From Publishers Weekly
Surveying American foreign policy since the 1890s, New Republic
senior editor Judis argues that when conservatives compare George W. Bush's post-9/11 speech to Congress with Roosevelt's "The Strenuous Life" (a speech that endorsed U.S. expansionism), they leave out Roosevelt's later doubts about expansionism and his support for international law and organization. While adopting Woodrow Wilson's goal of global democracy, conservatives, Judis says, have disregarded Wilson's recognition, through the example of Mexico, that the U.S. will stumble when trying to impose a government in the manner of McKinley and early Teddy Roosevelt: unilaterally. Where Judis identifies imperialist activity over the decades, he finds it grounded in America's sense of mission. But he also finds American torture in Iraq echoing American conduct toward Native Americans and in the Philippines and Vietnam: treatment meted out to "savages," not equals. He praises Bill Clinton for using NATO as not merely a military alliance but an "association of interest." While Judis makes a strong case that Bush's repudiation of Clinton's support for numerous treaties and pacts is shortsighted, he fails to criticize international institutions systematically, such as the United Nations' failure in Rwanda or the curious presence of nondemocratic countries on the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
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"An enlightening interpretation of American history."--The New York Times Book Review
"A sobering read during Iraq's current wallows."--The Washington Post
"[A] valuable appraisal of the Bush presidency, bringing to bear the weight of U.S. history to make a convincing case."--The New York Times
"Judis has done a valuable service in reminding us that we have been in-and through-this 'quagmire' before."--The New York Sun