Philadelphia Reflections

The musings of a physician who has served the community for over six decades

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Richard Nixon's two claims on greatness

The United States doubled in size with the Louisiana Purchase. Like Nixon, Jefferson was a terrible person who did great things.

Nixon did two great things.

1) In 1965 De Gaulle showed up in New York in a Porsche and said he would send French battleships into New York harbor to get the French gold out at the official exchange rate of $35/oz as set by the 1944 Bretton Woods conference. As absurd as that might have seemed, it exposed the fact that there was nothing backing the currency. Nixon knew this, but he refused to admit it. Why is this great? Because doing it in one day would have been too abrupt. The US held out until 1971 to agree to separate the US Dollar from gold.

2) The opening of China with Kissinger. We still have to see if this was a good thing, but nobody can deny its monumental impact.

Originally published: Wednesday, November 17, 2021; most-recently modified: Wednesday, November 17, 2021