With Khrushchev deposed, De Gaulle whipped in South America, and Wilson leader of a "little bitty majority," Lyndon Johnson is "King," said Hugh Sidey last night in the Leverett House old Library.
The emphasis in his discussion of "LBJ and U.S. Foreign Policy" was on the importance of the Presidential personality. Washington correspondent for Time magazine since 1953, Sidey is the author of John F. Kennedy, President. He was sponsored by the Harvard International Relations Council.
After stating that Johnson is essentially "domestically oriented," Sidey outlined Johnson's view of the International situation. The survey was brief and general.
With regard to Vietnam, Sidey quoted Johnson as having said, "I'm not going to have American boys fight Asian wars... Why should we fight, when one man can walk into Saigon and depose the government?" Sidey attributed the President's reluctance to extend the Asian war in part to his awe of Red China.
Not having shown himself an innovator, Johnson has nevertheless proved himself a competent president, Sidey said. He mentioned his "immense energy," his "unbelievable style," and his optimism.
He is "a benign monster loose in the land," Sidey said. Nothing is impossible--even a world with hookworm cured, no heart attacks, and an average income of $15,000 a year. What has been called "the improbable world of Lyndon Johnson," Sidney sees as "a simple but noble hope."