In his recent U.S. World and News Report article Michael Barone makes an interesting comparison between George Bush and Harry Truman in relation to the historical events during their time in office. Barone points out that bold action was the only solution for Truman in the 1950s and bold, unpopular decisions have been on Bush's agenda as well. Barone states:
Bold action: The Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan in 1947, the Berlin airlift in 1948, the NATO Treaty in 1949, the Korean war in 1950. None of these was uncontroversial, and none was perfectly executed. And this was only the beginning. It took 40 years--many of them filled with angry controversy--to win the Cold War.
The struggles against Soviet communism and Islamofascist terrorists are of course not identical. But there are similarities. "Like the Cold War, we are fighting the followers of a murderous ideology that despises the Cold War, they're seeking weapons of mass murder that would allow them to deliver catastrophic destruction to our country."
Read the full text here.
The one thing that sprang to mind as I read this article was talk within the last few months about judging the Bush presidency. I know that during the implementation of the Marshall Plan there were people who denounced it. The Korean War was poorly executed in many instances and at the time those critics were justified to their opinions. These same critics would not have been justified in judging the whole Truman presidency, however, because it was too soon.
The passage of time has removed all barriers and blinders. We are able to see that the Korean War along with many other events that followed were all one long chain of events that made up what we describe as the Cold War. Truman's actions were some of the first to combat communism and those actions did eventually lead to the U.S. being the last man standing.
No one knows how the War on Terror will play out. Two things are for certain... history will remember George Bush for being decisive and acting against terrorists, and another U.S. president will be in office when the War on Terror is over. I only hope it won't be as long as the Cold War.