Upon taking office, we warned of an impending "Return to Versailles":
Following the end of World War I, President Wilson was considered to be most revered leader in the world, the savior of Europe and 'the man with the plan' to usher in a new era of peace and global cooperation. Prior to the treaty negotiations to take place in Versailles, Wilson swept through Europe as a hero to public. He was met with the largest crowds to ever meet a foreign head of state, and in many cases crowds which were larger than those of a nation's own leaders. Wilson carried with him his 14 points for peace, his ambitious and largely idealistic plan for a post-WWI world. Wilson's plan was ambitious to say the least and with public approval on his side, and no attempt at congressional approval, Wilson headed to Europe.
European leaders publicly, especially those of Britain, France and Italy could not praise Wilson enough and in public appeared as second-class citizens in his shadow. However, in private, the European leaders viewed Wilson as arrogant, naive and weak-minded. At the treaty negotiations in Versailles these European leaders trampled Wilson's 14 points and undermined every attempt to implement what they viewed as an unrealistic and overly-idealistic peace plan. Ultimately, Wilson would leave Versailles having implemented only one of his fourteen points, the establishment of the League of Nations. These final treaty negotiations at Versailles would result in the most punishing, one-sided and damaging peace treaty in history. The Treaty of Versailles would set the stage for the rise of fascism in Italy and the rise of Nazi-Socialism throughout central Europe.
Ultimately, Wilson who greeted amid never-before-seen accolade would limp back to the U.S. having failed to usher in a new era of peace and having learned that popularity does not equal leadership.
President Obama's speech before the United Nation's General Assembly yesterday could have been prepared by Wilson himself. The speech was a mixture of US apology and an outline of a new global governance that adopts unenforceable objectives while ignoring genuine global crisis. In recent weeks President Obama has turned his back on long-standing allies such as Israel, Poland and the Czech Republic while granting unreciprocated concessions aimed at improving relationships with Iran, North Korea, Russia and China. The President's only demand placed upon the world is the adoption of disarmament agreements that, like those pushed for President Wilson, will be wholly unenforceable and will only be carried out by peace-loving countries such as the U.S. As in the case of President Wilson, foreign leaders have sunk into the shadows of Obama's presence, whereas they grant public accolades while privately moving against US interests. China and Russia are leading a charge against US currency and while the Obama Administration is calling for new and repetitive nuclear proliferation, Iran & North Korea are forging ahead with weapons programs.
Wilson's failed foreign policy objectives, which undermined US global leadership, led to a 12 year period of protectionist-based isolationism within US foreign policy. When an openly internationalist Franklin Roosevelt took office in 1932, he would spend 8 years seeking to re-establish US global leadership. Although Roosevelt achieved some progress, opposition within both political parties handcuffed the President's aspirations until the onset of WWII.
President Obama's adoption of the 90 year old foreign policy objectives of President Wilson, not only mark a wholesale shift from Bush administration policies, but a wholesale shift from the policies of every sitting President since 1932. President Obama suffers under the misconception that global governance will end the aspirations of the tyrants and create a society of economic and military equality among the nations of the world. However, President Obama has overlooked the realities of humanity and apparently has no regard for a world history that has proven the failures of such naive idealism. The greatest advances in global leadership occurred during periods of strengthened and unapologetic US foreign policy. At a time when the world needs the foreign policy leadership of a President Reagan or President Kennedy, we have elected a the failed policies of President Wilson.