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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

Nice to meet you, President Tito …

Nice to meet you, President Tito …

Senator Fulbright and the Yugoslav Lesson for Vietnam

(p.241) Nice to meet you, President Tito …
The Legacy of J. William Fulbright

Carla Konta

University Press of Kentucky

The chapter explores the political backgrounds, strategic interests, and diplomatic consequences of Senator J. William Fulbright’s visit to socialist Yugoslavia in November 1964 to chair the signing of the Yugoslav Fulbright agreement. The mission tackled two issues: as a US senator, Fulbright repaired misunderstandings and low points of previous US-Yugoslav bilateral relations; as a politician who was intellectually committed to liberal internationalism, he confirmed his support for Yugoslav independence from the Soviet Union and, by observing the Yugoslav Communist regime, convinced himself of a different solution for Vietnam’s emerging tangle. By examining Fulbright and Yugoslav papers, the chapter argues that Yugoslav experimentation with national communism and its possible bridge function between East and West framed the senator’s politics of dissent over Vietnam on the assumption that Communist movements were not as monolithic as most US policy makers viewed them. America’s soft approach to Yugoslav communism corroborated Fulbright’s convictions and persuaded him that Yugoslavia could serve as a case study for the impasse in Vietnam.

Keywords:   US foreign policy, Socialist Yugoslavia, Senator J. William Fulbright, Josip Broz Tito, Policy toward Vietnam, National communism

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