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Greatest 20th Century Political Leaders (Round 2)


vcczar
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Greatest 20th Century Political Leaders (Round 2)   

11 members have voted

  1. 1. Who is the Greatest 20th Century Political Leader?

    • Theodore Roosevelt, USA
    • Franklin D Roosevelt, USA
    • Harry S Truman, USA
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    • David Ben-Gurion, Israel
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    • Winston Churchill, UK
    • Clement Atlee, UK
    • Vladimir Lenin, Russia
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    • Nelson Mandela, South Africa
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    • Pierre Trudeau, Canada
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    • Dwight D Eisenhower, USA
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    • John F Kennedy, USA
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    • Lyndon B Johnson, USA
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    • Ronald Reagan, USA
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    • Margaret Thatcher, UK
    • Konrad Adenauer, Germany
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    • Helmut Kohl, Germany
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    • Mikhail Gorbachev, Russia
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    • Charles De Gaulle, France


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8 minutes ago, Patine said:

Comparing Lenin to Hitler or Mussolini is not remotely fair or accurate, and probably misunderstands him, his policies, what he did, and the situation. Stalin is definitely a more fair comparison.

What about Veliky Petr and Veliky Yetakerina? They weren't just, "good," Russian leaders, they were GREAT! (Of course, they also certainly weren't 20th Century leaders).

Well of course. That's why I didnt include them. Peter the Great was... great. 

And I think my comparison of Lenin to the other 2 nut cases is accurate as both envisioned their dream of a society and used violence as a means to obtain it. October Revolution. Night of long knives. Waffen SS. Italian Black shirts.

And sure, Stalin was worse than Lenin, arguably worse than all 3. As Stalin was the one who yeeted Lenin out of office.

I should've known that you would be the one to at least hint at the suggestion that Lenin and his clown show accomplices were right in the October Revolution and enabling individuals such as Comrade Stalin to install a totalitarian regime that would result in the death of over 20 million people over time.

Although I'm sure Mr. Lenins intentions were truly honorable. 🤣

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1 minute ago, Patine said:

Now, honestly, don't you see the flaw in this statement. I'd say FAR more dreams of a society in history ended up obtained by violence than any peaceful means, to be frank. Hell, even though the body count was much lower, Washington obtained his dream of a society by violence, and, much in a much bloodier context, Lincoln preserved it by such.

"War is the bitter medicine of the Human race,"

-Martin Luther, sometime in the 1530's

Even I, who prefer minimal violence and bloodshed, have to concede, as an armchair historian, it's been one of the very biggest catalysts of change in human history - for better or or for worse.

Oh for sure. But I think there's a much different context and set of beliefs between these historical figures though. 

Which is why I once again say Lenin is comparable to the individuals I named. 

Lenin was going up against an inept autocratic Tsarist Government in the midst of a war and was essentially a German agent of chaos in Russia. Who upon winning, immediately dropped out of the war and began his dream of what we now know as Leninism. Which failed miserably and lead to him getting toppled by Stalin.

George Washington was fighting for the pissed of colonists alongside our Founding Fathers who wished to reject British tyranny in the form of taxation without representation over expenses of the French and Indian War. After being ridiculed, ignored, belittled, and mistreated by the British, we finally had enough.

You're right about violence being a catalyst of profound change, and it's hard to say if violence is even justifiable at times as it is truly a horrible thing to see others die. But I'm reminded of a saying, "A shepherd must tend his flock. And at times, fight off the wolves."

I think the context and origination of such affairs should play a role when discussing these things, and the intentions of the individuals themselves.

Lenin was nothing more than a German agent with a failed vision which as I said previously, eventually lead to his toppling and Comrade Stalin. Along with the deaths of over 20 million people. Maybe I'm wrong here but I think there's definitely a clear distinction of the two. 😛

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1 minute ago, Patine said:

You make it sound so downright Manichaean. So cut-and-dry. So black-and-white. Time to buy a colour TV, you gromyard!

