If you really want to know who toppled the Soviet regime, do not look to any American president. Together, Boris Yeltson and Mikhail Gorbachev brought down the Iron Curtain and atttempted to drag Russia into the Twenty First century kicking and screaming. Although this process continues today, these gentlemen that open the door for change.
With the fall of the U.S.S.R. also came the end of talk about Mutually Assured Destruction via atomic suicide. Just in case you feel that Yeltsin never did anything for you, here’s a one thing you’ve got going for you.
Yeltsin was by no means perfect and his faults were well publisized. His decision to use force to put down the Chechnyan rebellion with force will certainly counterbalance the heroic image of him standing on a tank in front of the Kremlin. There is no recent American analog to this image of a (furture) president personally endangering himslef for his country in such a pronounced way. Maybe JFK during WWII? H. W. Bush was a pilot during WWII and Ike commanded D-Day, but these don’t seem as personal as JFK’s PT boat adventure.
While I’m glad Yeltsin was not an American president, he still should be remembered by all Americans.