In the 20th and 21st centuries, US Presidents made big mistakes in the international arena, some of which acted like political gasoline that powered the breaking out of future wars, others prevented the United States of America from becoming the only hegemonic super power in the world. With the advantage of hindsight, I put down below what I consider the most serious blunders committed by American Presidents in history:
1- In his World War I peace program’s Fourteen Points, Democratic President Woodrow Wilson urged the Allied leaders the establishment of an independent Poland, with access to the Baltic Sea through a land corridor; thus, a huge chunk of territory was arbitrarily taken away from Germany to create the new State of Poland. As everybody knows, the main rationale behind the German invasion of Poland in September 1939, was the recovery of the city of Danzig and the German land that made up the Polish Corridor, which had isolated East Prussia from the rest of Germany. The loss of part of her territory was the main cause of the deep resentment in the German people, which paved the way for Adolf Hitler to get to power in Germany.
2- At the end of April 1945, Democratic President Harry Truman ordered General Dwight Eisenhower to delay the advance of the Allied spearhead ground units as they approached Berlin in order to give the Soviet Army time to get there first and take the that city so that it could be under the Soviet Union military control as it had been previous agreed on in the Yalta Conference in February 1945. Not complying with one of the key points of the same conference, Stalin did not allow free democratic election in East Germany, Poland, and other Eastern European countries invaded by the Red Army, as Europe was divided into a free capitalist block of nations and a communist block. By the end of 1945, the United States was the only country in the world that was armed with atomic bombs and long range bombers to deliver them; however the US government did not put any pressure on Stalin for this dictator to withdraw the communist troops from the Eastern European countries.
3- In November 1943, during the Tehran Conference, the American President Franklin D Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill persuaded Josef Stalin to declare war on Japan and attack this country, opening a second front in the Pacific theater. Complying with what had been agreed at Tehran and Yalta conferences, the Soviet Union attacked Japan on August 9, 1945, at the end of the war, overrunning the Japanese positions in Korea as they seized almost half of the former Japanese colony. Meanwhile, the United States invaded Korea from the south and both armies met near the 38º parallel. It was not necessary for the Red Army to attack Japan and invade Korea, for on August 9, 1945, the United States had already dropped two atomic bombs on Japan as this country was about to surrender. The Soviets stayed three years in the northern half of the peninsula, enough time to establish a communist regime, while the United States supported free election and the establishment of capitalist, democratic republic.This how Korea got ideological divided. This division was the root of the Korean War that would break out in 1950. The big mistake was to persuade Stalin to invade Japanese-held territory, which set the stage for future conflicts in Asia.
4- At the beginning of 1951, Presiden Harry Truman did not authorize General Douglas MacArthur to conduct a full scale counter-attack on the Chinese troops that had poured into North Korea in support of the communist government and carry the war into China and completely defeat this Marxist country. In April 1951, the Presidente removed MacArthur from his command, replacing him with General Matthew Ridgway. This inaction and decision of carrying out a limited war led to a draw and to the dangerous, present-day, political and military situation in the Peninsula, with human rights being violated in North Korea, which had already acquired its own nuclear weapons.
5- In 1964, the Johnson Administrations got involved in a limited yet exhausting and expensive war in Vietnam in support of an unpopular South Vietnamese government, which did nothing to improve the squalid living conditions of the South Vietnamese people. To defeat the Vietcong guerrilla, a total war against Ho Chi Minh’s regime should have decisively been carried out.
6- In 1977, President Jimmy Carter denied any military support to Anastasio Somoza, letting Nicaragua fall in the hands of the Sandinista pro-Castro, communist guerrillas. As a result, violence spread throughout Central America, with Daniel Ortega cracking down and banning dissenters, political activities, and muffling the press as he supported Colombian drug barons.
7- In 1982, the Reagan Administration began to supply extreme Islamist guerrilla groups with weapons in an effort to help them expel the Soviet Army from Afghanistan. Over the years, these Islamists got to power as the Taliban, who would organize the greatest terrorist act in history of mankind, which was the attack on the World Trade Center twin towers on September 11, 2001.
8- In November 2013, President Barack Obama eased up economic sanction on Iran as he began deplomatic negotiations to persuade the Islamist government to stop his nuclear program.
9- In 2011, the Amercan President Barack Obama began a huge undercover operation to overthrow secular dictators in North Africa and the Middle East. With the excuse to set up democratic governments in the region, the CIA supported all types of political opposition, even extreme Islamic guerrillas. These “democratic” revolution was called the “Arab Spring” by the international press. Thus, the governments of Libya, Egypt, and Tunez fell to these Muslim hordes, with Muamar al Qadhafi being assassinated and Hosni Mubarak sentenced to life.
10- In an attempt to oust from power Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the American goverment organized massive street demonstrations against the regime, arming through the CIA Islamic insurgent guerrillas, which triggered the Syrian Civil War in 2011; one of the bloodiest armed conflict in the history of the Middle East. This caused an unprecedented humanitarian crisis as hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees poured into Europe, giving ISIS a big chance to infiltrate the European countries, specially Germany and France and launch terrorist attacks.