A Path Out of the Middle East Collapse
With Russia in Syria, a geopolitical structure that lasted four decades is in shambles. The U.S. needs a new strategy and priorities.
By HENRY A. KISSINGER
Oct. 16, 2015 7:18 p.m. ET
The debate about whether the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran regarding its nuclear program stabilized the Middle East’s strategic framework had barely begun when the region’s geopolitical framework collapsed. Russia’s unilateral military action in Syria is the latest symptom of the disintegration of the American role in stabilizing the Middle East order that emerged from the Arab-Israeli war of 1973.
In the aftermath of that conflict, Egypt abandoned its military ties with the Soviet Union and joined an American-backed negotiating process that produced peace treaties between Israel and Egypt, and Israel and Jordan, a United Nations-supervised disengagement agreement between Israel and Syria, which has been observed for over four decades (even by the parties of the Syrian civil war), and international support of Lebanon’s sovereign territorial integrity. Later, Saddam Hussein’s war to incorporate Kuwait into Iraq was defeated by an international coalition under U.S. leadership. American forces led the war against terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States were our allies in all these efforts. The Russian military presence disappeared from the region.
That geopolitical pattern is now in shambles. Four states in the region have ceased to function as sovereign. Libya, Yemen, Syria and Iraq have become targets for nonstate movements seeking to impose their rule. Over large swaths in Iraq and Syria, an ideologically radical religious army has declared itself the Islamic State (also called ISIS or ISIL) as an unrelenting foe of established world order. It seeks to replace the international system’s multiplicity of states with a caliphate, a single Islamic empire governed by Shariah law.
ISIS’ claim has given the millennium-old split between the Shiite and Sunni sects of Islam an apocalyptic dimension. The remaining Sunni states feel threatened by both the religious fervor of ISIS as well as by Shiite Iran, potentially the most powerful state in the region. Iran compounds its menace by presenting itself in a dual capacity. On one level, Iran acts as a legitimate Westphalian state conducting traditional diplomacy, even invoking the safeguards of the international system. At the same time, it organizes and guides nonstate actors seeking regional hegemony based on jihadist principles: Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria; Hamas in Gaza; the Houthis in Yemen.
Thus the Sunni Middle East risks engulfment by four concurrent sources: Shiite-governed Iran and its legacy of Persian imperialism; ideologically and religiously radical movements striving to overthrow prevalent political structures; conflicts within each state between ethnic and religious groups arbitrarily assembled after World War I into (now collapsing) states; and domestic pressures stemming from detrimental political, social and economic domestic policies.
The fate of Syria provides a vivid illustration: What started as a Sunni revolt against the Alawite (a Shiite offshoot) autocrat Bashar Assad fractured the state into its component religious and ethnic groups, with nonstate militias supporting each warring party, and outside powers pursuing their own strategic interests. Iran supports the Assad regime as the linchpin of an Iranian historic dominance stretching from Tehran to the Mediterranean.
The Gulf States insist on the overthrow of Mr. Assad to thwart Shiite Iranian designs, which they fear more than Islamic State. They seek the defeat of ISIS while avoiding an Iranian victory. This ambivalence has been deepened by the nuclear deal, which in the Sunni Middle East is widely interpreted as tacit American acquiescence in Iranian hegemony.
These conflicting trends, compounded by America’s retreat from the region, have enabled Russia to engage in military operations deep in the Middle East, a deployment unprecedented in Russian history. Russia’s principal concern is that the Assad regime’s collapse could reproduce the chaos of Libya, bring ISIS into power in Damascus, and turn all of Syria into a haven for terrorist operations, reaching into Muslim regions inside Russia’s southern border in the Caucasus and elsewhere.
On the surface, Russia’s intervention serves Iran’s policy of sustaining the Shiite element in Syria. In a deeper sense, Russia’s purposes do not require the indefinite continuation of Mr. Assad’s rule. It is a classic balance-of-power maneuver to divert the Sunni Muslim terrorist threat from Russia’s southern border region. It is a geopolitical, not an ideological, challenge and should be dealt with on that level. Whatever the motivation, Russian forces in the region—and their participation in combat operations—produce a challenge that American Middle East policy has not encountered in at least four decades.
