Presidential Visits to Myanmar

    On his swing through Southeast Asia, the Myanmar Times notes that President Obama is one of only four U.S. Presidents to visit the country. Other Presidents include Grant, Hoover, and Nixon; with President Nixon alone visiting the country both before and after his presidency.

    Ever the diplomat, and never one to back down from his beliefs, then Vice President Nixon engaged and assuaged a mob of angry demonstrators—against the advice of his security detail. A United Press article from 1953 noted, “Vice President Richard M. Nixon took the wind out of the Burmese Communist sails today by marching smilingly into the middle of an anti-American demonstration and shaking hands all around.”

    Remembering this exchange, President Nixon wrote in his memoirs,

    “I believe the best way to undercut the appeal of the Communists was to confront them and show uncommitted observers that representatives of democratic nations were neither afraid of the Communists nor unable to debate them on any question.”

    It was this style of active diplomacy that was a trademark of President Nixon’s foreign policy.


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