Foreign Relations: How to Take Up the Slack

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Though in some ways Lyndon Johnson is a consummate politician, nobody has ever confused him with Disraeli. Somehow, the picture of Smooth Lyndon the Senate Persuader does not carry over into his conduct of foreign affairs. Indeed, during his first 100 days or so, the President sometimes gave the impression that U.S. influence abroad had declined because of some failure in his capacity to deal with crises. And as crises flashed across the map like fireflies on a hot night—as Viet Nam got messier and Charles de Gaulle frostier—-that critical impression of Johnson made it seem all the...

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