December 13, 2009

HE'S WHY TEDDY ROOSEVELT LANGUISHES IN HELL:

He Was No Wilsonian: a review of WOODROW WILSON: A Biography By John Milton Cooper Jr. (BEVERLY GAGE, 12/13/09, NY Times Book Review)

It makes sense that Cooper wants to see the best of Wilson; few historians dedicate a life’s work to figures they roundly despise. And yet the attempt to redeem Wilson ultimately makes him a less interesting figure. By beginning with the premise that Wilson was a great man, worthy of 21st-century admiration, Cooper flounders in attempting to explain his subject’s less palatable attributes. “It remains a mystery,” ­Cooper concludes of the postwar Red Scare, “why such a farseeing, thoughtful person as Wilson would let any of that occur.” He finds Wilson’s racial attitudes similarly “puzzling,” given the presi­dent’s alleged sensitivity “to economic, religious and ethnic injustices.”

Presidents who are driven by their hatreds are always disasters. Besides being one of the few who was personally a racist (as opposed to politically), Wilson's anger at the Germans led to the disastrous American intervention in WWI.

The only thing that could have redeemed his presidency is if he had been a Wilsonian and had imposed independence on European colonies. Instead, he abandoned those peoples and fought for his fuzzy transnationalist pet project, the League of Nations, sowing the harvest of Third World misery we're still reaping.


Posted by Orrin Judd at December 13, 2009 9:10 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« KNOWN KNOWNS: | Main | THE SWORD OF THE FISHERMAN: »