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Anniversary of the Fulbright Exchange Program

This year we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the international Fulbright Exchange Program. (The US-German program is a couple of years younger.) Let's start with a quote from its founder, Senator Fulbright:
There is a multiplier effect in international education and it carries the possibility – the only real possibility – of changing our manner of thinking about the world, and therefore of changing the world.  For every university professor whose outlook has been broadened by study in another country, many thousands of students will gain some measure of intercultural perspective.  For every business person who has studied in another country, many associates are likely to gain some appreciation of the essential futility of nationalistic economic policies and of the way in which an international division of labor benefits all countries.  For every politician who, through study abroad, has gained some appreciation of the world as a human community, untold numbers of ordinary citizens, as well as their leaders, may be guided away from parochialism and narrow nationalism to broader, more fruitful perspectives.
The quote is from J. William Fulbright's book The Price of Empire ( The German translation is titled Im Zeichen des Sternenbanners (
Tomorrow German and American Fulbrighters based in Berlin will celebrate the Fourth of July with a BBQ and a game watching party: The World Cup semi-final Germany vs. Italy. Happy Fourth of July everybody!

Senator Fulbright: "There are two Americas..."

Senator Fulbright's birthday (April 9th, 1905) was on Sunday. He died eleven years ago, but many observations continue to be topical and controversial today, e.g. this quote about "superpatriots" from his book The Arrogance of Power ( (Deutsches
There are two Americas. One is the America of Lincoln and Adlai Stevenson; the other is the America of Teddy Roosevelt and the modern superpatriots. One is generous and humane, the other narrowly egotistical; one is self-critical, the other self-righteous; one is sensible, the other romantic; one is good-humored, the other solemn; one is inquiring, the other pontificating; one is moderate, the other filled with passionate intensity; one is judicious and the other arrogant in the use of great power.
From the same book:
To criticize one's country is to do it a service and pay it a compliment. It is a service because it may spur the country to do better than it is doing; it is a compliment because it evidences a belief that the country can do better than it is doing. Criticism, in short, is more than a right; it is an act of patriotism -- a higher form of patriotism, I believe, than the familiar rituals and national adulation.

Ret. General Zinni on Iraq: "Ten years worth of planning were thrown away"

In the lead-up to the Iraq war and its later conduct, I saw, at a minimum, true dereliction, negligence, and irresponsibility; at worst, lying, incompetence, and corruption.
General Tony Zinni in Battle Ready.

Former CENTCOM commander retired General Tony Zinni specified these charges at Meet the Press:
I knew the intelligence; I saw it right up to the day of the war. I was asked at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing a month before the war if I thought the threat was imminent. I didn't. Many of the people I know that were involved in the intelligence side of this, or, or in the military felt the same way. I saw the -- what this town is known for: spin, cherry-picking facts, using metaphors to evoke certain emotional responses, or, or shading the, the context. We, we know the mushroom clouds and, and the other things that were all described that the media's covered well. I saw on the ground, though, a sort of walking away from 10 years worth of planning.
You know, ever since the end of the first Gulf War, there have been -- there's been planning by serious officers and planners and others, and policies put in place. Ten years worth of planning, you know, were thrown away; troop levels dismissed out of hand; General Shinseki basically insulted for speaking the truth and giving a, an honest opinion; the lack of cohesive approach to how we deal with the aftermath; the political, economic, social reconstruction of a nation, which is no small task; a belief in these exiles that anyone in the region, anyone that had any knowledge would tell you were not credible on the ground; and on and on and on. Decisions to disband the army that were not in the initial plans. I mean there’s a series of disastrous mistakes. We just heard the secretary of state say these were tactical mistakes. These were not tactical mistakes. These were strategic mistakes, mistakes of policy made back here. Don't blame the troops. They're the ones that perform the tactics on the ground. They've been magnificent. If anything saves this, it will be them.
Meet the Press transcript and video. Clip with above quote at Crooks and Liars.

