Compare And Contrast Johnson And Nixon

1350 Words 6 Pages
Alexandra Cox
Johnson vs. Nixon
Kennedy and Johnson started and expanded the war in Vietnam, making it the dominant issue of foreign policy. Johnson escalated the Soviet containment strategy in Vietnam with more ground troops. Johnson wanted to focus on internal affairs like health care but had to address the war he inherited in Vietnam and could not fulfill both domestic or foreign policy successfully. Nixon ended the war in Vietnam, his slogan while running for presidency was “Peace with honor” and he succeeded at it through political negotiations. Most of Nixon’s foreign policy was to prioritize détente with China and the Soviet Union so it helped increase political slack. Johnson and Nixon had two different foreign policy plans and Nixon’s
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Both presidents adhered to a containment plan and called it "flexible response". 1965, President Lyndon Johnson had to deal with increased opposition as a result of Operation Rolling Thunder, an expanded U.S. bombing campaign against the North Vietnamese. 1968 following the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution LBJ drastically escalated American involvement in Vietnam from 16,000 advisors and soldiers to 550,000 combat troops in 1968. Making this officially into what would be known as Johnson 's War. This war would not only dominate his entire foreign policy, but it would also overshadow his ambitious dreams for domestic programs. According to Gaddis the failure of LBJ is a result to the "sensitivity to the need to keep ends and means in balance was precisely what was lacking in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations; there was instead a preoccupation with process at the expense of objectives, a fascination so great with things were to be done that it tended to obscure what was being done...This, then, was the unexpected legacy of 'flexible response ': not 'fine tuning ' but clumsy overreaction, not coordination but disproportion, not strategic precision, but, in the end, a strategic vacuum." (273) Flexible response would not win wars according to Gaddis. The name even implies that there is no strategic maneuvering or planning on anybody’s part, rather America is just responding to all the …show more content…
Kissinger had many similar thought processes to Kennan a political scientist whose goals were to contain the Soviet Union as to not spread communism. As Gaddis writes by comparing Kennan and Kissinger one can see the differences in the, "their congruent approaches seem to have grown out of a shared commitment to the 'realist ' tradition in American foreign policy, an intellectual orientation solidly grounded in the study of European diplomatic history, a degree of detachment from the academic and policy-making elites of the 1950 's and 1960 's, and, above all, a sense of strategy -- an insistence on the importance of establishing coherent relationships between ends and means. It was on this last point, more than anything else, that the Kennan-Kissinger connection primarily rested: both men understood the existence of a strategic 'logic ' transcending time and circumstance; a way of thinking that can make ideas formulated in one context relevant to very different ones; that can make it possible for thoughtful men, separated in their periods of public responsibility by a quarter of century, to apply with some success similar strategies to vastly dissimilar situations." (308) Both of these political scientists could see the big picture. The Cold War cannot be one from a single battle like the war in Vietnam. Rather presidents must focus on making sure they can move strategically so that they

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