The Crisis of American Foreign Policy : Wilsonianism in the Twenty-first Century
Was George W. Bush the true heir of Woodrow Wilson, the architect of liberal internationalism? Was the Iraq War a result of liberal ideas about America's right to promote democracy abroad? In this timely book, four distinguished scholars of American foreign policy discuss the relationship between the ideals of Woodrow Wilson and those of George W. Bush. The Crisis of American Foreign Policy exposes the challenges resulting from Bush's foreign policy and ponders America's place in the international arena.
Led by John Ikenberry, one of today's foremost foreign policy thinkers, this provocative collection examines the traditions of liberal internationalism that have dominated American foreign policy since the end of World War II. Tony Smith argues that Bush and the neoconservatives followed Wilson in their commitment to promoting democracy abroad. Thomas Knock and Anne-Marie Slaughter disagree and contend that Wilson focused on the building of a collaborative and rule-centered world order, an idea the Bush administration actively resisted. The authors ask if the United States is still capable of leading a cooperative effort to handle the pressing issues of the new century, or if the country will have to go it alone, pursuing policies without regard to the interests of other governments.
Addressing current events in the context of historical policies, this book considers America's position on the global stage and what future directions might be possible for the nation in the post-Bush era.
Ikenberry (Liberal Order and Imperial Ambition) frames the central debate that structures this slim collection of four scholarly essays when he asks, if Bush is the heir of Woodrow Wilson, if the Iraq War in particular grew out of Wilsonianism and to what extent liberals share the blame. His provocative thesis surveys the evolution of liberal internationalism and dovetails with the historical essay by Knock (To End All Wars) that follows, drawing a distinction between Wilsonianism and successive foreign policies, including Cold War Globalism and the policies of the Bush administration. The most heated argument in the text comes in the final two essays by Smith (A Pact with the Devil) and Slaughter (A New World Order). Smith argues that the Bush doctrine can, in fact, be labeled Wilsonian and that it issued from a cross-fertilization of ideas between neoconservatives and neoliberals, including Slaughter herself. Slaughter rebuts this version of events and articulates how Wilsonianism can create a foundation for 21st-century foreign policy. Collectively, the authors present a variety of arguments in a narrow academic debate with far-reaching implications. (Jan.)
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Princeton University Press
November 23, 2008
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