Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Presidential Showdown: Wilson vs Carter

This week I'm (again) teaching WW1, Wilson's Missionary diplomacy and the failure of the 14 Points/League of Nations.

I don't always blame Wilson for messing the whole world up; he shows the frustrations of being a democracy with balanced powers during times of War. Wilson had one idea on how WW1 should end and what the US role should be in the post-war world; Senate leaders had a different vision (a fearful one) and blocked US involvement with Wilson's love child, the League of Nations.

Carter, on the other hand earned the Nobel Peace Prize for the Camp David Accords,  brokering a 30-ish year peace in a region of the world I'm quite sure many of my students still can't  find on a map.

Carter gets credit (blame? but credit seems so much more powerful) for accepting the Shah of Iran and thus allowing Iran's 1979 revolution and the events that would lead to the Iran-Iraq War, Desert Storm and all the awesomeness "over there" since then.

The tie-breaker for me is Carter's response to the crisis at the 1980 Peruvian Embassy in Havana, saying we will accept Cubans fleeing Castro "with an open heart and open arms" thus causing the Mariel Boat Lift, modern Miami, and the movie Scarface.

Point goes to Team Carter.

Next: George W Bush vs Zachary Taylor