ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Domesticating Foreign Policy

Vol VI, No 47 november 20, 1971

Domesticating Foreign Policy

Foreign policy, especially towards Vietnam and South-East Asia, was a major issue in both the 1964 and 1968 American Presi­dential elections. If Johnson was elected in 1964 at least partly because the campaign noises he made over Vietnam were less strident than those made by Barry Gold­water, he was also forced to retire from the 1968 race as he had not been able to dis­entangle Vietnam from the web of American domestic politics. When Nixon took over in 1968, it was difficult to visualise how even an admittedly astute political ­operator like him could lessen the US enmeshment in Vietnam without losing face internationally and without causing a domestic uproar about all those years of wasted American blood and treasure. Yet, through a series of well-calculated moves Nixon has not only defused Vietnam as an issue in US polities and consequently, in the 1972 election, but has managed to do this without arousing much passion at home or abroad.

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