John F. Kennedy

Elizabeth N. Saunders

in Leaders at War

Published by Cornell University Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780801449222
Published online August 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780801460999
John F. Kennedy

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This chapter argues that President John F. Kennedy held strong beliefs that located the source of threats in the internal institutions of other states. Even before reaching the Oval Office, Kennedy saw not only communist regimes but also repressive anticommunist dictatorships as potentially threatening. As president, he immediately began to invest forcefully in transformative strategies. The chapter begins by establishing Kennedy's beliefs about the origin of threats. It then discusses his major intervention decisions, including his policies on Latin America, Laos, and Vietnam. His focus on domestic characteristics made him a discriminating intervener. He accepted a neutralist settlement in Laos but initiated a counterinsurgency war in Vietnam.

Keywords: foreign policy; intervention decision making; military intevention threats; John F. Kennedy; causal beliefs; Vietnam; Laos; Latin America

Chapter.  18154 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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