Title

Idealism and Pragmatism in American Foreign Policy Rhetoric: The Case of John F. Kennedy and Vietnam

Document Type

Article

Language

eng

Format of Original

16 p.

Publication Date

Summer 1994

Publisher

Wiley

Source Publication

Presidential Studies Quarterly

Source ISSN

0360-4918

Original Item ID

Shelves: JK 501 .C44 1994 v. 24, Memorial Periodicals

Abstract

Kennedy's rhetoric on Vietnam serves as an exemplar of how presidents balance idealistic arguments, which apply principles of genus to public problem-solving, and pragmatic arguments, which emphasize the efficacy or practicality of politics. Through idealistic appeals, Kennedy legitimized his Vietnam policy and depicted himself as a principled leader. The President's pragmatic appeals helped him deflect criticism, justify slow progress, and build an image of expertise. The analysis of Kennedy's Vietnam rhetoric also indicates that had the President lived, his public discourse may have led him to face many of the same persuasive difficulties that plagued Lyndon Johnson.

Comments

Presidential Studies Quarterly, Vol. 24, N0. 3 (Summer 1994): 515-530. Permalink.