The Hon. Donald Rumsfeld
The Honorable Donald Rumsfeld is a former Congressman, U.S. Representative to NATO, and served as the Secretary of Defense to two U.S. presidents. Firmly opposed to détente, which he viewed as appeasement, he believed the Kennedy administration to have been too soft on the Soviet Union and Kissinger to be far too complacent about the growing Soviet military threat. His views on Soviet military strength are credited with Congress’ decision to increase military spending. During a 2005 trip to South America as the Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld repeatedly warned countries of troubling behavior by Venezuela, an action reminiscent of those by the U.S. during the Cold War when officials made every effort to support anti-Communist groups and governments. Perceived as a hawk on the Soviet Union, Rumsfeld oversaw the development and buildup of U.S. military strength in response to the Soviet communist threat. In 2012, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation awarded him with the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom.