Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lyndon B. Johnson

Today is Wednesday, 27 August 2008.

Lyndon B. Johnson, thirty-sixth President, was born on this date a century ago.

Johnson will be remembered as a master of the legislative process, leading the creation of Medicare, Medicaid, the War on Poverty, and ensuring the passage, against fierce opposition, much from within his own party, of the landmark Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.

Sadly, Johnson will also be remembered for the monstrous escalation of the Indochina War.

The Indochina War was set in motion in 1945, when the restored French government determined to reassert its colonial dictatorship over Indochina. In an attempt to shore up the French against the Soviets, Harry Truman committed the USA/USE to financing the effort. The truly fatal move came in 1954, when the French resigned the game, and the Republican regime of President Dwight Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles assumed the role of colonialist power in Indochina.

When Johnson assumed the Presidency in 1963, he soon fell into the trap of buying into the fantasy that most Americans indulged in at the time: that every Marxist-Leninist regime had no independent nationalist ambitions, and that their every move was dictated by a vast conspiracy controlled directly and completely from Moscow. He failed to understand that the peoples of Indochina no more wanted to be the pawns of Russian colonialism than they wanted to be the pawns of French or American colonialism.

Had Johnson been capable of admitting that the Cold War was not an apocalyptic struggle between Absolute Good and Absolute Evil, but rather a conventional conflict between two evil empires, much suffering might have been avoided.

The term “Greek tragedy” is too loosely and frequently evoked in historical analysis. It seems appropriate in the case of Johnson: how one person’s tragic flaw became the tragedy of millions.


Anonymous there seems to be a disparity said...

Why is Johnson just a "tragic figure" and Bush, Chaney, and McCain are the "Trinity Anti-Christ?" You use the art of words to suit your own needs. Such talent sure is going to waste in a blog.

2:47 PM  

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