To Create a New World? American Presidents and the United Nations

By John Allphin Moore Jr.; Jerry Pubantz | Go to book overview

international order. The League would also ensure, in Wilson's view, reform, not revolution, in the international system. In 1917, the victory in Russia of the other great advocate of self-determination, Lenin, by violent means, further strengthened Wilson's resolve to have a League. 24

At Paris Wilson found in the British prime minister, David Lloyd George, and the French premier, Georges Clemenceau, two leaders more interested in the traditional resources of power politics and national interests than in his idealistic vision of a better world. The forsaking of empire and the sacrifice of the advantages of victory were not part of their diplomatic repertoire. In order to achieve his beloved League, the president had to make significant concessions on other aspects of his peace plan, including a provision requiring Germany to pay reparations, a clause specifying Germany's guilt in initiating the war, and a compromise of the commitment to self-determination resulting in the mandate system.

The irony (or tragedy), of course, was that the U.S. Senate never ratified the Versailles Treaty. Having disdained the participation of senators in the peace negotiations, President Wilson was the first to learn that "Wilsonianism," while speaking to deep sentiments in the American psyche, succeeds only when broad political support is coupled with an overwhelming sense in public opinion that America's national interests are also served by the moral impulse. The United States could see no need to remain involved in the interstate affairs of Europe. The League system went on without U.S. participation, much less U.S. leadership, and ultimately foundered on the rocks of economic depression, nationalist revanchism, ideological politics, and a new round of aggression and international violence. The Wilsonian effort to create a workable organization to maintain the peace would have to await another war and another president. Perhaps Wilson's plans were flawed; perhaps they were too early; perhaps they were too novel for his time.


Traditional Arrangements of International Politics

Empire

Wilson and his admirers were bucking resilient historical practice. For most of history public order had been maintained by hierarchical imperial administrations whose dominance was punctuated by periodic

____________________
24
See N. Gordon Levin, Woodrow Wilson and World Politics; America's Response to War and World Politics ( New York: Oxford University Press, 1968).

-17-

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To Create a New World? American Presidents and the United Nations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • To Create a New World? *
  • Table of Contents *
  • Preface *
  • Frequently Used Citations *
  • Introduction *
  • 1: To Create a New World? American "Exceptionalism" and the Origins of the United Nations *
  • Dismissing the United Nations 7
  • The United Nations at Half Century 10
  • Woodrow Wilson and American Idealism 12
  • Traditional Arrangements of International Politics 17
  • The Twentieth-Century Crisis 21
  • 2: The Founders *
  • Fdr and the Un *
  • Yalta 44
  • Truman and the Un 47
  • Onset of the Cold War 53
  • Korea 69
  • 3: The Cold Warriors *
  • The President, His Foreign Policy Team, and the Un 84
  • The "Eisenhower Model" 91
  • Superpower Confrontation and the United Nations, 1953-1969 95
  • Cold War Tensions and UN Institutions 112
  • Jfk and the Un 118
  • Lyndon Johnson and the Un 131
  • Disarmament and Development 143
  • 4: The Realists' Ascent *
  • Nixon and the Un 176
  • 1968 184
  • Nixon and Watergate 186
  • "Nixinger" Diplomacy 188
  • Vietnam and Nixon 193
  • India and Pakistan, 1971 196
  • China 199
  • Yom Kippur 203
  • President Ford's Interregnum 208
  • 5: Two Sides of Idealism *
  • Carter and Foreign Policy 214
  • Carter, Human Rights, and the Un 219
  • Carter, China, and the Ussr 229
  • Breakthrough at Camp David 234
  • Carter and Africa 241
  • The Iranian Hostage Nightmare 248
  • Reagan and the Un: Phase One 254
  • The Middle East, Reagan, and the Un 262
  • Reagan and the World 268
  • Iran-Contra 274
  • Gorbachev 276
  • Reagan and the Un: Phase Two 280
  • 6: The New Moralists *
  • President Bush's UN Odyssey 290
  • President Bush's Use of the Un 298
  • President Clinton: the New Moralism and the Demands of Politics 315
  • Conclusion *
  • Appendix a Secretaries-General of the Un *
  • Appendix B U.S. Ambassadors to the Un *
  • Bibliography *
  • Index *
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