One work I’d love the Waypoint staff to dig into (if they wanted to contoninue down this foreign policy consideration path) would be a work like Frederik Logevall’s Choosing War, which is a book that attempts to assess Lyndon B. Johnson’s foreign policy and, in essence, ask the question of how the U.S. ‘fell into’ the Vietnam War quagmire.
The book’s thesis (and the reason for my tactical scare quotes) is that the thesis is that, in essence, the U.S. didn’t ‘fall into’ the Vietnam War, but Johnson, a reformer at home keen to strengthen the New Deal era with his Great Society package, consistently relegated foreign policy to a second-tier status. Consequently, he took the short-term solution each time an issue came up, resulting in military interventions in the Dominican Republic in 1965 (which Logevall spends little time with) and the Vietnam War throughout his presidency (which Logevall focuses on).
I think it’d be an interesting companion piece, even if excerpted to a chapter or two to fit into a Waypoints segment.
To me, that kind of domestic-first, foreign-policy-second mindset that Johnson seems to represent does cast a shadow over our current moment of leftist hesitancy and indecisiveness on the topic. Would a leftist president be another Johnson?