The Nixon-Kissinger Years: Reshaping America's Foreign Policy

The Nixon-Kissinger Years: Reshaping America's Foreign Policy

The Nixon-Kissinger Years: Reshaping America's Foreign Policy

The Nixon-Kissinger Years: Reshaping America's Foreign Policy

Excerpt

The legacy of President Lyndon B. Johnson to the administration of Richard M. Nixon was a gravely weakened American position in the four fundamental categories of global power: wealth, power, geopolitical position, and national will. In each category during the Johnson presidency the strategic indicators had turned from positive to sharply negative. Johnson left office with the nation's economic position severely weakened, U.S. strategic weapons superiority in eclipse, containment eviscerated, and the popular consensus severely eroded.

In strategic weapons, the United States fell from clear-cut superiority over the Soviet Union when President Johnson assumed office to virtual parity with Moscow as he was leaving it. Johnson's dogged effort to exhaust Hanoi in a war of attrition led instead to the weakening of the containment structure around the Soviet Union. The increasing cost of the war in Vietnam led to adoption of an expansionary monetary policy in hopes of paying for the war without affecting prosperity at home. Johnson refused to increase taxes (until 1968), cut back on “Great Society” expenditures, or call up military reserves.

The unfortunate effect of attempting to prosecute a major war without either sufficient financial resources or necessary manpower was to weaken the United States vis-à-vis its principal adversary, the Soviet Union, and to create the conditions for the rapid rise in economic power of America's two key allies—the former Axis powers, West Germany and Japan. The combined effect of war, infla-

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.