Freeman Seminar: George Ball - Backgrounds of An American Diplomatic Philosophy
Paul Stone, Associate Professor
Humphrey School of Public Affairs
During the 1960s a handful of experts sought to determine the course of U.S. policy toward Europe, Asia and Africa. While the Cold War was always a major consideration in the minds of such experts, national aspirations, culture, and location were also key concerns to American policy makers.
One of the most influential of these experts was George Ball, an early and consistent critic of American military involvement in Vietnam. Prior to the presidential candidacy of Eugene McCarthy in 1968, Ball was arguably the most prominent "dove" in Washington, DC.
Today, it is easy to miss the fact that he was also a dedicated Cold Warrior and an equally early and consistent advocate of European unity as a bulwark against the Warsaw Pact. In his mind the war in Vietnam was a dangerous diversion of resources and intellectual attention.
The time is right for a fresh look at the life and public career of Iowa native George Ball and his influence on four presidential administrations.