American policy has sought to straddle the motivations of all parties and is therefore on the verge of losing the ability to shape events. The U.S. is now opposed to, or at odds in some way or another with, all parties in the region: with Egypt on human rights; with Saudi Arabia over Yemen; with each of the Syrian parties over different objectives. The U.S. proclaims the determination to remove Mr. Assad but has been unwilling to generate effective leverage—political or military—to achieve that aim. Nor has the U.S. put forward an alternative political structure to replace Mr. Assad should his departure somehow be realized.
Russia, Iran, ISIS and various terrorist organizations have moved into this vacuum: Russia and Iran to sustain Mr. Assad; Tehran to foster imperial and jihadist designs. The Sunni states of the Persian Gulf, Jordan and Egypt, faced with the absence of an alternative political structure, favor the American objective but fear the consequence of turning Syria into another Libya.
American policy on Iran has moved to the center of its Middle East policy. The administration has insisted that it will take a stand against jihadist and imperialist designs by Iran and that it will deal sternly with violations of the nuclear agreement. But it seems also passionately committed to the quest for bringing about a reversal of the hostile, aggressive dimension of Iranian policy through historic evolution bolstered by negotiation.
The prevailing U.S. policy toward Iran is often compared by its advocates to the Nixon administration’s opening to China, which contributed, despite some domestic opposition, to the ultimate transformation of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. The comparison is not apt. The opening to China in 1971 was based on the mutual recognition by both parties that the prevention of Russian hegemony in Eurasia was in their common interest. And 42 Soviet divisions lining the Sino-Soviet border reinforced that conviction. No comparable strategic agreement exists between Washington and Tehran. On the contrary, in the immediate aftermath of the nuclear accord, Iran’s Supreme Leader AyatollahAli Khamenei described the U.S. as the “Great Satan” and rejected negotiations with America about nonnuclear matters. Completing his geopolitical diagnosis, Mr. Khamenei also predicted that Israel would no longer exist in 25 years.
Forty-five years ago, the expectations of China and the U.S. were symmetrical. The expectations underlying the nuclear agreement with Iran are not. Tehran will gain its principal objectives at the beginning of the implementation of the accord. America’s benefits reside in a promise of Iranian conduct over a period of time. The opening to China was based on an immediate and observable adjustment in Chinese policy, not on an expectation of a fundamental change in China’s domestic system. The optimistic hypothesis on Iran postulates that Tehran’s revolutionary fervor will dissipate as its economic and cultural interactions with the outside world increase.
American policy runs the risk of feeding suspicion rather than abating it. Its challenge is that two rigid and apocalyptic blocs are confronting each other: a Sunni bloc consisting of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States; and the Shiite bloc comprising Iran, the Shiite sector of Iraq with Baghdad as its capital, the Shiite south of Lebanon under Hezbollah control facing Israel, and the Houthi portion of Yemen, completing the encirclement of the Sunni world. In these circumstances, the traditional adage that the enemy of your enemy can be treated as your friend no longer applies. For in the contemporary Middle East, it is likely that the enemy of your enemy remains your enemy.
A great deal depends on how the parties interpret recent events. Can the disillusionment of some of our Sunni allies be mitigated? How will Iran’s leaders interpret the nuclear accord once implemented—as a near-escape from potential disaster counseling a more moderate course, returning Iran to an international order? Or as a victory in which they have achieved their essential aims against the opposition of the U.N. Security Council, having ignored American threats and, hence, as an incentive to continue Tehran’s dual approach as both a legitimate state and a nonstate movement challenging the international order?
Two-power systems are prone to confrontation, as was demonstrated in Europe in the run-up to World War I. Even with traditional weapons technology, to sustain a balance of power between two rigid blocs requires an extraordinary ability to assess the real and potential balance of forces, to understand the accumulation of nuances that might affect this balance, and to act decisively to restore it whenever it deviates from equilibrium—qualities not heretofore demanded of an America sheltered behind two great oceans.
But the current crisis is taking place in a world of nontraditional nuclear and cyber technology. As competing regional powers strive for comparable threshold capacity, the nonproliferation regime in the Middle East may crumble. If nuclear weapons become established, a catastrophic outcome is nearly inevitable. A strategy of pre-emption is inherent in the nuclear technology. The U.S. must be determined to prevent such an outcome and apply the principle of nonproliferation to all nuclear aspirants in the region.
