The Arrogance of Power

The Arrogance of Power

by J. William Fulbright
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The Arrogance of Power by J. William Fulbright

“The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has suddenly become the most celebrated public critic of the nation’s foreign politics. . . . His new book, The Arrogance of Power, is remarkable because it . . . transforms mere criticism into bitter condemnation. It portends, or perhaps already speaks, the alienation of a great many thoughtful citizens from their government. . . . From disagreement with the national policy, the Senator has escalated to an indictment of the national character. Where once he blamed ignorance, he now finds also arrogance. And he offers psychological as well as political judgment and testimony to make the point.

“Nor is [Senator Fulbright] merely quarreling with Lyndon Johnson’s conduct of affairs. He objects to the whole postwar habit of intervention. . . . We have set out to police the world and to rescue mankind, he argues, neglecting our duty to put our own house in order and dissipating the chance to inspire others by our example. . . . The Senator has much else to say, of course. His book is a very specific protest against the war in Vietnam and a plea that we get out, even if it hurts. It is an angry cry against all war. It is an articulate statement of the duty to dissent. . . . 

“True to himself, Mr. Fulbright conveys his outrage in calm, often elegant prose. He entertains even as he alarms. . . . It is an invaluable antidote to the official rhetoric of government.” – Max Frankel, The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812992625
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/23/1967
Pages: 284
Sales rank: 294,191
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

J. William Fulbright (1905–1995) was a Democratic senator from Arkansas and served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was first elected to Congress in 1942 and became a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he introduced the "Fulbright Resolution," calling for the participation by the United States in an international organization to maintain peace and is generally considered to be the forerunner to the establishment of the United Nations. In 1954, Senator Fulbright was the one member of the Senate to vote against additional funds for the Special Investigating Subcommittee headed by Joseph McCarthy, and was a co-sponsor of the censure resolution passed by the Senate against Senator McCarthy. During the same year, he was appointed by the president as a member of the United States Delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations. He is the author of The Price of Empire.

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The Arrogance of Power 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
JBLTX More than 1 year ago
This book is an outstanding treatise on our nation's foreign policy durinig the turbulent 1960's era. The author addresses how the politics and ideology of the foreign policy decision makers of a national super power affect the policy outcome in ways that may and ofter do result the opposite reality than that intended by the original policy goal. He shows how this is usually the unintended consequence when policy makers, with noble intentions, equate and juxtapose military might with moral righteousness. The author makes the case that the early cold war model of a monolithic communist threat to the West is not a satisfactory model to address the rising nationalistic aspirations of third world countries in the post WWII period. When such nationalism coincides with communism within the same political movement, our fear of the latter, reinforced by McCarthyism experiences, often leads to our suppression of genuine national revolutions. The nationalist aspirations of Ho Chi Minh appeared before the World Council in 1919 but never rose above the noise level for reasons that included, among other things, the arrogance of power. An example of the author's thought provoking analysis is seen by one of his key questions, which I paraphrase: "How is the Vietnam civil war and different from our own civil war? What is North Vietnam doing that is different from what the American North did to the American South...with results that few of my fellow Southerners now regret?" Although this book was written against the backdrop of Vietnam (copyright 1966), the author's views are almost prescient. We saw his concerns play out in the latter part of the Vietnam war in 1968-1975, we saw it in the Central America war in El Salvador, we saw it in the aftermath of "Charlie Wilson's War" when Russia was finally driven out of Afghanistan, and we saw it in the run-up to and early execution of the current Iraq War. This book is of great hsitorical value. It should be required reading for all college students at the freshman or sophormore levels. It should help equip them to deal with a complex and often hostile world. This book will help young people understand the proper role of debate and dissent in our society. Furthermore, it will help them understand that these activities are uniquely a part of the American value system and should not be construed as unpatriotic.
DanBru More than 1 year ago
You could substitute "Iraq" for "Vietnam" and the book could have been written just a few years ago. A good read and well worth the time to reflect on today's politicians and goverment. Some things don't change.