Homeward Bound

Judis, John B.
March 2003
New Republic;3/3/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 8, p16
Liberals are no strangers to foreign intervention. Democratic presidents took the United States into two world wars, as well as Korea and Vietnam. Former President Bill Clinton himself sent U.S. forces to Haiti, the Balkans, and Iraq. But, if there was a connection between liberalism at home and intervention abroad, it generally ran from the former to the latter. In July 1914, as Herbert Croly was putting together the first issue of 'The New Republic' (TNR) magazine, war broke out in Europe. Some critics of U.S. intervention, such as TNR contributor Randolph Bourne, warned that by going to war the United States would turn its back on the new liberalism and be infected by the virulent nationalism that had consumed Europe. Instead of leading the country to embrace Croly's new liberalism, the war's end resulted in a sharp turn toward conservatism. The war on terror following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks has strengthened Republican conservatism, providing cover for U.S. President George W. Bush to promote policies that would increase inequality, roll back environmental and labor protections, and weaken Social Security and Medicare.


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