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Why Wilson MattersThe Origin of American Liberal Internationalism and Its Crisis Today$
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Tony Smith Jr.

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691183480

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691183480.001.0001

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The Rise of Neo-Wilsonian Theory

The Rise of Neo-Wilsonian Theory

(p.182) Chapter Six The Rise of Neo-Wilsonian Theory
Why Wilson Matters

Tony Smith

Princeton University Press

This chapter addresses the rise of neo-Wilsonianism. The problem with neo-Wilsonianism is that it replaced the relatively amorphous thinking of liberal internationalism with a much “harder” ideology, one that gave its adherents a moral commitment to a more militant foreign policy based on social-science reasoning that represented a new argument in American liberal internationalism. Democratic peace theory, democratic transition theory, and the responsibility to protect in combination were a strong mixture, one with murderous consequences for the people in the Middle East and Southwest Asia as well as for American pretensions to hegemony in world politics. Neither human rights nor democratic government abroad was served by these imperialist adventures, nor was the national security of the United States in any way enhanced.

Keywords:   neo-Wilsonianism, militant foreign policy, American liberal internationalism, democratic peace theory, democratic transition theory, protection, hegemony, democratic government, national security, human rights

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