerry and Hagel fit the bill, without any question or doubt.

Susan Rice, the UN Ambassador, is also outstanding in many ways, but quite frankly, is not on the same level as Kerry, and her nomination would cause unnecessary turmoil over the issue of Libya, a sad commentary, but a distraction which should not be allowed to continue by choosing her, when Kerry is really a better choice!

So, Mr. President, pick John Kerry for State and Chuck Hagel for Defense, and America will be very well served at Foggy Bottom and the Pentagon!

A Fascinating Idea! Former Republican Senators Richard Lugar And Chuck Hagel As Secretary Of State And Secretary Of Defense In Second Obama Term!

A fascinating idea has surfaced, which is very exciting in many ways.

It is clear that there will be a reshuffling of President Obama’s cabinet over the next few months, and two openings will certainly be likely in the State Department and the Defense Department.

For State, it has been suggested that Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee, might take the post. Also, Susan Rice, United Nations Ambassador, is mentioned. Both would be wonderful in the position.

BUT there is a school of thought that IF President Obama wanted to show bipartisanship, he could do what Franklin D. Roosevelt did in World War II–pick Republicans who are intelligent, sane, responsible, and who are no longer serving in the Senate, to serve in his cabinet, and the State Department would offer a great location to put soon to be former Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, an acknowledged foreign policy expert, and a man who has worked well with Obama when they were both Senators, and went off to Russia to promote the safe collection of nuclear weapons stockpiles in 2005-2006. Lugar is a wonderful statesman, and would fill the job with excellence and professionalism. And he has been, like Kerry, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman in the past, and is still the ranking member of the committee until he leaves the Senate in January.

Additionally, as suggested earlier, former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a Vietnam War veteran and military expert, would be an excellent choice to serve in the Pentagon as Secretary of Defense. Always highly regarded and respected, Hagel would add stature to our Defense Department.

Such appointments would neutralize, to a great extent, Republican attacks on President Obama in the areas of foreign policy, national security, and defense policy.

If FDR could have Republicans Henry Stimson as Secretary of War, and Frank Knox as Secretary of the Navy in 1940 and after, why cannot Barack Obama make a smart move that would help his administration to succeed, and also promote bipartisanship, at a time when it is desperately needed?