CES: Why Wilson Matters: The Origin of American Liberal Interventionism and its Crisis Today


Wednesday, May 2, 2018, 4:15pm to 6:00pm


Adolphus Busch Hall, Goldman Room

European Union Study Group

Tony Smith will discuss his latest book.


Tony Smith

Cornelia M. Jackson Professor of Political Science, Tufts Univeristy and CES Faculty Associate, Harvard University


Stephen Walt

Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs, BCSIA, Harvard Kennedy School


Karl Kaiser

Senior Associate, Transatlantic Initiative, Future of Diplomacy Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School; Adjunct Professor of Public Policy Emeritus, Harvard Kennedy School; Co-Chair, European Union, CES, Harvard University; John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellow 1977-1978, CES, Harvard ; Visiting Scholar 1985, CES, Harvard


The liberal internationalist tradition is credited with America's greatest triumphs as a world power ― and also its biggest failures. Beginning in the 1940s, imbued with the spirit of Woodrow Wilson’s efforts at the League of Nations to "make the world safe for democracy," the United States steered a course in world affairs that would eventually win the Cold War. Yet in the 1990s, Wilsonianism turned imperialist, contributing directly to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the continued failures of American foreign policy.