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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17731

Title: Specters of "Isolationism"? Debating America's Place in the Global Arena, c.1965-1974
Authors: Black, Erin
Advisor: Pruessen, Ronald W.
Department: History
Keywords: Cold War
American Foreign Policy
Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Vietnam War
Foreign Aid
Issue Date: 23-Sep-2009
Abstract: The United States emerged from the Second World War determined to play a leading role in the maintenance of international order. Increasing levels of tension between the United States and the forces of communism after 1945, however, slowly forced a redefinition of what might be more distinctly termed America's "global" responsibilities, such that by 1961 John F. Kennedy declared that the United States would "pay any price. . .in order to assure the survival and success of liberty." An identifiable Cold War consensus took shape based on the assumption that it was America's responsibility to lead, protect, and defend, the "free-world." Since America was effectively waging a battle to ensure the successful spread of its own values, the Cold War consensus also served to severely limit debate—dissent essentially implied disloyalty. By the mid-1960s, however, the Cold War consensus began to crack and a debate over American foreign policy began to emerge. That debate is the focus of this dissertation, which looks at the opposition to Cold War policies which emerged in the Senate, most notably among the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee --many of whom had once played a role in developing the very foreign policies they now protested. The war in Vietnam provided the focal point for much of the dissent, but the foreign aid program also became heavily criticized, as did America's NATO policy, particularly the size of the American military presence in Europe. More important, however, Senate dissenters came to question the United States' very position as the principle defender of the free world. They did not dispute the idea that America had a significant role to play in the global arena, but they did not believe that role should consist of being the world's policeman, the self-appointed arbiter of other’s affairs, and the keeper of the status quo. Because of their views, the so-called dissenters were labelled as "neo-isolationists." They saw themselves the true "internationalists," however, believing that the Cold War had led to confusion between internationalism and indiscriminate global involvement.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17731
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of History - Doctoral theses

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