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The Legacy of J. William FulbrightPolicy, Power, and Ideology$
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Alessandro Brogi, Giles Scott-Smith, and Snyder David J.

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813177700

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813177700.001.0001

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date: 02 July 2022

J. William Fulbright and the Retreat of American Power

J. William Fulbright and the Retreat of American Power

Anglo-Australian Views of Fulbright and US Neo-Isolationism

(p.93) J. William Fulbright and the Retreat of American Power
The Legacy of J. William Fulbright

David L. Prentice

University Press of Kentucky

Allies feared not the arrogance of American power in the late 1960s and 1970s but its retreat. For British and Australian policymakers, Senator J. William Fulbright symbolized congressional neo-isolationism. They believed his rhetoric, actions, and Senate leadership challenged American commitments worldwide and thereby threatened their national security and global stability. These nations encouraged US presidents to maintain commitments even as they adapted their foreign policies to accommodate the presumed American retreat. Fulbright saw the situation differently. He worried these policies eroded the American people’s faith in the democratic system, invited social unrest, and frittered away scarce resources in overzealous Cold War commitments. Rather than isolationism, he sought a return to the cooperation, compromise, and multilateralism of liberal internationalism.

Keywords:   Fulbright, Isolationism, Neo-isolationism, Internationalism, Nixon doctrine, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

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