Bailey83221 (bailey83221) wrote in politicalbridge,
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Article: Strange, But Bush Really Does Sound a Lot Like Woodrow Wilson

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I must admit, I did not read this entire article, law school is killing me stress wise, and I am very selective with my free time (as we all are).

My free time (unfortunately for this group) does not currently include reading two books that [could be / are often] selected as text books. : (



History News Network: Strange, But Bush Really Does Sound a Lot Like Woodrow Wilson

Strange, But Bush Really Does Sound a Lot Like Woodrow Wilson
By Ron Briley
Mr. Briley is Assistant Headmaster, Sandia Preparatory School.

In his second inaugural address President Bush emphasized the themes of freedom and liberty. Although he failed to mention Iraq by name, its presence was looming throughout the address. For the Iraqi elections seem to have replaced any considerations regarding weapons of mass destruction in the administration’s case for war. In emphasizing freedom and liberty, Bush selected the themes used by Democratic President Woodrow Wilson from 1912-1920.

Wilson, like Bush, advocated a moralistic foreign policy. Reacting to the jingoism and materialism of his predecessors Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, Wilson insisted that the goal of American foreign policy was to spread the benefits of democracy throughout the world. A master of slogans, Wilson justified American entrance into the First World War by stating that our goal was to “make the world safe for democracy.” When he grew frustrated with the course of the Mexican Revolution, Wilson suggested that American intervention was necessary in order to teach the Mexican people to “elect good men.”

The end result of Wilson’s moralistic foreign policy was that the United States engaged in more military interventions abroad than under the militaristic Theodore Roosevelt, who referred to the Spanish-American War as “that splendid little war.” In addition to Mexico and World War I, making the world “safe for democracy” meant military action in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Russia.

Seemingly advocating the Wilsonian vision of America as the arbitrator of international morality, President Bush asserts that in order to guarantee freedom in the United States we must assure that liberty abounds throughout the world. In this interpretation, the invasion of Iraq becomes the first step in bringing democracy to the Middle East. But is the United States always aligned with the forces of freedom and liberty? In the past, we have supported dictatorships in Nicaragua, the Philippines, Indonesia, Iran, and Iraq. The Palestinians living in occupied territory may not perceive the United States as a liberating force in international relations. And the alliance between the United States and antidemocratic regimes throughout the oil-rich regions of Eurasia, such as the Aliyev dynasty in Azerbaijan, does not incorporate the policy enunciated by the president. The Bush rhetoric is inconsistent with the policies actually pursued by the administration.

Nor does the Bush agenda insure freedom on the home front. Seeking to prevent criticism of America’s world mission, the Wilson administration presided over one of the greatest violation of civil liberties in American history. Groups who opposed World War I and suggested a more sympathetic approach to the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia were silenced as elected representatives of the Socialist Party were incarcerated. Socialist Eugene Debs, who received over one million votes in the Presidential election of 1912, was imprisoned, and leaders of the Industrial Workers of the World were deported. The first amendment became a casualty of Wilsonian internationalism.

The Bush administration has a similar limited definition of freedom, which is outlined in the expanded powers of surveillance handed the government in the Patriot Act. The president has nominated Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General—a man who argues that the president’s powers as commander and chief may include the torture of so-called enemy non-combatants. The patriotic right of dissent is dismissed as an almost treasonous failure to support our troops.

Is this the type of freedom that the president seeks to export? In his efforts to implement and impose a Wilsonian view of the world, the president is endangering freedom both here and abroad.
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