quarta-feira, 2 de fevereiro de 2005

Woodrow Wilson internationalism

1) Gabriel Kolko: "Wilsonian and Neoconservative Myths"

"Innumerable commentators have made comparisons between President Woodrow Wilson's internationalism and his alleged missionary zeal with the ideas of the neoconservatives now so influential in the Bush Administration. But any analogies are essentially inaccurate and they all ignore the crucial historical context.

Wilson developed his ideas, with the help of Colonel Edward House, wholly as a direct response to Lenin's lofty and spectacularly successful rhetoric for a new internationalism to replace the folly of the nations that had brought on the First World War. Prior to the bolshevik challenge Wilson's notions on the international order and America's goals were largely economic-based on British free trade doctrine--and quite banal.

Both Wilson and Lenin developed their ambitious theories as a form of political propaganda to reach the masses over the heads of traditional rulers and win their allegiance, with conscious emphasis on brevity and simplicity.

Hence Wilson's 14 Points, which was extraordinarily brief-though longer than some of his advisers wanted- calling for self-determination and a radical departure from conventional power politics and the initiation of a new era of self-rule and democracy. Wilson's momentary non-conformity was based on expediency rather than conviction.

There is no Wilsoniam system based on a reasoned approach to the international order, but largely empty rhetoric intended to suit the political needs of the moment to counter the Bolshevik's charismatic appeals throughout Europe to the war-weary masses. Had there not been a Lenin there was scant possibility that Wilson would emerge in the image of an idealist ready to denounce prewar and wartime treaties enshrining imperialist acquisition. (...)"

2) HH Hoppe: "What would have happened if Wilson had kept the United States out of World War I?"

By virtue of its counterfactual nature, the answer to a question such as this can never be empirically confirmed or falsified. This does not make the question meaningless or the answer arbitrary, however. To the contrary. Based on an understanding of the actual historical events and personalities involved, the question concerning the most likely alternative course of history can be answered in detail and with considerable confidence.

If the United States had followed a strict non-interventionist foreign policy,

...the intra-European conflict likely would have ended in late 1916 or early 1917 instead of late 1918. Moreover, it would have been concluded with a mutually acceptable (face-saving) compromise peace rather than the one-sided terms actually dictated.

Consequently, Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Russia would have remained traditional monarchies instead of being turned into short-lived democratic republics. With a Russian Czar and a German and Austrian Kaiser in place, it would have been practically impossible for the Bolsheviks to seize power in Russia, and in reaction to a growing communist threat in Western Europe, for the fascists and the national Socialists to come to power in Italy and Germany.

The victims of communism, national socialism, and World War II—some 100 million European lives—would have been saved. The extent of government interference with and control of the private economy in the United States and Western Europe would have never reached the heights seen today.

And rather than Eastern Europe (and consequently half of the globe) falling into communist hands and for more than 40 years being plundered, devastated, and forcibly insulated from Western markets, all of Europe (and the entire globe) would have remained integrated economically (as in the nineteenth century) in a world-wide system of division of labor and cooperation. Accordingly world living standards would have grown immensely higher than they actually did."

Book Review: The Failure of America's Foreign Wars Edited by Richard M. Ebeling and Jacob G. HornbergerPublished in The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty - November 1996by Hans-Hermann Hoppe

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