THE FOLLY OF EMPIRE: What George W. Bush Could Learn from Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson

John B. Judis, Author . Scribner $24 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7432-6127-2

Surveying American foreign policy since the 1890s, New Republic senior editor Judis argues that when conservatives compare George W. Bush's post-9/11 speech to Congress with Roosevelt's "The Strenuous Life" (a speech that endorsed U.S. expansionism), they leave out Roosevelt's later doubts about expansionism and his support for international law and organization. While adopting Woodrow Wilson's goal of global democracy, conservatives, Judis says, have disregarded Wilson's recognition, through the example of Mexico, that the U.S. will stumble when trying to impose a government in the manner of McKinley and early Teddy Roosevelt: unilaterally. Where Judis identifies imperialist activity over the decades, he finds it grounded in America's sense of mission. But he also finds American torture in Iraq echoing American conduct toward Native Americans and in the Philippines and Vietnam: treatment meted out to "savages," not equals. He praises Bill Clinton for using NATO as not merely a military alliance but an "association of interest." While Judis makes a strong case that Bush's repudiation of Clinton's support for numerous treaties and pacts is shortsighted, he fails to criticize international institutions systematically, such as the United Nations' failure in Rwanda or the curious presence of nondemocratic countries on the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. Agent, Rafe Sagalyn. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 07/26/2004
Release date: 08/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4391-0395-1
Paperback - 245 pages - 978-0-19-530902-7
Open Ebook - 257 pages - 978-0-19-534557-5
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