Lenin was not an, "agent," of Hindenburg anymore than Hitler was. Hindenburg notoriously enabled both to come to power at different times in his life, but there was never an ideological similarity, or a sense of, "agency," or, "allegiance," - Hindenburg considered both dangerous and unhinged extremists. But Hindenburg was EXTREMELY pragmatic - much like Bismarck, who founded the German Empire and whom Hindenburg had unwavering admiration for. It was pure pragmatism and ends-justifying-the-means that made Hindenburg's decision, and, while I don't know about Lenin (though I'm certain there was no true gratitude, and certainly no real loyalty), Hitler almost certainly thought of Hindenburg as a massive chump...

Sorry if it sounds Manichaean, I promise I don't view the world as black and white. In most issues that is. 😛

But the fact remains that Lenin was sent, funded, and given the resources by the German state to execute the October Revolution. 

Hindenburg certainly seems like the ruthless pragmatism you'd see out of House of Cards. He probably viewed Lenin as a tool. Which I'm sure he and others in the German state did. 

I think Hindenburg's toying with these individuals says a lot about him, even if he didn't agree with who they were or what they would eventually become. And it's what ultimately lead to his downfall. He's a root of the problem here. 😛 

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Just now, Patine said:

I'm also saying is that Lenin's "gratitude," and, "agency," to Hindenburg didn't last past his return through the gates of Petrograd.

Fair. And just to reclarify my own position, I'm not saying Lenin was a full blown loyalist or subject of the German state, agent may imply that. But Lenin was an agent of chaos. 

It's kind of like they went: "Oh, this guy that's been exiled from Russia seems crazy enough... and we need to get out of this damn Russian front to support the Western Front. This guy is honestly a real nutbag... let's give em what he needs, plop him off in Russia and he'll overthrow the Tsar! Then we can get the hell out of here."

Which is exactly what happened. Despite the idolism Lenin receives, and despite how genuine in his beliefs he may have truly been, he was nothing more than a tool that lead to Stalin. And a failed visionary at most. 

Nuff said. Glad we had a good conversation here! 😄 

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As Thatcher made her stand against socialism, the bulldog takes it for not only being Conservative, but kicking some Nazi ass. 😎

And a lil post WW2 action. 😏

It was close between Churchill-Eisenhower for me. and third place is all over the place for me. Teddy, Reagan, FDR, Truman, all come to mind. Just too many good leaders 😛 

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Just now, Patine said:

Well, if Thatcher is being praised by you for standing against socialism (and a lot more moderate, and really helpful, and even needed, policies in modern economies, often disingenuously lumped by Plutocrats as such), who will stand up against her heartless, corporate cronyism and pitilessness to the unemployed and poor (most made that way, or made worse, by the Dark Side of Thatcherism)? David Steele was certainly not up to the task!

Well, Thatcher is commonly referred to as the lady who stood against socialism in Britain among those closer to my line of thinking. However I would urge you to take note of my rankings, I don't think I listed Thatcher in contention for top 3. 😛 

There's a good bit of things I might have done differently from Thatcher. I'm more of a John Major fan. But I recognize her importance in allowing Britain to reduce it's dependence on the IMF and allowing Britain to rely more on itself. Towards the end of her premiership is when I would begin to have problems with her, but that's where my man John Major comes in. 🙂 

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5 minutes ago, Patine said:

Well, if Thatcher is being praised by you for standing against socialism (and a lot more moderate, and really helpful, and even needed, policies in modern economies, often disingenuously lumped by Plutocrats as such), who will stand up against her heartless, corporate cronyism and pitilessness to the unemployed and poor (most made that way, or made worse, by the Dark Side of Thatcherism)? David Steele was certainly not up to the task!

I also think you should take note, as I believe you may know me well enough by now. "Moderate Conservative." Is the label under my name. 😛 

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4 minutes ago, Patine said:

I think the IMF, in a broader sense, is the bigger problem, for a Hell of a lot of nations. They're essentially an international Mafia loan shark racket.