Too much of our public debate deals with tactical expedients. What we need is a strategic concept and to establish priorities on the following principles:
• So long as ISIS survives and remains in control of a geographically defined territory, it will compound all Middle East tensions. Threatening all sides and projecting its goals beyond the region, it freezes existing positions or tempts outside efforts to achieve imperial jihadist designs. The destruction of ISIS is more urgent than the overthrow of Bashar Assad, who has already lost over half of the area he once controlled. Making sure that this territory does not become a permanent terrorist haven must have precedence. The current inconclusive U.S. military effort risks serving as a recruitment vehicle for ISIS as having stood up to American might.
• The U.S. has already acquiesced in a Russian military role. Painful as this is to the architects of the 1973 system, attention in the Middle East must remain focused on essentials. And there exist compatible objectives. In a choice among strategies, it is preferable for ISIS-held territory to be reconquered either by moderate Sunni forces or outside powers than by Iranian jihadist or imperial forces. For Russia, limiting its military role to the anti-ISIS campaign may avoid a return to Cold War conditions with the U.S.
• The reconquered territories should be restored to the local Sunni rule that existed there before the disintegration of both Iraqi and Syrian sovereignty. The sovereign states of the Arabian Peninsula, as well as Egypt and Jordan, should play a principal role in that evolution. After the resolution of its constitutional crisis, Turkey could contribute creatively to such a process.
• As the terrorist region is being dismantled and brought under nonradical political control, the future of the Syrian state should be dealt with concurrently. A federal structure could then be built between the Alawite and Sunni portions. If the Alawite regions become part of a Syrian federal system, a context will exist for the role of Mr. Assad, which reduces the risks of genocide or chaos leading to terrorist triumph.
• The U.S. role in such a Middle East would be to implement the military assurances in the traditional Sunni states that the administration promised during the debate on the Iranian nuclear agreement, and which its critics have demanded.
• In this context, Iran’s role can be critical. The U.S. should be prepared for a dialogue with an Iran returning to its role as a Westphalian state within its established borders.
The U.S. must decide for itself the role it will play in the 21st century; the Middle East will be our most immediate—and perhaps most severe—test. At question is not the strength of American arms but rather American resolve in understanding and mastering a new world.
Mr. Kissinger served as national-security adviser and secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford.
Kissinger offers wise words on China
By Walter Pincus, Published: October 9
When Henry Kissinger talks about China, Mitt Romney and President Obama ought to listen — and so should the rest of us.
Last Wednesday during a panel at the Woodrow Wilson Center, the 89-year-old former secretary of state used his unique 40-year-experience with Chinese leaders to give a tutorial on how to handle the sensitive relations between Beijing and Washington.
Kissinger’s presentation went far beyond his criticism of Obama’s and Romney’s attacks on China’s economic practices.
He gave a perceptive short history of Chinese leadership since the Communist revolution, an evolution that few Americans appreciate.
“Each generation of Chinese leader . . . reflected the mission and the conditions of his period,” Kissinger said.
He described Mao Zedong as a revolutionary, “a prophet who was consumed by the objectives he had set and who recognized no obstacles in terms of feasibility.”
Using traditional Chinese language, Kissinger said Mao had to find the more distant barbarian to deal with a closer barbarian, referring to getting the United States to balance the Soviet Union.
As his initial negotiator, Mao chose his prime minister for decades, Zhou Enlai, whom Kissinger described as “the most skillful diplomat that I encountered, a man of extraordinary ability to intuit the intangibles of a situation.”
And though Mao wanted a strategic partnership, he did not want China to become dependent on the outside world. Instead, Mao “insisted on maintaining the purity of the communist doctorate,” Kissinger said.
Mao’s successor, Deng Xiaoping, was “a greater reformer,” according to Kissinger, who added, “I certainly met no other Chinese who had the vision and the courage to move China into the international system and . . . in instituting a market system.”
Jiang Zemin, the leader after the Tiananmen Square massacre, was described by Kissinger as someone who spent most of his 12 years “restoring China to the international system.” His successor, Hu Jintao, was “the first leader that actually had to operate China as part of a globalized system.”
The new generation, Kissinger said, faces a “transformation over the next 10 years” of moving “400 million people from the countryside into the cities.” This will involve not just technical infrastructure problems but a change of values and also a change in the role of the Communist party, he said.
Kissinger said he had spoken to Xi Jinping, the expected next Chinese president, and believes he will seek such enormous internal changes that “it’s unlikely that in 10 years the next generation will come into office with exactly the same institutions that exist today.
