Lyndon Johnson on Foreign Policy
He also tried to get the best brains available to help settle any problem. He likes to remain in personal control of most situations.
He had little respect for American relations with other nations after the Truman Administration. The basic trouble, Pres. Johnson believed was that the US is a nation easily misunderstood by foreign leaders, and that it had failed to make itself clear.
Of the Latin American regional group, the Organization of American States, LBJ said on an occasion when he knew his words would be repeated, "It couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel." The OAS had been notoriously indecisive and ineffective, but one OAS diplomat remarked that it "made us think that your President does not consider us too important."
The UN Mekong project "would make TVA look like a minor operation." The Mekong project seized Johnson's mind and emotions. Here was a chance to build something. While in Southeast Asia, the Vice President saw to it that he learned everything he could about the Mekong development program. Meeting with its planning committee in Bangkok, he let them know, "I am a river man. All my life I've been interested in rivers and their development."
"There's been talk years, planning for years. When do we get some action?" The Mekong project was just the sort of program to fill out and underline the emerging lines of LBJ's thinking about the world.
The law of history marched with his phrases. What do "the ordinary men and women of North Vietnam and South Vietnam--of China and India--of Russia and America"--want? "They want what their neighbors also desire: food for their hunger; health for their bodies; a chance to learn; progress for their country; and an end to the bondage of material misery."
Johnson was with them, he wanted them to know. He intended to expand and speed up the sending of American farm surpluses to "the needy in Asia." He proposed a "greatly expanded" co-operative program for social up-building in Southeast Asia, with the aid of the US, the UN, and the USSR.
Nothing was happening to bear out the prediction made in the 1954 campaign that election of a Democratic Congress would give birth to a regressive "cold war" between the executive and legislative branches of the government. "The objectives of foreign policy should be to promote and preserve the security and the integrity of the US. From the very beginning of this Congress, the Democratic leadership made it clear that they would support the President in any effort to obtain those objectives."
"That promise was fulfilled. It was fulfilled in the Formosa Resolution when the President sought to draw a line against Chinese Communist aggression. It was fulfilled in the approval of the Paris pacts, which laid the cornerstone for the defenses of Europe against communism."
|Other past presidents on Foreign Policy:||Lyndon Johnson on other issues:|
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Past Vice Presidents:
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