from The Internationalist and International Institutions and Global Governance Program

Trump Is Repeating the Mistakes of America’s Interwar Isolationists

U.S. President Donald J. Trump, Acting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton hold a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium on July 12, 2018. Yves Herman/Reuters

The Trump administration is repeating the mistakes of America’s interwar isolationists, who believed that the nation could and should insulate itself from global troubles. To understand this attitude, we need to look to the past. 

March 18, 2019

U.S. President Donald J. Trump, Acting U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton hold a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium on July 12, 2018. Yves Herman/Reuters
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In an article for World Politics Review, I revisit the debate one hundred years ago over the League of Nations and discuss how President Donald J. Trump is repeating the mistakes of America’s interwar isolations.

Tuesday marks the centenary of one of the most extraordinary foreign policy debates in American history, which has renewed resonance today. On March 19, 1919, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge squared off against A. Lawrence Lowell, the president of Harvard University, in a debate over the League of Nations.

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It is remarkable how current the transcript reads. In the age of Donald Trump, Americans are again divided over whether multilateral cooperation is consistent with national sovereignty. Until recently, this question seemed resolved. From Franklin D. Roosevelt through Barack Obama, 13 successive U.S. presidents embraced global leadership, upheld international institutions and managed an open, liberal world order.

Read the full World Politics Review article here

More on:

Diplomacy and International Institutions

Sovereignty

World Order

Donald Trump

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