What President Obama should learn from President Truman

On this day in 1948, President Truman was confronted with a serious challenge in Berlin:

"One of the most dramatic standoffs in the history of the Cold War begins as the Soviet Union blocks all road and rail traffic to and from West Berlin.

The blockade turned out to be a terrible diplomatic move by the Soviets, while the United States emerged from the confrontation with renewed purpose and confidence."

It was a shining moment for President Truman, who met the challenge by flying supplies to the people of West Berlin:

"The United States response came just two days after the Soviets began their blockade. A massive airlift of supplies into West Berlin was undertaken in what was to become one of the greatest logistical efforts in history. For the Soviets, the escapade quickly became a diplomatic embarrassment. Russia looked like an international bully that was trying to starve men, women, and children into submission. And the successful American airlift merely served to accentuate the technological superiority of the United States over the Soviet Union.

On May 12, 1949, the Soviets officially ended the blockade.

What can President Obama learn from this incident?

First, the bad guys will push you around until you hit them back.

Second, we were "a war weary nation" back then too.  After all, we had just concluded a brutal war and lost close to 500,000 men in the Pacific and Europe.  I doubt that there was a lot of appetite for war in 1948, especially with a bad US economy.

Third, President Truman nevertheless met the challenge, flew the supplies in and stood up the USSR.  It was a huge test and President Truman won.

In Iraq, President Obama does not have easy options but he cannot allow Iraq to collapse, especially the oil fields.  We are a "Middle East weary" country and do not want to go back to Iraq.   President Obama also has a party base that will fight military intervention all the way.

Like Pres. Truman, Pres. Obama has to see the big picture and stop ISIS from marching across the region.  It may mean air strikes or some troops on the ground.  

Iraq requires presidential leadership, or the kind that we saw in saving West Berlin 66 years ago this week.

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

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