In 1964, on this day John F. Kennedy was re-elected President of the United States. On the one hand, he accomplished the task of narrow passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the eventual passage of the 1966 Voting Rights Act, after much delay and compromise. But the White House soon found itself under fire when in 1964, the People's Republic of China detonated its first Atomic Bomb.
What if JFK Had Survived Dallas?These criticisms become even greater when the Kennedy, against the advice of his military advisors and his Secretary of State Robert MacNamara, orders the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam, during the lame duck year of 1967.
A new story by Jose Ricardo G. BondocBy 1968, the situation becomes even more grim for the Democrats. With the Soviets moving troops into Czechoslavakia, Viet Cong troops overrunning the capital of Saigon and the Chinese explosion of an H-Bomb, many Republicans and even some moderate Democrats are beginning to question whether the Kennedy administration's foreign policy should be considered a failure.
Based on these concerns, and the disillusionment many white Southerners due to the Civil Rights legislation of the administration, Governor Ronald Reagan of California is elected President and Senator Robert Dole is elected Vice-President in 1968. Upon his inauguration, Reagan seeks to assure the nation stating, "It is morning in America!". The national sense of pride is further boosted that summer with the launch of Apollo 11. Yet the situation returns to situation of grim struggle when in 1970, backed by Vietnamese and Chinese forces, Communist forces begin attacks against the Thai military government. Based on these attacks, Reagan orders 50,000 troops into Thailand in order to back the military government in the region. The situation in Asia begins to escalate even further when Reagan blocks the PRC's entrance into the United Nations.Winning by a further landslide in 1972, Ronald Reagan is swept back into the White House.
By the 1976, Dole is running for the Presidency. As such it is not entirely unexpected that in the need for a clear victory against in the Thai Communist forces, Reagan orders the bombing of Cambodia. Although Democrats are apt to protest the action, yet they are hampered by the 1974 revelations of extramarrital affairs of John F. Kennedy during his administration. Yet the darkest element of the situation is the further chilling of relations with China as Mao dies.
By 1978 the Dole adminstration has been in office for over a year, when a military coup d'etat takes over the nation of Thailand, ending the U.S. backed democratic coalition.
By 1979, the Dole administration is faced with even greater foreign policy crises. In Iran the U.S. embassy is taken over by followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini, angered by the Reagan/Dole administration's support of the Shah of Iran. The region is further inflamed by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In China, the situation nearly explodes as Chinese forces lay claim to Taiwan, causing the Taiwan Straits Crisis.
With this, the Democrats are elected back into the White House under Eugene McCarthy and Walter Mondale in 1980, promising peace in Southeast Asia and security against the now revived "Communist menace".