Nations Need Leadership, Not a League

Wilson’s international hegemon failed 100 years ago, and today’s tries fare no better.

Global View: The global nature of America's vital interests is worth protecting, and former President Theodore Roosevelt understood that America must be present on the world stage. Image: Library of Congress

The Senate rejected Woodrow Wilson’s Treaty of Versailles for the first time 100 years ago, on Nov. 19, 1919—thwarting his ambition to bring the U.S. into the League of Nations. This wasn’t the epochal tragedy that generations of internationalist historians and orators have sometimes made it out to be. The world wasn’t ready, and probably never will be, for the great powers to outsource their vital interests to an international organization. Wilson’s frantic efforts to buy foreign support for the league by making large concessions to partners like France and Italy left the treaty a grotesque and ultimately unsustainable...

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