Home / Articles / The Invincible Wilsonian Matrix: Universal Human Rights Once Again
A conservative or realist approach has little appeal in the present debate over American foreign policy. In the twentieth century, according to George F. Kennan, the United States succumbed to “the evils of utopian enthusiasms.” In recent years, this worldview has been associated most closely with the neoconservatives, but even the Clinton administration leaned in the same direction. Crusading moralism has been the recurrent theme of America’s self-image as a global power. Whether or not neoconservatives and liberals today are really dedicated to the same democratic political culture as the one that Wilson idealized, a recognizable Wilsonian manner of conceptualizing international relations has come to dominate American politics, reflected in a shared rejection of any foreign policy that is not based on the temporal salvation of humanity. Yet many Wilsonians seem unable to imagine that one can be “moral” without trying to make everyone resemble one’s self.