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Making the American CenturyEssays on the Political Culture of Twentieth Century America$
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Bruce J. Schulman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199845392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199845392.001.0001

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The Sincerest Form of Flattery

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

The Peace Corps, the Helsinki Accords, and the Internationalization of Social Values

(p.124) 7 The Sincerest Form of Flattery
Making the American Century

Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman

Oxford University Press

Through the prism of two international developments—the emergence of the international volunteer movement and the forging of the Helsinki principles—this chapter shows that Americans and Western Europeans continuously nudged one another towards new practices, although they were not always aware of their own borrowing. Regarding the Peace Corps, sometimes viewed as quintessentially American in its aspirations and naïveté, this chapter explains its relationship to British and Australian predecessors. Regarding the Helsinki Accords, the chapter examines how German and French leaders pushed the United States further in the direction of principles that it had been earliest to espouse. Liberal internationalism and “Wilsonianism” were not simply American exports, but rather global trends. Particularly during the Vietnam era, other nations were sometimes ahead of the United States on these principles and pulled it along. An international context increasingly shaped the political culture of the United States and its closest allies.

Keywords:   Wilsonianism, Helsinki Accords, Peace Corps, liberal internationalism

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