Throughout the history of the United States, the country’s presidents have worked hard to strike the right balance between achievements in the global arena and the well-being of its citizens. For instance, Kennedy supported a range of diplomatic initiatives during his presidency, including the creation of the Alliance for Progress in the 1960s (Offiler, 2015). Additionally, Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (1963) into law, thus contributing to the elimination of discrimination on the basis of sex.
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As for Johnson and Nixon, both of them aimed to prevent unexpected changes in U.S.-Iran relations and the resulting economic effects by expanding and improving Kennedy’s policy of gaining the Shah’s favor (Offiler, 2015). Thus, the presidents used a variety of direct and indirect ways to achieve economic stability and improve people’s quality of life.
To continue, Johnson’s and Nixon’s contributions to the United States’ social improvements were rather different as they had to deal with dissimilar social problems. In particular, Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 first proposed by Kennedy (Hersch & Shinall, 2015). Nixon supported the Tax Reform Act of 1969 to increase the tax burden on high-income individuals and organizations (Sharma & Singh, 2015).
As for Reagan, he planned to boost economic development and improvements for people by signing the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, and he also supported the Strategic Defense Initiative (Frankel, 2017). The SDI was designed to find the best way to apply the country’s financial assets and increase its readiness to respond to nuclear threats.
Although the mentioned policies were expected to strengthen the United States, not all of them actually produced positive results. Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress caused insignificant economic advances, whereas the EPA definitely improved the recognition of the wage gap as a serious problem, thus strengthening the country. Concerning foreign policies supported by Nixon and Johnson, it is reasonable to think that they strengthened the United States by improving its relationships with Middle Eastern powers.
Nixon’s domestic policy decisions (tax reforms) led to the introduction of the alternative minimum tax that had multiple limitations for taxpayers but strengthened the country in terms of funds. The Civil Rights Act signed by Johnson more than fifty years ago reduced racial segregation, thus improving life in the United States (Hersch & Shinall, 2015). Reagan’s Economic Recovery Tax Act is regarded as a set of poorly coordinated decisions that could not strengthen the U.S. economy on its own (Frankel, 2017). At the same time, this president’s SDI possibly weakened the country due to the ineffective use of pecuniary resources.
As is clear from the discussion above, the selected presidents tried to serve the public interest by supporting revolutionary initiatives to decrease economic stratification and prohibit the unfair treatment of minority and disadvantaged groups. Concerning furthering the cause of democracy, some of the presidents worked to achieve this goal with the help of measures to protect human rights and make elitist and discriminatory practices inappropriate. Importantly, the significance of foreign policy efforts in this regard is difficult to estimate because of intercultural differences and similar issues.
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Finally, unlike preventive wars that do not require the evidence of threats to security to be initiated, preemptive wars are not considered illegal but are still regarded as a controversial problem. As is clear from the analysis by John Mitchell, the U.S. Constitution does not give the government the power to use military resources to fight preemptive wars (Montague, 2018). Concerning the cornerstones of the country’s foreign policy, morality and human rights should always be taken into account when making foreign policy decisions. It is true because both elements present key values recognized by the global political system, and neglecting them would give rise to crimes for the sake of the citizens of particular countries.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963, Pub. L. 88–38 (1963).
Frankel, J. (2017). Reagan’s tax reform, revisited. Project Syndicate, 1-2.
Hersch, J., & Shinall, J. B. (2015). Fifty years later: The legacy of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 34(2), 424-456.
Montague, P. (2018). Preemptive war, war powers, and international complications: A need for reform. Brigham Young University Prelaw Review, 32(1), 89-100.
Offiler, B. (2015). US foreign policy and the modernization of Iran: Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and the Shah. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.
Sharma, R., & Singh, N. (2015). Use of depreciation as a tax policy device to control inflation. Review of Business & Finance Studies, 6(1), 13-26.