Thursday, 28 October 2010

Literature Review: The man himself

This week, I've been reading The Fulbright Program: A History and works written by J. William Fulbright himself. Now I know I've chosen the right topic, because reading these hasn't felt like work--I would actually read these in my free time. Fulbright's books, especially, are so interesting, and I love his writing style. Old Myths and New Realities was written in 1964, and has the best, most reasonable views I've ever seen coming out of the Cold War.

"A well-conceived national security program is one which concerns itself with the psychology as well as the technology of defense and deterrence. It must seek to bring some sanity and restraint into the relations of great nations which know, but do not always seem to feel and believe and act as though they know, that a decision made in anger or fear, or a simple mistake, could...result in the incineration of tens of millions of people and the virtual destruction of human society." (pp. 47-48)

Fulbright argues for 'sanity and restraint' in the face of the Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) policy. Of course voices of reason existed during the Cold War (that's how it stayed 'Cold'), but I didn't realize he was one of them. Fulbright's name will always be associated with student exchange--it's easy to forget his other accomplishments as a Senator for 30 years, the author of several books on foreign policy, and a mentor to President Clinton. He's really far more impressive than I ever realized.

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