The liberal internationalist tradition is credited with America’s greatest triumphs as a world powerand also its biggest failures. Beginning in the 1940s, imbued with the spirit of Woodrow Wilsons efforts at the League of Nations to "e;make the world safe for democracy,"e; 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 Wilsons vision by the brash neo-Wilsonianism being pursued today. Drawing on Wilsons original writings and speeches, Tony Smith traces how his thinking about Americas 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 followedfor good and for ill. He traces the traditions evolution from its classic era with Wilson, to its hegemonic stage during the Cold War, to its imperialist phase today. Smith calls for an end to reckless forms of U.S. foreign intervention, and a return to the prudence and eternal vigilance of Wilsons 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.
Why Wilson Matters The Origin of American Liberal Internationalism and Its Crisis Today