The real genius of the Nixon Presidency was the foreign policy. President Nixon and his National Security Director, could simply see things happening twenty-years in advance. I don’t believe we’ve ever had two people that high up in the U.S. Government that knew so much about foreign policy and national security than Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. But President George H.W. Bush and his National Security Adviser, perhaps come close. Nixon/Kissinger, looked at both the world that they wanted and the world the way it was. And based on those two things tried to make the world as safe as possible.
Nixon/Kissinger, saw the Soviet Union, a country back then of around four-hundred-million people and physically the largest country in the world and the People’s Republic of China, already with a billion people back then and physically the fourth largest country in the world, just behind the United States, as trading partners. Even though we were enemies with both of them. But they believed the way you get bad guys to behave well is for their people to see what your country has to offer and how other countries govern themselves. I don’t believe the democratic awakening in the Slavic States in Eastern Europe like Poland happens in the late 1970s and 80s, without Russia being opened up in the early 1970s.
Nixon/Kissinger saw a day without the Soviet Union in the early 1970s. It happened twenty-years later, but they saw the end of the Soviet Union by the early 1970s. And wanted to open a relationship and dialogue between the two government’s and people’s before that day came and if anything to speed up that transition. While everyone else Left and Right was talking about containment of Russia in the early 1970s, President Nixon was interested in actually defeating Russian communism politically and economically. Let the Russian people know how bad their form of government and economic system is. And give them incentive to look at other systems around the world.
Ronald Reagan did not win the Cold War. No one President can win a war like that by themselves. President Reagan presided over the end of the Cold War in the 1980s and put in policies to see that happen. Like continuing with the military buildup, which actually started under President Gerald Ford and continued with President Jimmy Carter. And with the nuclear arms agreements with Russia. And with President Mikhail Gorbachev of the Soviet Union, putting in economic polices to move Russia passed Marxism economically.
The ending of the Cold War started under the President Nixon. And even Russia did have a military buildup in the late 1970s and were on the move in the Middle East and Central Asia, like in Afghanistan, they weren’t economically strong enough to sustain that. Their economy was already collapsing then because they were spending so much on defense and were going through economic shortages as a result. Not saying that President saw all of this happening, but opening up a country that huge and letting their people see your country, gave the Russian people a chance to see what a wealthy free country looks like. And President Nixon and Henry Kissinger deserve a lot of credit for that.