Use of Force and Wilsonian Foreign Policy

In This Review

Use of Force and Wilsonian Foreign Policy

By Frederick S. Calhoun
Kent State University Press, 1993
172 pp. $15.00

A slender reminder that Woodrow Wilson had fewer compunctions about using force than the average pundit now thinks. The author examines Wilson's uses of force for "protection, retribution, solution, introduction, and association" in the Mexican interventions, World War I and the ill-fated postlude to the Bolshevik Revolution. "Wilson," Calhoun writes, "embraced, perhaps too tightly, the Clausewitzian dictum that war was an instrument of policy." Not quite the usual view of the president who gave his name to a supposedly un-worldly view of international politics. Resting primarily on archival work, this study gives short shrift to the vast secondary literature on Wilson. It suffers, perhaps, from a desire to be perverse, but it provokes the reader to rethink the foreign policy of a president whose views are so often caricatured, so rarely studied.

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