Senator Fulbright and statistics of the Fulbright Program

"Our future is not in the stars but in our minds and hearts.  Creative leadership and liberal education, which in fact go together, are the first requirements for a hopeful future for humankind.  Fostering these – leadership, learning, and empathy between cultures – was and remains the purpose of the international scholarship program that I was privileged to sponsor in the U.S. Senate over forty years ago.  Its is a modest program with an immodest aim – the achievement in international affairs of a regime more civilized, rational, and humane than the empty system of power of the past.  I believed in that possibility when I began.  I still do."
J. William Fulbright, The Price of Empire, 1989, page xi

To answer a question in the comments section of the last post: According to the State Department, the congressional appropriation for the entire Fulbright Program for 2005 was $144.5 million. Foreign governments contributed an additional $37 million directly to the Program. According to the German-American Fulbright Commission's annual report for 2003-2004 (page 7), the German government contributed 4.2 million Euro and the US government contributed 2.4 million Euro to the US-German Fulbright Programme's budget. The Association of Friends and Sponsors of the German-American Fulbright Program donated 78,000 Euro. This annual report also quotes Alison Kamhi, a US Fulbright grantee at the University of Rostock and originally from Stanford University:
Being one of the few Americans in Rostock, I took it as my job to provide the Germans in this city with a positive example of an American. Every time I was challenged about Bush or the war in Iraq or consumerism or whatever I took the time to talk to the person, simply to show that all Americans are not anti-European war-mongers, as is unfortunately often the stereotype. Volunteering at so many social organizations, I got the opportunity to answer questions from children, immigrants, or elderly Germans about the United States and our culture and politics, and I enjoyed being a representative of another side of America than what gets portrayed in the media.

Former Foreign Minister Fischer described the significance and purpose of Fulbright exchanges as well as Senator Fulbright's legacy at a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of the German American Fulbright Program in 2002: His speech in German. The English translation. More than 40,000 Americans and Germans received a Fulbright grant since 1952. According to the State Department, "approximately 267,500 'Fulbrighters,' 100,900 from the United States and 166,600 from other countries, have participated in the Program since its inception over fifty years ago. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 6,000 new grants annually."

Bill Clinton and Senator Fulbright on arrogance and freedom

In his autobiography My Life, Bill Clinton wrote about Senator Fulbrights's book "The Arrogance of Power" (1966) ( (Deutsches

Fulbright's essential argument was that great nations get into trouble and can go into long-term decline when they are "arrogant" in the use of their power, trying to do things they shouldn't do in places they shouldn't be. He was suspicious of any foreign policy rooted in missionary zeal, which he felt would cause us to drift into commitments "which though generous and benevolent in content, are so far reaching as to exceed even America's great capacitities." He also thought that when we brought our power to bear in the service of an abstract concept, like anti-communism, without understanding local history, culture, and politics we could do more harm than good.

Joe Kristensen, president of the Fulbright Alumni e.V., has compiled several quotes from The Arrogance of Power. One of them is:

Freedom of thought and discussion gives a democracy two concrete advantages over a dictatorship in the making of foreign policy: it diminishes the danger of an irretrievable mistake and it introduces ideas and opportunities that otherwise would not come to light. (...) In addition to its usefulness of redeeming error and introducing new ideas, free and open criticism has a third, more abstract but no less important function in a democracy: it is therapy and catharsis for those who are troubled by something their country is doing; it helps to reassert traditional values, to clear the air when it is full of tension and mistrust. There are times in public life as in private life when one must protest, note solely of even primarily because ones's protest will be politic or materilally productive, but because one's sense of decency is offended, because one is fed up with political craft and public images, or simply because something goes against the grain.

Joe has recommended this book and provided more quotes in the October 2003 issue of the Atlantic Review.

Barbara Bush about refugees in the Houston Astrodome

What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.
Fellow Fulbrighter Niels sent us these – in his words - "unsettling comments" by former First Lady Barbara Bush, who accompanied her husband and Bill Clinton on a tour of the Astrodome Complex on September 5th. The former presidents call for generous donations to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund.

Senator J. William Fulbright

"…the most valuable public servant, like the true patriot, is one who gives a higher loyalty to his country’s ideals than to its current policy and who therefore is willing to criticize as well as to comply."