“This is one reason why I do not believe that great foreign adventures or confrontations with the United States can be on their agenda,” Kissinger said. But because Xi faces the need to make difficult domestic changes, he may be more assertive in responding to foreign critics, he added.
“What we must not demand or expect is that they will follow the mechanisms with which we are more familiar. It will be a Chinese version . . . and it will not be achieved without some domestic difficulties.”
One other point to remember, Kissinger said, “Mao could give orders. The current leaders have to operate by consensus, at least of the standing committee.”
Historians call China a rising country and the United States a status quo country, but as Kissinger pointed out, “China is a country that is returning to what it believes it has always been, namely the center of Asian affairs.”
As a result, “it’s inevitable that a rising China will impinge on the Unites States,” Kissinger noted. He called a conflict between the two “a disaster for both countries” where “it would be impossible to describe what a victory would look like.”
It was in that context that Kissinger said, “In each country [the U.S. and China] there are domestic pressures that emphasize disagreements that might arise. We see that in our political campaign in which both candidates are using language about China which I think is extremely deplorable.”
Asked about his endorsement of Romney, who has talked about labeling China a currency manipulator, Kissinger replied, “The Romney campaign does not check it, you know, with me. I have stated my general view.”
Kissinger pointed out that stirring things up on the Chinese side were “their strategic centers [military and civilian think tanks], in which their strategic analysts are pushing a very nationalistic line.”
He continued, “When great countries deal with each other there is a balancing element involved, but the balance should be sought in non-military terms to the greatest extent possible.”
That is why Kissinger said he believes there should be consultations about not just grievances, but about objectives on things upon which they can agree. He pointed out that while differences in how Washington should deal with China have arisen in the past, only two presidents tried to reinvent policy. “The maximum period of time it lasted was two years, and then they reversed it because they recognized from experience the necessities of our future,” Kissinger said.
He warned about an American attitude “that we know the answers to all the questions and that it is our mission to make the world exactly over in the American image.” China, he said, “managed to stagger through 3,800 years . . . without assistance from the United States.”
“As a country we have to learn that when you conduct foreign policy, you have to deal with interests as well as values, and you have to reconcile the concerns of other countries with your own concerns. . . . That is a national challenge for the United States, no matter which party is in office,” Kissinger said.
Obama and Romney should take that to heart.
Iran must be President Obama’s immediate priority
By Henry A. Kissinger, Published: November 16
Henry A. Kissinger was secretary of state from 1973 to 1977.
In the aftermath of an exhausting reelection campaign, the most urgent decision facing the president is how to stop Iran from pursuing a military nuclear program. Presidents of both parties have long declared that “no option is off the table” in securing this goal. In the third presidential debate, the candidates agreed that this was a matter of the American national interest, even as they described the objective alternately as preventing an Iranian “nuclear weapon” or “breakout capacity” (President Obama), or a “nuclear-capable Iran” (Mitt Romney). As Iran continues to elaborate its enrichment capacity and move it underground, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a spring deadline for counteraction. In this fraught environment, what operational meaning should be given to America’s declared objectives?
The United States and Iran are apparently conducting bilateral negotiations through official or semiofficial emissaries — a departure from the previous procedure of multilateral talks. Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program do not have an encouraging record. For more than a decade, Iran has stalled, first with the “EU-3” (France, Germany and Britain) and then with the “P5+1” (the members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany). It has alternated hints of flexibility with periods of intransigence, all while expanding, concealing and dispersing its nuclear facilities. If no limit is placed on this process, Iran’s technological progress will dominate events. But at what stage, and in what manner, should Iran be deprived of a military nuclear capability? This has been the essence of the argument over “red lines.”
Three stages are involved in the evolution of a military nuclear capability: a delivery system, a capacity to enrich uranium and the production of nuclear warheads. Iran has been augmenting the range and number of its missile systems since at least 2006. Its enrichment capacity — long underreported to the International Atomic Energy Agency — has been expanded to thousands of centrifuges (the instruments that enrich uranium to bomb-grade material). The level exceeds any reasonable definition of peaceful uses authorized by the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The inevitable culmination is a nuclear weapon.
To draw the line at proscribing an Iranian nuclear weapon — as some argue — would prove unmanageable. Once the requisite amount of fissile material has been produced, constructing and equipping a warhead is a relatively short and technologically straightforward process, almost certainly impossible to detect in a timely fashion.
