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84

December 27, 2009

Knights can switch to a Gardener’s approach to resolve a conflict, but other Knights will accuse them of being weak, pursuing surrender, betraying core Knight values, or failing a spiritual test—unless the Knight already possesses unimpeachable credibility as a Knight. After all, only Nixon could go to China, and only Reagan could call on Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.

President Harry S Truman, whose Knight credentials were cemented in the wake of dropping atomic bombs on Japan at the close of World War II, acted as a Gardener after the war was over, aiding the establishment of the Marshall Plan, United Nations, and state of Israel. He also transferred nuclear technology from military to civilian hands for peaceful purposes, and racially integrated the U.S. Army. These actions—seen as betrayals of Knight principles—nearly cost him the 1948 presidential election.

President Ronald Reagan began arms control talks with the Soviet Union in 1984 in the wake of a near nuclear exchange with the Soviets in 1983 when the Soviets mistook the “Able Archer” military exercises for a NATO first strike and almost launched their nuclear arsenal. Reagan’s Gardener intentions to limit or roll back the U.S.’ nuclear arsenal were seen as so out of character for Reagan—by then the Knight’s Knight—that they were doubted by even his closest confidantes, and seen as madness by his political allies.

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