July 9, 2014
THE TRAGEDY OF WOODROW:
Rethinking Woodrow Wilson's 14 Points (David Ignatius, July 8, 2014, Washington Post)
President Woodrow Wilson enunciated his framework in his famous "Fourteen Points" statement in January 1918, nine months after the United States had entered World War I. Following the armistice in November 1918, Wilson's idealistic formula was a contentious centerpiece of debate at the Versailles peace conference. It was an inspiration to those who felt victimized by the old order and an annoyance to France and Britain.Britain and France prevailed at Versailles, imposing a peace settlement so selfish and shortsighted that it all but guaranteed the rise of a revanchist Germany leading to World War II, and the endless headaches of the modern Middle East. It was, as David Fromkin titled his great 1989 history, "A Peace to End All Peace." It's this very fabric that is now ripping apart, as civil wars in Syria and Iraq create de-facto partitions of those countries. The question facing policymakers is whether to redraw the lines or let the region devolve into smaller cantons, like the ethnically cohesive "vilayets" of Ottoman times.
By pimping only for the League of Nations, President Wilson lost the fight that mattered : universal self-determination.Posted by Orrin Judd at July 9, 2014 6:48 PM