Harry and Arthur

In a polarized Washington, can Democrats and Republicans work together on foreign policy? Can they let “politics stop at the water’s edge”? They once did, explains Lawrence J. Haas in Harry & Arthur: Truman, Vandenberg, and the Partnership That Created the Free World.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Hass describes the legacy of President Truman and Sen. Arthur Vandenberg, a Republican from Michigan who first spoke of the “water’s edge.” He discusses the early years of the Cold War, what today’s Democrats can learn from Truman, and what today’s Republicans–who are now courted by “American First” isolationist rhetoric–can learn from Vandenberg.

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  1. Richard Fulmer Member
    Richard Fulmer
    @RichardFulmer

    As I recall, North Korea’s attack on South Korea and Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait were both preceded by an American official announcing that the target country in question was not within the sphere of U.S. concern.  To what extent, if any, does a stated policy of “America First” put the rest of the world outside our interest?

    • #1
  2. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    I have a mostly positive outlook towards Harry Truman’s foreign policy, and since Arthur Vandenberg supported him, I think it’s great.

    But I was a little turned off with the author’s use of the word “enlightened”, he used it twice, to describe Vandenberg.  So someone he agreed with was enlightened.  What does that make the people he disagreed with?

    I found it a little too smug.  Too many liberals have used the same word to describe people they agree with.  I’m tired of the conceit.

    • #2
  3. dukenaltum Coolidge
    dukenaltum
    @dukenaltum

    Apparently managing the decline of America’s influence globally by accepting FDR’s complete acquiescence to Stalin on Eastern Europe, epically mismanaging foreign policy with our allies in Asia and squandering American blood and Treasure just about everywhere where he bothered to intervene while having a regime infested with Communist operatives is a positive for the only Klansman to ever occupy the White House.

    America could have done considerably better with a randomly selected lottery winner as president which was really all Truman ever was.

    Vandenberg sounds like an impotent lap dog.

    • #3