If so ineffectual a red line were to emerge from a decade of diplomacy by the permanent members of the Security Council, the result would be an essentially uncontrollable military nuclear proliferation throughout a region roiled by revolution and sectarian blood-feuds. Iran would thereby achieve the status of North Korea, with a military nuclear program at the very edge of going operational. Each nation that has a nuclear option would compete to minimize the time to its own full military nuclear capability. Meanwhile, countries within the reach of Iran’s military but lacking a nuclear option would be driven to reorient their political alignment toward Tehran. The reformist tendencies in the Arab Spring — already under severe pressure — would be submerged by this process. The president’s vision of progress toward a global reduction of nuclear weapons would suffer a blow, perhaps a fatal one.
Some have argued that even in the worst-case scenario, a nuclear Iran could be deterred. Yet this ignores the immensely costly, complex and tension-ridden realities of Cold War-era deterrence, the apocalyptic strain in the Iranian theocracy and the near-certainty that several regional powers will go nuclear if Iran does. Once nuclear balances are forged in conditions where tensions are no longer purely bilateral, as in the Cold War, and in still-developing countries whose technology to prevent accidents is rudimentary, the likelihood of some nuclear exchange will mount dramatically.
This is why the United States has insisted on limits on Iranian enrichment — that is, curtailing access to a weapon’s precursor elements. Abandoning the original demand to ban all enrichment, the P5+1 has explored what levels of production of fissile material are compatible with the peaceful uses authorized by the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The higher the level of enrichment, the shorter the time needed to bring about militarily applicable results. Conventional wisdom holds that the highest practically enforceable limit is 5 percent enrichment, and then only if all fissile material beyond an agreed amount is safeguarded outside Iran.
The time available for a diplomatic outcome shrinks in direct proportion as the Iranian enrichment capacity grows and a military nuclear capacity approaches. The diplomatic process must therefore be brought to a point of decision. The P5+1 or the United States unilaterally must put forward a precise program to curtail Iranian enrichment with specific time limits.
This does not imply a red line authorizing any country to go to war. However respectfully the views of friends are considered, the ultimate decision over peace or war must remain in the hands of the president. Why negotiate with a country of such demonstrated hostility and evasiveness? Precisely because the situation is so fraught. Diplomacy may reach an acceptable agreed outcome. Or its failure will mobilize the American people and the world. It will clarify either the causes of an escalating crisis, up to the level of military pressure, or ultimate acquiescence in an Iranian nuclear program. Either outcome will require a willingness to see it through to its ultimate implications. We cannot afford another strategic disaster.
To the extent that Iran shows willingness to conduct itself as a nation-state, rather than a revolutionary religious cause, and accepts enforceable verification, elements of Iranian security concerns should be taken seriously, including gradual easing of sanctions as strict limits on enrichment are implemented and enforced. But time will be urgent. Tehran must be made to understand that the alternative to an agreement is not simply a further period of negotiation and that using negotiations to gain time will have grave consequences. A creative diplomacy, allied to a determined strategy, may still be able to prevent a crisis provided the United States plays a decisive role in defining permissible outcomes.
Hopes and dreams: The screenwriter said this photo of Bill and Hillary starting their journey together at Yale Law School, in New Haven, CT in 1972, inspired the opening scene of the movie
Richard Nixon advised Bill Clinton on post-Cold War world
Richard Nixon, the disgraced former US president, quietly advised President Bill Clinton during the final weeks of his life, newly declassified documents have disclosed in detail for the first time.
By Jon Swaine, Washington3:35PM GMT 14 Feb 2013
Mr Nixon, the only president to have resigned from office, counselled Mr Clinton on American foreign policy after the end of the Cold War and even offered to act as his go-between with Russia.
An exhibition opening on Friday at the Nixon Presidential Library in California features documents and memos detailing his relations with the White House after Mr Clinton took office in 1993.
In a video message recorded for the library, Mr Clinton recalls seeking the advice of his predecessor at a time when many Americans were tempted to say: “We’ve had enough of the world”.
“President Nixon knew we had to continue to reach out to old friends and to old enemies alike,” says Mr Clinton in the clip. “He knew America could not quit the world”.