You're not much of a believer in loans, credit, and interest are you? 😛 

I think it's nice that Thatcher got the UK off the credit cards. 😉 

 

 

Edited by Pringles
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Just now, Patine said:

It might surprise you to learn that I have never been in debt more than $1000-2000 at any one time in my whole life. And I'm 45 years old.

Cool. And no, I don't think I'm surprised given your outspokenness to credit cards. 😛 

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4 minutes ago, Patine said:

It might surprise you to learn that I have never been in debt more than $1000-2000 at any one time in my whole life. And I'm 45 years old.

That’s impressive. I owe $100k in student debt and have never missed a payment. Interest rates make it unplayable. The interest is more than my income based repayment plan. I’ll always pay but never pay it off. 

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If I had to rank them by importance for their country and their personnal impact on history (by considering how their acts as leader influenced history, nationally and worldwide)

1st Franklin D Roosevelt, USA, has saved europe from communism and rebuilt his country from a very hard economic crisis

2nd Harry S Truman, USA, Has put the bases of the cold war and stabilized it at a peak of risk. His decisions are actually as important as the ones of Roosevelt.

3rd Winston Churchill, UK, his position of not making peace with Hitler is crucial cause if UK had made some collaborations with Hitler they would have get necessary ressources to win the war

4th Charles De Gaulle, France, has been right about military strategy before world war 2, has saved France from being considered as an occupied zone by the US and has made a decision which took courage. Has inspired a lot of movements including Quebec independence. He is the litteral founder of the current republic.

5th Vladimir Lenin, Russia, he changed Russia forever but it took less courage to do what he did than Churcill or De Gaulle, the context was favorable to his rise in power. However the regime he created has changed the face of the world for 70 years but he's not a greater leader than De Gaulle and Churchill.

6th David Ben-Gurion, Israel. Without his leadership, Israël would not exist as it is nowadays.

7th Dwight D Eisenhower, USA, as military commander and president, he had to face tough decisions

8th John F Kennedy, USA, he has got a great leadership in a time of nuclear threat, but he could not change the world in 3 years. However the Cuba missile crisis as well as how he handled the situation in Berlin are all credits

9th Nelson Mandela, South Africa, he is the most important man for South Africa, he changed the history of his country, it's the world stage which is less important compared to others leaders

10th Lyndon B Johnson, USA, essentially for civil rights

11th Mikhail Gorbachev, Russia, he is the good leader which made possible for the cold war to peacefully ends in eastern europe. 

12th Helmut Kohl, Germany, the man of the reunification of Germany and a great european

13th Clement Atlee, UK, he well managed the early phases of decolonization and built the NHS as it is in UK, however he doesn't had influence of Churchill on the world for example

14th Konrad Adenauer, Germany, he deserved credit for the rebuilding of his country

My last pics are gonna be personnal because we talk about modern leaders

15th Pierre Trudeau, Canada, his constitutionnal reform has made the difference between Canada and the USA. He's the guy of the Constitution of Canada but above all the builder of the progressive canadian society. He was well ahead of his time in a big number of social issus despite his flaws and sincerely tried to protect franco minorities outside of Quebec.

16th Margaret Thatcher, UK. She has ruled over Britain for over a decade, has helped his GDP to grow by 25% even it's not so huge compared to others european countries in the same time. She has won the Falklands war and is definitively a great political leader who has been a key figure in his party untill 2001 while she left in 1990. She is, like Tony Blair, one of the most successfull british politician ever born. However, her influence on the British society is not comparable to Churcill or Atlee.

17th Ronald Reagan, USA, he definitively had international influence but his legacy has remained moderate in time, pretty important but not more influencal than Bill Clinton with his managment of the balkans' wars (Bill has even tried to get a good agreement for the Israelian conflict) while economically once again Bill can face Reagan in terms of economic results so if I rank Ronald there Bill has to be comparable as world leader. Both also have the same weakeness in term of legacies. His party is no longer Reaganian like Democrats are no longer New Democrats.

