Nixon, Ford, Carter Domestic/Foreign Policy -
Nixon's primary foreign policy was enhanced by Henry Kissinger. His major priority was to end the Vietnam conflict and establish a more credible U.S. face to the world. He did extend a hand of friendship to the USSR, negotiated missile and nuclear non-proliferation treaties, and was the first United States President to visit China- he is given the credit of opening up Red China to the West.
Nixon's domestic policy was, as we now know, one of paranoia. He was very concerned about the state of the United States, and believed it was possible, due to the unpopularity of Vietnam and the Civil Rights issue that there might be a large-scale riot or even a Civil War. Nixon did declare a war against inflation, and implemented governmental controls to limit it. His resignation was shocking to most Americans, and forever left a cynicism about Presidental power.
Gerald Ford kept a relatively low profile, but did establish greater equity between the State Department and White House, which had been ruled as a big of a Kingdom by Henry Kissinger.
Domestically, Ford carried on most of Nixon's policies. He did pardon Nixon, feeling that it was best for the country, and did loan the railroad system $2.1 billion dollars to free the industry from bankruptcy. His regime saw the beginnings of the energy crisis.
Jimmy Carter, however, never did seem to have a focused foreign policy, but was more reactive to global events. It was Carter's National Security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, who reorganized the State Department, and really controlled Carterian foreign policy, even though it was Cyrus Vance who was Secretary of State.
Domestically, the Carter Administration was faced with the 1979 Three Mile Island Nuclear Power plant debacle and an energy shortage of oil because of the Iranian revolution. Gas shortages led to higher prices and longer lines at the pump. He did announce an optimistic energy plan, but failed to enact enough legislation to wean the United States from foreign oil monopolies.
Nixon's and Ford's foreign policy were driven by Henry Kissinger, who believed that America's interest should come before all other elements in foreign policy. Carter believed in spreading democracy, no matter what the cost, and had very little foreign policy experience prior to being elected President.
Online Presentation: "Nixon, Ford, Carter"
"The Nixon, Ford, and Carter Years,"
Richard Melanson, (2005). American Foreign Policy Since the Vietnam War, M.E. Sharpe.
Previewed in: http://books.google.com/books?id=jxDEJZGEruoC