Making the World Safe for Democracy: A Century of Wilsonianism and Its Totalitarian Challengers

Making the World Safe for Democracy: A Century of Wilsonianism and Its Totalitarian Challengers

Making the World Safe for Democracy: A Century of Wilsonianism and Its Totalitarian Challengers

Making the World Safe for Democracy: A Century of Wilsonianism and Its Totalitarian Challengers

Synopsis

Political scientist Amos Perlmutter offers a comparative analysis of the 20th century's three most significant world orders-- Wilsonianism, Soviet Communism, and Nazism. In the process of examining these systems, Perlmutter provides a framework for understanding U.S. foreign policy over the course of the century, particularly during the Cold War.

Excerpt

This book describes, analyzes, and evaluates the three most significant world orders of the twentieth century: the Wilsonian order, the Uninist/Stalinist order, and the Hitlerian order. The major reason for this choice is that world order can be set only by a hegemonial power, an industrial, technological, and military power. The three world systems were anchored in three hegemonial states: the United States, the Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany.

I further claim that the ambitions and orientations of these three great powers were ideological. The ideology represented the motivations, purposes, directions, and consequences of the three pretenders to world order. Only these three states could organize and mobilize an industrial, military, and political system to enable them not only to establish a world order but also to influence the international system. All hegemonial powers, by definition of being military, industrial, and economic powers, are interventionist. The Wilsonian influence and role in interventionism set the pattern for most American interventions. These interventions were covert through the use of agents and other diplomatic, political, and military means. U.S. intervention in Mexico in 1913, America's "secret war against Bolshevism" and its subsequent intervention in the Russian civil war (1917-20) demonstrate the methods and steps of the American style of intervention: the withdrawal of American diplomatic representatives, the imposition of an arms embargo on the regime, the blockade of the ports, the use of the marines, and the imposition of moral and economic sanctions. The use of very limited military intervention, as in the case of Mexico and the Russian civil war, and of intelligence gathering and covert action was enhanced by Woodrow Wilson beginning in 1914. The conspicuous use of covert action during Wilson's time, which would return with vengeance under Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and John F. Kennedy, demonstrates that in the age of nationalism and national sovereignty, nineteenth-century forms of imperial-

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