18th Theodore Roosevelt, USA, mostly for his military career and leader qualities but few international influences

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8 minutes ago, Edouard said:

4th Charles De Gaulle, France, has been right about military strategy before world war 2, has saved France from being considered as an occupied zone by the US and has made a decision which took courage. Has inspired a lot of movements including Quebec independence. He is the litteral founder of the current republic.

 

Even while I may disagree with the rankings of your list I find your reasoning sound. 😄 

However... you know my opinion on Charles De Gaulle. And no offense to France, or yourself as a Frenchman... De Gaulle's military service and foundational tribute to the French Republic is admirable... but well, you know my view on him. 😉 

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I can't edit but it's *western Europe for Franklin of course !

And yes @Patine you are right. Liberals have kept his political heritage. His idea was to enforce bilingualism through a strong federal government which could make sure that provinces don't oppress minorities (whoever they are). That is why he has been the head of bilingualism in Canada but also others stuff such as the decriminalization of homosexuality.

There is a clear social difference between Canada and USA thanks to his years in office, the Canadian constitution which is so progressive is a credit for Trudeau.

However of course Quebecers hate him because liberals of Canada often opposed the will from Quebec to be an autonomous and separate society.

The issue is simple, liberals like Trudeau believe in Canada as a country where provincial's identities are less important than minorities. Trudeau didn't see Quebec, he saw francophones of Canada while most of Quebecers wished to be recognized as a distinct society because Quebec was the sole province of Canada to be very majoritary francophone.

Both had radical different conceptions which could only clash, and which did during constitutionnal negotiations.

I don't like what Trudeau did to René Levesque, but I can give him credit for the good things he did for francophone minorities, minorities and for the progressive society he contributed to create.

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20 minutes ago, Edouard said:

If I had to rank them by importance for their country and their personnal impact on history (by considering how their acts as leader influenced history, nationally and worldwide)

1st Franklin D Roosevelt, USA, has saved europe from communism and rebuilt his country from a very hard economic crisis

2nd Harry S Truman, USA, Has put the bases of the cold war and stabilized it at a peak of risk. His decisions are actually as important as the ones of Roosevelt.

3rd Winston Churchill, UK, his position of not making peace with Hitler is crucial cause if UK had made some collaborations with Hitler they would have get necessary ressources to win the war

4th Charles De Gaulle, France, has been right about military strategy before world war 2, has saved France from being considered as an occupied zone by the US and has made a decision which took courage. Has inspired a lot of movements including Quebec independence. He is the litteral founder of the current republic.

5th Vladimir Lenin, Russia, he changed Russia forever but it took less courage to do what he did than Churcill or De Gaulle, the context was favorable to his rise in power. However the regime he created has changed the face of the world for 70 years but he's not a greater leader than De Gaulle and Churchill.

6th David Ben-Gurion, Israel. Without his leadership, Israël would not exist as it is nowadays.

7th Dwight D Eisenhower, USA, as military commander and president, he had to face tough decisions

8th John F Kennedy, USA, he has got a great leadership in a time of nuclear threat, but he could not change the world in 3 years. However the Cuba missile crisis as well as how he handled the situation in Berlin are all credits

9th Nelson Mandela, South Africa, he is the most important man for South Africa, he changed the history of his country, it's the world stage which is less important compared to others leaders

10th Lyndon B Johnson, USA, essentially for civil rights

11th Mikhail Gorbachev, Russia, he is the good leader which made possible for the cold war to peacefully ends in eastern europe. 

