Woodrow Wilson’s War, Redux: Will November Defeats Make Obama Hawkish on Iran?
The parallels between President Obama and our 28th president go beyond the superficial. Is there a Versailles in our future?
May 26, 2010 - 12:21 am
He was a progressive, Ivy League president, with that calm and lofty style of lecturing to his audiences. He had a fixed and unshakable conviction of his own rightness about the blessings of bigger and bigger government. The media fawned on him in the most nauseating fashion, and professors everywhere shouted Hosannas. He was dedicated to global peace under the benign governance of a transnational elite. And yes, he believed in a “progressive” race policy.
He was Woodrow Wilson, of course.
Yes, Obama is the return of Woodrow Wilson.
Now follow me closely. Wilson ran a peace campaign for the presidency as World War I was breaking out in Europe. Then he flipped and entered the war on the side of Britain and France.
Talk about a “war of choice.” The United States could have let Europe be conquered by the kaiser and just picked up the pieces afterward. He could have allowed the combatants to exhaust each other. There was a whole Atlantic Ocean to keep us secure from aggression. The Bolshevik Revolution (which was kicked off by the Germans when they smuggled Lenin into Russia) could have been bottled up, with a militant Austro-Hungarian Empire next door. World War II and the Cold War might have been avoided. Who knows?
Wilson could have stayed out of World War I, which ended European dominance in the world.
He didn’t do that, because Wilson desperately wanted to fashion a new world. To get his chance he needed a place at the victors’ table. The United States entered the war, our soldiers fought and suffered in the trenches, and we helped to beat the kaiser. At the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, Wilson got suckered by the French and the Brits, because innocents abroad are easy marks for political con artists like Georges Clemenceau and David Lloyd George.
In the upshot, the punitive Versailles Treaty that Wilson signed destabilized Germany and brought Hitler to power less than two decades later. Versailles carved up the Middle East in ways that have left it teetering to this day. After Hitler, the Soviet empire arose as the greatest threat to world peace. The U.S. was sucked into the European power vacuum for a whole century and ended up being the much-abused protector of the old world order.
In the upshot, Woodrow Wilson gambled with a house of cards, and it collapsed.
So much for designing a new world order from scratch.
Obama has that same unlimited arrogance and disdain for incredibly complex problems that he doesn’t understand at all. He has no conception of his own limitations, which are plain enough for the rest of the world to see. His chance to fashion a new world order is coming with the rise of a nuclear Iran. Obama has already signaled his intention to unilaterally push for a Wilsonian division between Israel and a Palestinian state. The only thing standing in his way is Iran, which is refusing to stop its rush to nuclear weapons, a move that will collapse the stability of the Middle East.
Israel is being openly threatened by Ahmadinejad and the mullahs, but in fact the Saudis, the Gulf States, and Iraq are even more threatened because they don’t have their own nukes and missiles to pit against Iranian weapons. Israel can retaliate against an Iranian attack, and it will do so if it sees no other way.