What's really provocative about his article, however, is his comparisons to the Eisenhower and Obama administrations. Those two, along with Nixon, had difficult first terms trying to end unpopular wars started by their predecessors. Sestanovich argues that each had a long-term strategic vision but suffered second-term criticisms when new crises left the pundits and public critical of their earlier retrenchment.
America’s retrenchment presidents teach an ironic lesson. Coming in to manage a disaster, Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and Barack Obama all hoped to devise a foreign policy for the United States that would avoid big swings between over- and undercommitment. What they came up with, however, turned out to command support only as an interim measure. Once it became clear that the world was still a confusing and tumultuous place, the acclaim they had enjoyed was soon forgotten. The resurgence of heated policy debate didn’t just disappoint them—it infuriated them. They found their second terms a bumpy ride, full of criticisms they felt were unfair and unconstructive. They got angry at American politics, and at the American people.I'm not sure I agree, but I think the argument deserves further consideration.