Sowing Dragon’s Teeth
Some historians suggest that Johnson misjudged the political environment in the sense that the conservative threat was illusory and no right-wing monster lurked at his door. Yet the evidence demonstrates two things quite clearly. First, whether the danger was real or imagined, Johnson's fear of the backlash was palpable. Former administration officials such as George Ball and Francis Bator recall that Johnson feared the “Great Beast” of the Right more than any anxiety about pressure on the Left. The US experience in Vietnam also makes clear that foreign policy exerts a tremendous influence on elections in the United States. It has long been an axiom of American politics that national security affairs and foreign policy do not play a significant role in deciding elections; scores of academic studies have argued that economic issues far outweigh international ones in terms of voter interest and decisive influence on voting patterns.
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