Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 16:00 | SYDNEY
Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 16:00 | SYDNEY

Reader riposte: The Truman show


Sam Roggeveen


2 September 2008 10:05

Harry Gelber writes in response to my US election post of yesterday:

It may be interesting to speculate whether Sarah Palin might not, in time, turn out to be a Republican version of Harry Truman: inexperienced, down to earth, and decisive.

Owen Harries (while not referring directly to Sarah Palin) made this same argument about Truman in his AFR column yesterday.

I'm not convinced Truman belongs in the 'near-great' category of presidents myself, and I note Owen Harries leaves the Korean War off his list of Truman's foreign policy achievements. But because of all that happened under Truman — the Berlin Airlift, the creation of NATO, the Marshall Plan, the Truman Doctrine, as well as Korea — he should be remembered as one of the most consequential modern American presidents.

George W Bush would rank highly on the 'consequential' score too, given the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the reorganisation of the intelligence community, the preemption doctrine and the boost to African AIDS funding.