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Was President Johnson's approach to foreign affairs similar to or different from...

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ashmeh | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 28, 2010 at 9:12 AM via web

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Was President Johnson's approach to foreign affairs similar to or different from Kennedy's? Explain your answer.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 28, 2010 at 9:53 AM (Answer #1)

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In my opinion, the two presidents had pretty similar approaches.  But please be aware that your book may have a specific answer that you are expected to find...

In my opinion, they were similar because they were both willing to take big risks to try to contain communism.  JFK did such things as trying to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs and then blockading Cuba during the missile crisis.  He was also willing to be underhanded and do things like approving the overthrow of Diem in South Vietnam.

LBJ took risks too.  He threw more and more troops into Vietnam, trying to get the war won.  He was willing to be underhanded as well, as we can see in how he pushed through the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution under false pretences.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 28, 2010 at 10:39 PM (Answer #2)

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If you are examining a textbook, refer to that first in terms of progressing towards your answer.  Sometimes, teachers and instructors are assessing you on what the text says and your text might hold a specific view that has to be understood.  Having said this, I would say that the question is fairly difficult to answer because the sampling of data we have from Kennedy's administration is not as present as Johnson's.  On one hand, we understand that both were driven to defeat Communism.  Kennedy's stance in the Cuban Missile Crisis and LBJ's stated initiatives in Vietnam would confirm that both were motivated by defeating Communism.  We can also presume that there is some level of similarity in their foreign policy approach as many of the staff that advised Kennedy were also there to advise Johnson (McNamara, Bundy, Wheeler, as well as George Ball, as examples.)  The largest area of divergence would have to be Vietnam.  Simply put, we don't know if Kennedy would have pursued escalation and its disastrous consequences as LBJ did.  Johnson did argue on many occasion that he was merely carrying out the will of his predecessor, but there is a fairly large belief that argues that Kennedy would have found ways to minimize U.S. involvement in Vietnam.  At the same time, there is an equally sizable contingent who argues that Kennedy's placement of "military advisors" was a first step that would have increased had he been alive.

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hsissen | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 18, 2010 at 10:50 PM (Answer #3)

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i think, the two presidents had pretty similar approaches.  they were both willing to take big risks to try to contain communism that's why they were similar .  JFK tried to invade Cuba at the Bay of Pigs and then blockading Cuba during the missile crisis.

LBJ took risks too.  He threw more and more troops into Vietnam, trying to get the war won.  He was trying to be underhanded as well, as we can see in how he pushed through the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution under false pretences.

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