Chapter 10 and 11 - Assignment Example

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Chapter 10 and 11
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The Rise and Fall of The American Century Examples of Richard Nixon’s "Dualism" Simply put, dualism refers to the use of perpetual binary opposition of elements or principles of powers and governance. For instance, the doctrine of separation of powers may apply herein, when it vouches for the need for the executive and the legislature to work independently without interference. It is not in doubt that Nixon also used dualism in his approach to politics and administration.
An apt exemplification of Nixon’s use of dualism is his attempt to defend his willful failure to provide documents to the Congress during the investigation of the Watergate scandal. Actually, Wilson invoked the principle of confidentiality and sought to use it against the
mandate of the rule of law.  Particularly, Nixon sought to exploit the idea that the principle of confidentiality was abstract enough to conflict the rule of law.  Thus, to defend his decision not to hand over the documents, Nixon argued that the right to confidentiality was the most paramount legal term.
2- Richard Nixon’s Appeal in the Election Of 1972
It is a fact that by 1972, Nixon’s appeal had started to wane. This follows the fact that he had been elected in 1968 mainly because of his “Nixon Secret Plan” that would have seen him stop the Vietnam War immediately he became president. Because Americans were decisively against the Vietnam War, Nixon secured the largest victory in 1968. However, four years later, he had not yet stopped this war. Growing nationwide antiwar protests and demonstrations which Nixon described as ‘a tiny but vociferous’ minority was an indicator of this waning popularity. To counter this unpromising development, Nixon controversially stated that there was a silent majority that understood the need for his administration to keep the war going, as an end to peace and honor (Chafe, 2009).
The recession that raised inflation and interest rates to double digits also helped puncture Nixon’s popularity. The Watergate scandal also serves as a clear testimony that Nixon himself seriously considered his waning popularity a reality.
3-Decline in the 1970s: Why Americans Felt the Country Was Falling Apart
At the time, there was a serious economic recession that caused interest rates and the rate of inflation to soar. The situation was deplorable to an extent that even Nixon’s imposition of price and wage controls miserably failed. High rates of unemployment, the falling supply of oil that made oil became subsequently expensive and an array of environmental crises and serious catastrophes such as the 1979 Three-Mile Island Nuclear Accident aggravated this feeling of helplessness in America.  
It was also at this time that the War in Vietnam was still ongoing.  Many young American soldiers still kept trooping back in flag-draped body bags. As the US continued to count the number of casualties in the war, the progress in the War in Vietnam pointed clearly that the threat of communism and its possible expansion was real.
4- Problems That Faced Carter Administration
Like all other American regimes, Jimmy Carter’s presidency also had its challenges. Carter had to contend with a nation that had serious misgivings towards the American government. This was a culmination of the Watergate scandal, Vice President Agnew’s economic misconduct and Gerald Ford’s act of issuing Richard Nixon with an unconditional clean bill of health.
        Carter also had to deal with the effects and elements of economic recession such as high interest rates, high rate of inflation and soaring rate of unemployment. The US was also in shortage of oil since Middle East countries had decided to suspend oil business with America. By attempting to keep gas prices artificially low, Carter froze gas prices. Unfortunately, oil refiners, producers and transporters preferred trading outside the US in order to keep making profits. This led to acute oil shortage in America (Chafe, 2009).
The protracted War in Vietnam had eaten into America’s budget, pride and national image. Cold War relations were also not looking up, since the Shah of Iran who was a strong US ally, had been ousted and replaced by an anti-US fundamentalist government. Russia had also attacked America’s ally, Afghanistan, even after America had agreed with the USSR to limit military expansion.
5- Reagan’s Foreign Policy
Ronald Reagan’s foreign policy mainly focused on representing America overseas and forming strong relationships with America’s counterparts in world politics. This is mainly because Reagan considered seriously, the fact that America was an important ingredient to world peace. It is against this backdrop that the Special Relationship was strengthened in the 1980s.
To Reagan, diplomacy was the panacea to the absence of peace. To this end, Reagan sidestepped the differences between Soviet Union and the US, worked with, and urged Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Iron Curtain. This call would be realized on November 9th, 1989 and was to be followed by the Unification of Germany in 1990; thereby signaling the end of Cold War. Nevertheless, it is also true that Reagan was a realist when it came to international relations. Because of this, he strengthened the military and increased America’s military budget by 43%.
6- Problems That Faced Reagan Administration
Reagan Administration had to contend with an intensified Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union. The splintering of the USSR did not promise much since international terrorism, rogue nations, ethnic conflicts fast replaced it. The US still reeled from the snares of the problematic economic recession which characterized much of America’s 1980s. This meant that unemployment, poverty, and high interest and inflation rates still accosted the US. Notably, Reagan Administration increased military spending and assuaged spending on domestic programs that were meant for assisting the poor and the working class. This resultantly heralded the problem of homelessness.
Chafe, H. W. (2009). The Rise and fall of the American Century: The United States from 1890- 2009. New York/ Oxford: Oxford University Press. Read More
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