The Wilsonian perspective and internationalist principles put forth by the United States following World War I have been used to justify political and military action in many areas across the entire globe. Those who subscribe to the ideology claim to seek world peace through the advocacy and advancement of democracy, capitalism, and pro-imperialistic interpretations of political action. This would come following the largely isolationist policies advocating liberal non-intervention on the part of the United States prior to the entry of the United States into World War I. The election of President Woodrow Wilson to office would mark a new age of political virtue and tradition known as American exceptionalism, and this ideology would come to play a major role in United States foreign policy moving forward.
The original success of American exceptionalism could of possibly relied on the fact that the United States has an entire ocean between itself and the political turmoil in Europe, and America would surely of benefit greatly from this absence of natural enemies on it’s borders. The relatively small threat of foreign intervention or military action at home has surely contributed greatly to the United States’ ability to pursue an interventionist foreign policy based on the very same Wilsonian ideals proposed in the article. The United States dominance of the Western Hemisphere has also surly contributed to the advancement of Wilsonian ideals as well. The success of the United States would prove to be a powerful influence to near by nation states, and the hegemonic effect of these powerful American influences allowed for a passive environment in which American exceptionalism could flourish.
The democratic peace theory would suggests that while democratic states can go to war with non-democratic ones, established democracies tend to avoid armed conflict with one another, and this tendency would also seem to contribute to American dominance in the global political arena. America seems to of benefited greatly from the spread of democratic government throughout the world. It has come to provide new American allies strategically placed around the globe, and often helps to contribute to a united front against competing socialist ideologies.
However, I’ve come to learn that the advancement of internationalist policies would also experience its fair share of political setbacks as well. After the establishment of the League of Nations in 1919 at a peace conference in Paris, the United States would fail to join the very organization President Woodrow Wilson advocated for due to the failure of the U.S. Senate to support President Woodrow Wilson’s internationalist ideals. Germany would also play a large role in the efforts to discredit Wilsonianism following the aftermath of World War I, and the invasion and division of Poland by German and Soviet forces in 1939 would mark a new low point in the global liberal ideology and international cooperation.
I feel that it is also the implied morality of the American worldview that has contributed to much of America’s hegemonic effects on the global political system. It must of also played a significant role in the success of the military industrial complex that would develop in the United States following multiple world wars and other conflicts generated in pursuit of Wilsonian ideals. Previous and continued use of these ideals by our political leaders to justify foreign intervention illustrates the level of influence they continue to hold over international relations. Could these ideals also possibly be used by the military industrial complex to keep the American war machine in motion? The United States spends a staggering amount of financial resources on defense spending, and this disproportionate amount of spending serves to cultivate a powerful interest advocating for the use of these resources in various scenarios, throughout the globe, regardless of the actual necessity of those resources in that particular scenario.
Wilsonian logic also assumes that those areas of the world not currently under a form of democratic government would generally benefit from a transition to a more democratic form of government. However, democracy tends to perform optimally in areas free of violent political upheaval. The general assumption that all areas would benefit from a more democratic form of government fails to take into account the fear and tensions generated from the fact that in many of the more hostile areas of the world, your political rival may simply choose to fight with bullets rather than words. In many of these hostile areas, the overall power dynamic currently in place operates relative to these fears, and would be ill equipped to address existing ethnic and religious tensions in the case of a dramatic transition to a more democratic form of government.
Following the United States’ Cold War victory, the U.S. would emerge as the world’s sole remaining super power. However, I feel this status has degraded to a point where the world can presently be considered to be more of a multipolar structure. The economic challenges faced by the country have resulted in a United States which has become dependent upon a globalist economy, and this has allowed other countries to gain an economic advantage. Countries have been shown to take advantage of the United States through currency manipulation and other means of economic wizardry, extracting resources from the wealthy American economy and transitioning that wealth back to their own states. This selective targeting of the shiny house at the top of the hill makes the position of the world most powerful economy just that much more undesirable among nation states, and could possibly serve to stifle the incentive of other nations to seek such a distinction.