The Presidency: Time of Testing

It was inevitable that sooner or later there would be a contest of wills between John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev. The Kennedy Administration in its first days encouraged the clash to come sooner rather than later by naively letting the Russians know that the new team wanted a six-month lull in the cold war while it thought through its policies. Then, while Khrushchev toured the outer reaches of Russia, Communist guerrillas gobbled up a significant part of the tiny, faraway but significant Kingdom of Laos.

Last week brought a harsh and sudden intensification of events. In Laos, the Pathet...

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