Foreign Policy Legacy Relevant Today


Why We Should Be Missing President Nixon

Richard Nixon’s Brother Says Healthcare,

One of the late Senator Ted Kennedy’s greatest laments was that he didn’t take then-President Richard M. Nixon’s offer of working on a bipartisan plan to realign the healthcare system to fit the nation’s needs in 1971.

As Congress and the nation battle it out over healthcare reform – with the fate of more than 40 million uninsured people hanging in the balance – the former president’s brother, Ed Nixon, is hoping people take some time to reflect on the lost opportunity, as well as his brother’s accomplishments.

“My brother’s offer to address healthcare was genuine, and it stemmed from his feeling that we needed tighter regulation on the insurance industry,” said Nixon, co-author of The Nixons: A Family Portrait, from Book Publishers Network ( “He knew back then what was on the horizon, seeing the writing on the wall three decades before the storm.”

While popular culture has remade the former president as a negative caricature with his portrayals in movies, both fiction and non-fiction-based, Ed Nixon believes his brother’s accomplishments remain undeniable. President Nixon’s relevancy to the political news cycle of the last decade crystallizes even more when people consider the foreign policy challenges facing President Barack Obama.

“The old line that ‘Only Nixon could go to China’ has been used by pundits for decades, and even made it into a Star Trek movie as a Vulcan proverb,” Ed Nixon said.

But the underlying truth is that his brother went to communist China in the middle of the Cold War to prevent complete Soviet domination in Asia.

“His trip had nothing to do with economics,” Ed Nixon said. “While President Reagan is largely credited for ending the Cold War, the seeds were planted during the Nixon administration. This issue was of significant strategic interest to both China and the U.S. at the time, and working together to keep the Soviets in check was a key element that led to the fall of the Soviet republic. If they couldn’t expand, they would not have the economic base to support their massive military budget. When their expansion ceased, it helped hasten their fate.”

“The White House today could certainly use an advisor with the kind of historical perspective and clear vision possessed by Richard Nixon,” he added.