That night God appeared to Solomon and said to him, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Now, Lord God, let your promise to my father David be confirmed, for you have made me king over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth.
Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king,
Therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” — 2 Chronicles 1:7, 9-12
Following the end of World War One (WW1), the United States of America emerged as the world’s superpower, becoming the leader of the free world, championing global opinion on democracy, governance and human rights issues. The will to lead the free world led to USA footprints in global organizations such as the newly formed United Nations (UN) and later the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Current president Donald Trump, also known as POTUS45, doesn’t seem to have the will or desire to lead the free world. He entered the presidency at 39% but currently that he has 35% approval rate. But I will remember him for the following: his executive orders on immigration ban of 7 predominantly Muslim countries and the attempt to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Both these were challenged by the courts and failed to pass the vote in the Congress.
POTUS45 will also be remembered for the currently ongoing investigations in allegations that his presidential campaign officials colluded with Russia; this is complicated by his open admiration of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. POTUS45 is clearly unwilling to be the leader of the free world.
Other USA president’s scholars of history bestow accolades are:
Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921): worked with the allies in Europe to establish the League of Nations. Despite being on his sickbed, he lobbied his government to support the organization.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945): Entered the US into the war against Japan (after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor), and then Hitler in Europe. Ordered the dropping of two nuclear bombs on Japan. FDR is also remembered for his role in establishment of a global organization to replace the failed League of Nations; negotiated and convinced global leaders to house the UN in the US. The only POTUS to serve for three terms. But he succumbed to polio before the end of his term. His wife, Eleanor continued to lead in the deliberations on the UN Charter on Universal Declaration on Human Rights, clearly leaving an impressive footprint on the document.
Harry S. Truman (1945-1953): Led the US into the 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a military alliance made up west and east European countries, Canada, and the US.
John F. Kennedy (1969-1963): An executive order that people around the world celebrate is JFK’s Executive Order 10924 that established the Peace Corps. Formed to promote world peace and friendship, through helping countries with trained Americans. He challenged Soviet Union (Russia) after it placed missile cruise ships in Cuba (Bay of Pigs). Sadly he was assassinated. He’s also known as Camelot.
Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1968): Known for signature policy for the “Great Society” legislation; Signed the Civil Rights Act (increased rights to African American); appointed Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice, signed an immigration Act liberalizing entry to USA for non-European people. Created programs tackling poverty through programs like Head Start, food stamps, work study, Medicare and Medicaid. First manned flight to moon (Apollo 8).
Richard M. Nixon (1969-1974): This is the first and the only US President I’ve ever met and shaken hands with; took place during our family visit to the White House. Four things stick out about Richard Nixon; Apollo 9 and three men landing on the moon, end of the Vietnam War; and he is only US president to resign after it was revealed that he and members of his campaign surveilled the Watergate Hotel, the venue of the Democratic Party Convention.
Jimmy Carter (1977-1981): He was the first US president to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The coveted award was given for his work in promoting democracy and his work on human rights, which he carries on even after the end of the term of his office.
Ronald Reagan (1981-1989): Rose to fame in his speech supporting Barry Goldwater (who lost presidential bid). Introduced sweeping political and economic initiatives that had global outreach. His economic initiatives (tax breaks for the rich) as incentives to spur economic growth and curb inflation has been dubbed Reagonomics and used by Republicans ever since. Greatly remembered for ending the Cold War with the Soviet Union (former Russia), bombing Libya and Iran-Contra affair. Of the soviet state Reagan publicly called it the “evil state,” and repeatedly called on the Soviet Union to break down the wall (could be interchanged to mean the physical Berlin war separating East and West Berlin, or the ideological Iron Curtain that separated the East and Western political philosophies of communism and capitalism. Ten months after his term of office, the Berlin Wall was taken down (East and West Germany reunited), and three years after, the Soviet Union collapsed, leading to the sweeping independence of the Eastern European states. First president to serve two full terms after Eisenhower. At end of term, his approval rating at 68% matches FRD and Bill Clinton.
George H. Bush (1989-1993): He is the oldest living former US president and vice president; was Reagan’s Vice President. Driven by military power and led several successful military operations including Panama, the Persian Gulf War (successfully overthrew Saddam Hussein’s 1991 takeover of Kuwait); followed through policies Reagan began leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall (1989) and the Soviet Union (1993). Appointed the second African American to the Supreme Court. This controversy (despite Thomas being embroiled in Professor Anita Hill sexual harassment charge, predominantly Republican Senate confirmed him to the Supreme Court) led to women turning out in large numbers to vote for anybody But George H. Bush.