Some 18 years after his resignation following the Watergate scandal, Mr Nixon wrote to Mr Clinton to congratulate him on his hard-fought presidential election victory over President George HW Bush.
Hillary Clinton and John Doar bring Impeachment charges against Nixon (Getty Images
His wife Hillary, who stepped down as Secretary of State last month, helped bring down Mr Nixon as a junior lawyer for a House of Representatives committee that considered his impeachment following the Watergate saga, in which the Nixon White House attempted to cover up the burglary of a Democratic party office in Washington by operatives for his re-election campaign.
Mr Clinton discloses in his video recording for the exhibit that he went on longing for the counsel of Mr Nixon following the former president’s death on 22 April 1994.
At his funeral, Mr Clinton said: “May the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close.”
“After he died, I found myself wishing I could pick up the phone and ask President Nixon what he thought about this issue or that problem, particularly if it involved Russia,” he says in the clip. “I appreciated his insight and advice and I’m glad he chose, at the end of his life, to share it with me”.
Richard Nixon’s dark side has obscured his greatness
A hundred years after his birth, it is time to reassess the legacy of the disgraced US president Richard Nixon
A divisive personality: since Watergate, many Americans regard Richard Milhous Nixon as their worst president, yet there is still a substantial fan club Photo: AP
Secret White House tapes reveal that LBJ knew about Nixon’s ‘treason’ – but never reported it
PUBLISHED: 14:47 EST, 17 March 2013 | UPDATED:15:08 EST, 17 March 2013
President Lyndon Johnson knew of a plan by Richard Nixon to disrupt Vietnam War peace talks through ‘treason,’ but ultimately decided not to speak out about it, White House recordings have revealed.
The tapes, dating back to Johnson’s last months in office between May 1968 and January 1969, show that Johnson was onto Nixon, who at the time was the Republican nominee for president.
According to the tapes, Johnson learned through FBI wiretaps that Nixon had played a role in getting South Vietnam to withdraw from peace talks in Paris that would effectively end the Vietnam War, and was therefore guilty of treason.
Staying mum: President Lyndon Johnson knew of a plan by Richard Nixon to disrupt Vietnam War peace talks through ‘treason,’ but ultimately decided not to speak out about it
Johnson found out that Nixon had reached out to Anna Chennault, one of his senior campaign officials, to convince South Vietnam Ambassador Bui Diem to pull out of peace talks until after the election, according to the BBC.
Accusations of Nixon’s influence in the peace conference have been reported before, but the tapes provide a look at how the situation was handled by Johnson
Without an end to the Vietnam War by Election Day, Nixon was voted into the White House.
Johnson could be heard saying on one particular recording that Nixon, another fan of White House audio recordings who would resign the presidency in 1974, had ‘blood on his hands.’
During a conversation with Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois, Johnson, referring to people close to Nixon, and said, ‘This is treason.’ Dirksen was the Republican leader in the Senate.
War: In one recording, Johnson could be heard saying that Nixon has ‘blood on his hands’ after his interference in the Vietnam War peace talks
In a call to Sen Richard Russell of Georgia, Johnson says: ‘We have found that our friend, the Republican nominee, our California friend, has been playing on the outskirts with our enemies and our friends both, he has been doing it through rather subterranean sources.’
But despite Johnson’s knowledge, it does not appear that he did a thing about it.
Johnson opted to take the secret of the scandal to his grave, fearing that exposing Nixon would also reveal he had bugged the South Vietnam’s ambassador’s phone, and cause a national security mess.
The tapes also shed light on Johnson’s desire to run for another term, asking Chicago Mayor Richard Daley if the Democratic party would get behind him if he announced he would run again.
President: Without an end to the Vietnam War by Election Day, Nixon was voted into the White House. He would later resign from the presidency in 1974
But his bid to crash that year’s Democratic convention in the Windy City was thwarted when the Secret Service informed Johnson that his safety could be in jeopardy due to anti-war protesters.
News of the Johnson recordings comes about a month after the 36th president’s love letters to Claudia Alta Taylor, the woman who would later become his wife, were revealed.
The correspondence between the 26-year-old future president and the woman the world would come to know as Lady Bird are available for public review for the first time on Valentine’s Day – at the LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas at Austin.
A few of the letters were previously released but not the entire collection, which were also posted online.
To sir with love: Love letters between Lyndon Johnson and his future wife were displayed at the LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas in Austin beginning last month