Woodrow Wilson's War

George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq was more consistent with the American tradition than many of his critics claimed, and some of his erstwhile supporters wished. The Wilsonians try to distance themselves from Bush, but they wind  up demonstr

Issue: Jan-Feb 2009

G. John Ikenberry, Thomas J. Knock, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Tony Smith, The Crisis of American Foreign Policy: Wilsonianism in the Twenty-first Century (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009), 168 pp., $24.95.

George C. Herring, From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1776 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 1056 pp., $35.00.

 

ONE WOULD think that the discrediting of George W. Bush's Iraq policies would be manna from heaven for liberal internationalists, particularly on the heels of the election of a new Democratic president who won, in part, on a platform repudiating those policies. After eight years of a militarized and unilateralist foreign policy that dismissed the Kyoto Protocol and held in contempt the International Court of Justice, you would think that Bush's failure would allow them to turn the ship of state around 180 degrees and implement a new foreign policy. But rather than a sense of eager anticipation, there is instead the distinct scent of panic emanating from liberal-internationalist precincts. As G. John Ikenberry, the coauthor-along with Thomas J. Knock, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Tony Smith-of a slim new volume soberly entitled The Crisis of American Foreign Policy: Wilsonianism in the Twenty-first Century, admits, "The crisis of Bush foreign policy has become a crisis of liberal internationalism."

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