William (Bill) J. Clinton (1993-2001): Served in USA longest peacetime economic expansion. First Democrat to be elected twice since FRD. Although he failed to pass the national health care reform, he succeeded in passing the welfare reform, and the State Children’s Health Insurance (state provision ensuring children receive universal health care). Clinton will also be remembered for his wife’s role in 1995 IV UN Women’s Beijing Conference. An affair with a White House aide (Monica Lewinsky), leaves a blemish on his otherwise successful presidency (his popularity literally tipped Barack Obama’s election bid). He was impeached by the Republican-held House of Representatives for perjury (fancy word for lying) before the Grand Jury about the affair; and also obstruction of justice. He was acquitted by the Senate in 1999; served the remainder of his term. Participated in the Israeli-Palestinian 2000 Camp David Summit. After office through the William J. Clinton Foundation, he has continued international humanitarian interventions cause such as in health (prevention of spread of HIV, provision of affordable and in many cases free ARVs, especially in developing countries), global warming, and economic initiatives at grassroots levels in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He enjoys high approval rating along with FRD, Reagan and Barack Obama.
I will remember Clinton for establishing three hospitals in Malawi (Nkhota-Kota, Lilongwe, and Neno. The one in Lilongwe has a wing known as the 35-bed Fistula Care Center, established by Scottish philanthropist Ann Gloag. But the health clinic in Neno is where two of my grandchildren were born.
George W. Bush (2001-2009): GW Bush is the second son of a former US president to serve as US president (the other was John Quincy Adams). He finished his father’s was against Saddam Hussein, who was captured, convicted of war crimes, and executed. He also entered the US in two wars – Afghanistan and Iraq. He is remembered for his “War on Terror,” uniting a nation under attack (since Pearl Harbor) when terrorists led by al-Qaeda, (which was headed by Osama bin Laden), used four passenger aircrafts to stage three attacks on the US that including two on the World Trade Center, the third at the Pentagon; an attempt on the White House failed. 2,996 people lost their lives, 6,000 others injured.
His humanitarian policy in health initiative popularly known as PEPFAR, the AIDS relief program, provides assistance in battle against HIV in Africa and other developing regions struggling with the epidemic. Also is remembered for the disastrous 2008 near-collapse of the American economy.
Barack Obama (2008-2016): (he really deserves an article/book of his own) Made history when he first defeated Hillary Clinton in primaries to clinch the Democratic Party’s nomination to represent it in US elections – the first African American to achieve this; he repeated the feat by also becoming the first African American person to become president of the United States of America. Like Reagan, his speech at Democratic National Convention in support for another POTUS contender in 2004, propelled him to national prominence. He is the second US president to win the Nobel Peace prize. Despite open animosity by a Republican majority Congress and incumbent POTUS Donald Trump conspiracy theory about Obama place of birth, president Obama, aka POTUS44, served two terms, passed more landmark legislations since LBJ. Most notable bills are the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, and also known as Obamacare), American Recovery and Reinvestment, economic stimulus (injecting large sums of money into the car manufacturing industry, which reversed the course of the American economy, on decline in 2008), ended military involvement in Iraq, approved US navy seal operation leading to the capture, assignation and immediate burial of Osama bin Laden – al-Qaeda leader believed to have masterminded the September, 2011 terrorist attack of the US World Trade Center military involvement in Libya in opposition to Mummer Gaddafi, presided over numerous funerals of civilians either gunned down by police or mass shootings. Joined global discussion on climate change and signed 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Changeup, first POTUS to visit Cuba. On exiting, Obama will be remembered for Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, sanctions against Russia (after fib reports Russia manipulated outcome of 2016 US presidential elections through breaking into server of Democratic Party), and military operations against ISIS positions in Afghanistan.
Donald Trump (2016- ): He is the second POTUS, like Ronald Reagan, to come from the celebrity world of film and television. With no previous political background, except as a spectator and prominent critic (especially of his predecessor), Mr. Trump from day one of his presidency, set out to undo landmark legislations of the first African American president. This includes his failed attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare, and introduction of an immigration law that is popularly known as the Muslim ban, building a wall between Mexico and the US to be finance with funds from Mexico. He has through executive orders repealed various Obama executive orders that had set out to protect citizens from Wall Street, manufacturing pollutants among others. However his signature in his presidency, is the investigations into Russian hacking of the Democratic Party that allegedly implicates high-level operatives. So far one has been fired (national security a diver, Michael Flynn), another (secretary of Justice Jeff Sessions) has recused himself from the Russian investigations because he had meetings with Russian ambassador to US. The presidency is also embroiled with a series of presenting facts that later transpire to be not correct…although at some point they were defended to be alternative facts. In first 100 days of his presidency, he has attacked media as fake news, and kept an unrelenting tweeter attack on his opponents or anyone criticize of him, additionally POTUS 45 has shown undemocratic approach to US closest foreign allies, while at the same time showing an unusual leaning to Russia and its leader p, strongman Vladimir Putin. He will be probably remembered, among the many, his unwillingness to carry on the legacies of his predecessors of being leader of the free world, leading the most powerful nation in the world. He’d rather make America again, make American first in his policies. His administration is in first 100 days, riddled with alleged corruption, nepotism and crime, according to US media reports.
Whereas previous POTUS have carried on traditions of leading the model of democracy for over 240 years, POTUS45, is on a course to unravel the finely-knit democratic system. His most precious weapon is his social media Tweeter account – used to announce information, for local and foreign matters, conventionally done through formal press conferences. He is an extremely unconventional POTUS.
Janet Zeenat Karim Maravi Post Senior Editor