As a conservative power, the United States has a vital interest in upholding and expanding the reign of law in international relations.
— J. William Fulbright
In the name of noble purposes men have committed unspeakable acts of cruelty against one another.
Once imbued with the idea of a mission, a great nation easily assumes that it has the means as well as the duty to do God's work.
The citizen who criticizes his country is paying it an implied tribute.
There are many respects in which America, if it can bring itself to act with the magnanimity and the empathy appropriate to its size and power, can be an intelligent example to the world.
We are trying to remake Vietnamese society, a task which certainly cannot be accomplished by force and which probably cannot be accomplished by any means available to outsiders.
When we violate the law ourselves, whatever short-term advantage may be gained, we are obviously encouraging others to violate the law; we thus encourage disorder and instability and thereby do incalculable damage to our own long-term interests.
The price of empire is America's soul, and that price is too high.
In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith.
I'm sure that President Johnson would never have pursued the war in Vietnam if he'd ever had a Fulbright to Japan, or say Bangkok, or had any feeling for what these people are like and why they acted the way they did. He was completely ignorant.
The junior senator from Wisconsin, by his reckless charges, has so preyed upon the fears and hatreds and prejudices of the American people that he has started a prairie fire which neither he nor anyone else may be able to control.
I do not question the power of our weapons and the efficiency of our logistics; I cannot say these things delight me as they seem to delight some of our officials, but they are certainly impressive.
Insofar as international law is observed, it provides us with stability and order and with a means of predicting the behavior of those with whom we have reciprocal legal obligations.
Power confuses itself with virtue and tends also to take itself for omnipotence.
The rapprochement of peoples is only possible when differences of culture and outlook are respected and appreciated rather than feared and condemned, when the common bond of human dignity is recognized as the essential bond for a peaceful world.
There has been a tendency through the years for reason and moderation to prevail as long as things are going tolerably well or as long as our problems seem clear and finite and manageable.
What they fear, I think rightly, is that traditional Vietnamese society cannot survive the American economic and cultural impact.
I think we Americans tend to put too high a price on unanimity, as if there were something dangerous and illegitimate about honest differences of opinion honestly expressed by honest men.
To be a statesman, you must first get elected.
In the long course of history, having people who understand your thought is much greater security than another submarine.
The biggest lesson I learned from Vietnam is not to trust our own government statements. I had no idea until then that you could not rely on them.
In our excessive involvement in the affairs of other countries, we are not only living off our assets and denying our own people the proper enjoyment of their resources; we are also denying the world the example of a free society enjoying its freedom to the fullest.
Law is the essential foundation of stability and order both within societies and in international relations.
The cause of our difficulties in southeast Asia is not a deficiency of power but an excess of the wrong kind of power which results in a feeling of impotence when it fails to achieve its desired ends.
The Soviet Union has indeed been our greatest menace, not so much because of what it has done, but because of the excuses it has provided us for our failures.
There is an inevitable divergence between the world as it is and the world as men perceive it.
When public men indulge themselves in abuse, when they deny others a fair trial, when they resort to innuendo and insinuation, to libel, scandal, and suspicion, then our democratic society is outraged, and democracy is baffled.
We must dare to think 'unthinkable' thoughts. We must learn to explore all the options and possibilities that confront us in a complex and rapidly changing world.
There has been a strong tradition in this country that it is not the function of the military to educate the public on political issues.
The exchange program is the thing that reconciles me to all the difficulties of political life.
We have the power to do any damn fool thing we want to do, and we seem to do it about every 10 minutes.