The Common Good | Safe Passage: The Transition from British to American Hegemony | The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950s | How Democracies Die | Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydidesâs Trap? | A World in Disarray | War Against War
The liberal internationalist tradition is credited with America's greatest triumphs as a world powerâand also its biggest failures. Beginning in the 1940s, imbued with the spirit of Woodrow Wilsonâs efforts at the League of Nations to "make the world safe for democracy," the United States steered a course in world affairs that would eventually win the Cold War. Yet in the 1990s, Wilsonianism turned imperialist, contributing directly to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the continued failures of American foreign policy.
Why Wilson Matters explains how the liberal internationalist community can regain a sense of identity and purpose following the betrayal of Wilsonâs vision by the brash âneo-Wilsonianismâ being pursued today. Drawing on Wilsonâs original writings and speeches, Tony Smith traces how his thinking about Americaâs role in the world evolved in the years leading up to and during his presidency, and how the Wilsonian tradition went on to influence American foreign policy in the decades that followedâfor good and for ill. He traces the traditionâs evolution from its âclassicâ era with Wilson, to its âhegemonicâ stage during the Cold War, to its âimperialistâ phase today. Smith calls for an end to reckless forms of U.S. foreign intervention, and a return to the prudence and âeternal vigilanceâ of Wilsonâs own time.
Why Wilson Matters renews hope that the United States might again become effectively liberal by returning to the sense of realism that Wilson espoused, one where the promotion of democracy around the world is balanced by the understanding that such efforts are not likely to come quickly and without costs.
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