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President Harry Truman


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President Harry Truman, the first Cold War President, had a sign on his desk saying “The Buck Stops Here.” The Webliography contains a link to the photo and story. Indecisive people can pass on their responsibilities and “pass the buck,” and advisory people can propose their concepts and lobby for acceptance, but the President can ultimately turn to nobody else. Presidents must make the hard decisions. It is a heavy mantle to bear on those presidential shoulders. It is lonely at the top.
President Johnson’s “wise men” possessed depth in their areas of expertise beyond that of the President, who was a master mover of legislation to accomplish domestic social programs but very much out of his league in military matters and international relations.
To begin, evaluate this question: To what extent was the March 1968 reevaluation of the Vietnam War, as a function of Cold War ideology, accomplished to satisfy domestic concerns rather than international concerns? In a time of mixed obligations, how can we differentiate what is domestic from what is international in American politics?

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