Johnson vs. Potter on the Vietnam War

Johnson: “We must fight if we are to live in a world where every country can shape its own destiny; We are there because we have a promise to keep. Since 1954 every American President has offered to support the people of South Viet-Nam.”

Potter: “Vietnam, we may say, is a laboratory run by a new breed of gamesmen who approach war as a kind of rational exercise in international power politics.”


If those two quotes from the addresses of both politicians doesn’t distinguish their opinions on America’s involvement with the Vietnam War, I don’t know what will. Johnson’s point in concerning America with the Viet-Nam War is apparently purely for the reason that Viet-Nam needed help and the United States has been their ally and therefore needs to offer aid. His reasoning is help an ally in need, which could’ve resonated with many Americans for the reason that should America need help, its ally would do the same as it did for Vietnam. 

Potter’s view on the Vietnam War, however, differed dramatically as it accused the American government of using the war as an experiment for political power. He says that the war has done nothing for America but extend the governmental power to manipulate foreign countries. Potter didn’t believe that the freedom of one country is only obtained by destroying another, and because of that, his view on the Vietnam War focused solely on the intentions of the government. International power politics is what he said American government used Vietnam for–control of foreign countries, beneficial to the United States as the government saw fit. 


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