12th Helmut Kohl, Germany, the man of the reunification of Germany and a great european

13th Clement Atlee, UK, he well managed the early phases of decolonization and built the NHS as it is in UK, however he doesn't had influence of Churchill on the world for example

14th Konrad Adenauer, Germany, he deserved credit for the rebuilding of his country

My last pics are gonna be personnal because we talk about modern leaders

15th Pierre Trudeau, Canada, his constitutionnal reform has made the difference between Canada and the USA. He's the guy of the Constitution of Canada but above all the builder of the progressive canadian society. He was well ahead of his time in a big number of social issus despite his flaws and sincerely tried to protect franco minorities outside of Quebec.

16th Margaret Thatcher, UK. She has ruled over Britain for over a decade, has helped his GDP to grow by 25% even it's not so huge compared to others european countries in the same time. She has won the Falklands war and is definitively a great political leader who has been a key figure in his party untill 2001 while she left in 1990. She is, like Tony Blair, one of the most successfull british politician ever born. However, her influence on the British society is not comparable to Churcill or Atlee.

17th Ronald Reagan, USA, he definitively had international influence but his legacy has remained moderate in time, pretty important but not more influencal than Bill Clinton with his managment of the balkans' wars (Bill has even tried to get a good agreement for the Israelian conflict) while economically once again Bill can face Reagan in terms of economic results so if I rank Ronald there Bill has to be comparable as world leader. Both also have the same weakeness in term of legacies. His party is no longer Reaganian like Democrats are no longer New Democrats.

18th Theodore Roosevelt, USA, mostly for his military career and leader qualities but few international influences

teddy roosevelt won the Nobel peace prize for his international influence. 

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14 minutes ago, Pringles said:

 

Even while I may disagree with the rankings of your list I find your reasoning sound. 😄 

However... you know my opinion on Charles De Gaulle. And no offense to France, or yourself as a Frenchman... De Gaulle's military service and foundational tribute to the French Republic is admirable... but well, you know my view on him. 😉 

Yes ! My ranking is simple

He wrote a book calling for mobile war in 1932 which influenced Guderian (pantzer general of the german army)

He took the decision to call for Free France at a time where most of the French were behind Pétain, it takes to be a very confident leader to do that (just like Churcill to resist to politicians)

He has swapped France from a country considered as in the Axis because of Vichy to a winning country via his leadership

He is the one who led the liberation government which modernized the country and gave vote to women

He is the guy of decolonization and who gave France its modern and current army

He has founded a republic which still exists almost 63 years later.

He has been one of the big leaders to refuse to pick a side during the cold war (that's why he's not so popular in the US)

He has opposed UK membership in the EU, it was a controversial view that I personnaly oppose but we can see that he was visionnary on the problems which might happen

He was a conservative but let some debates happen to modernize society, even if by 1968 he was too old for the new time

I don't like him for many issues, but his personnal qualities as leader are undeniable and those are the reasons why I rank him this way (by taking the difficulty of personnal decisions in their context and their influence on their country and the world)

Edited by Edouard
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7 minutes ago, Patine said:

I don't know. Do tell?

Not to speak for Pringles, but as I remember his primary gripe with De Gaulle is the fact that De Gaulle partially withdrew France from NATO in 1967 due to his, not entirely unfounded, belief that it made France subservient to America.

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2 minutes ago, Patine said:

I don't know. Do tell?

People like Le Pen nowadays compared to De Gaulle, as much as I hate to say it, I find some similarities between the two. De Gaulle was a good general, important, and necessary for preserving French sovereignty. But as President I just don't think he was good. And I think he's overrated. 

He was very... nationalist in a sense. I don't like his decision to withdraw France from NATO. And yes, I'm aware of the issues between America and France at the time concerning nuclear arms, but De Gaulle was notorious for being an arrogant, and dismissive figure. I think a lot of the praise he got as "savior" of France, got to his head a bit.

He was also very socially conservative. Paris Massacre of 1961 is an example of bad leadership on his end, Algerian conflict, etc. 

I just see him as the idolized, slightly nationalist, and isolationist figure. Overrated in my opinion. 

