President Harry Truman, the first Cold War President, had a sign on his desk saying â€œThe Buck Stops Here.â€ The Webliography contains a link to the photo and story. Indecisive people can pass on their responsibilities and â€œpass the buck,â€ 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 Johnsonâ€™s â€œwise menâ€ 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?