I like Pompidou! But in all honesty, most French leaders suck. I can't find a single French leader besides Pompidou that I actually like. 

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2 minutes ago, vcczar said:

teddy roosevelt won the Nobel peace prize for his international influence. 

Yes but I don't know if as leader he did something particulary important in this end (in the early 1900s). I know him more for his military career than for his diplomatical influence, I think that someone like Briand has done close of the same.

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2 minutes ago, vcczar said:

teddy roosevelt won the Nobel peace prize for his international influence. 

This is true! @Edouard

One of the reasons I like Teddy is that despite being a Republican ahead of his time, his foreign policy views also went against the traditional norm of Progressives at the time, and even today. He saw the role America needed to play, and recognized it at the very least. 

Teddy was known for being outspoken on his support for involvement in WW1, before Wilson did. And he basically had his own idea of the League of Nations in 1914.

 

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8 minutes ago, Pringles said:

People like Le Pen nowadays compared to De Gaulle, as much as I hate to say it, I find some similarities between the two. De Gaulle was a good general, important, and necessary for preserving French sovereignty. But as President I just don't think he was good. And I think he's overrated. 

He was very... nationalist in a sense. I don't like his decision to withdraw France from NATO. And yes, I'm aware of the issues between America and France at the time concerning nuclear arms, but De Gaulle was notorious for being an arrogant, and dismissive figure. I think a lot of the praise he got as "savior" of France, got to his head a bit.

He was also very socially conservative. Paris Massacre of 1961 is an example of bad leadership on his end, Algerian conflict, etc. 

I just see him as the idolized, slightly nationalist, and isolationist figure. Overrated in my opinion. 

I like Pompidou! But in all honesty, most French leaders suck. I can't find a single French leader besides Pompidou that I actually like. 

Paris Massacre is mainly due to Papon who was a very awfull prefect (and someone from Vichy)

Papon has been put into jail for his crimes later

De Gaulle is more the political inheritance of bonapartism as an ideology. I am not a bonapartist at all but I can say that De Gaulle did not try to create a dictatorship while in the context where he had been called in 1958 he could have made a coup.

When he has been called in 1958 the french generals in Algeria had made a coup in africa and seized military control of Corsica. He instead created a republic which was not the best at all, and which has improved since, but which was not an authoritarian regime at all.

He used cesarianism for sure, but France remained a liberal democracy

For his personnality it's sure that we are very different of him 😄 but I guess it was needed that he be like it to reverse Roosevelt's position and maybe Churcill's one

Edited by Edouard
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Just now, Patine said:

To be frank, most post-WW2 American leaders suck, too. Hell, the quality of political leadership globally seems to have all around declined since the August 3, 1945, Instrument of Surrender. Or maybe earlier leaders just got the benefit of successful historical revisionist spin and mythologization and the fact that no one (or next to no one) alive today personally remembers them. Cynical, I know...

Let's not be too cynical now. Have some realist, or a hint of optimism at least. 😛

I wouldn't expect you to agree with my list of the best leaders since WW2, but I think you could agree on Truman, or Eisenhower, maybe JFK? 😛 

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8 minutes ago, Pringles said:

This is true! @Edouard

One of the reasons I like Teddy is that despite being a Republican ahead of his time, his foreign policy views also went against the traditional norm of Progressives at the time, and even today. He saw the role America needed to play, and recognized it at the very least. 

Teddy was known for being outspoken on his support for involvement in WW1, before Wilson did. And he basically had his own idea of the League of Nations in 1914.

 

I agree ! But he wasn't president at the time so he didn't influence his nation or the world in the issue. He surely influenced his party but his party has not won the presidential election in 1916

There are only 2 republicans for which I would have voted in the 20th century and those are Roosevelt and Einsenhover, but his influence remains limited both for the US and the world compared to others presidents I ranked.

As a person he was surely a visionnary, but unlike Pierre Eliott Trudeau for example he hadn't got the means to implement his vision.

Edited by Edouard
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