The Future of Liberal Internationalism
actual drafting of the speech occurred on 5 January 1918, at the White House when Wilson and Colonel House hammered it into shape. Colo- nel House records in his diary: “We actually got down to work at half past ten, and nished remaking the map of the world, as we would have it, by half past twelve-o-clock.”16 The Wilsonian tradition of American foreign policy was born.
Six ideas make up Wilsonianism. First, the foundation of a peaceful order must be built on a community of democratic states. War was the product of antiquated social systems. Accountable governments that re- spect the rule of law are essential building blocks of a peaceful and just world order. As Wilson articulated the idea: “A steadfast concert of peace can never be maintained except by a partnership of democratic nations. No autocratic nation could be trusted to keep faith within it or observe its covenants. . . . Only free peoples can hold their purpose and their honor steady.” Democratic states are not just less likely to go to war with one another, they also have capacities to engage in more elaborate and far-reaching forms of cooperation. On 4 July 1918, Wilson went to Mount Vernon and described his vision of postwar world order: “What we seek is the reign of law, based on the consent of the governed and sustained by the organized opinion of mankind.”
Second, free trade and socioeconomic exchange have a modernizing and civilizing effect on states, undercutting tyranny and oligopoly and strengthening the fabric of international community. This was the third of Wilson’s fourteen points: “The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.” Wilson was simply bringing forward the well-understood idea that trade had a positive impact on relations among states, promoting prosperity and encouraging commitment to peaceful, rule-based relations among nations.
Third, international law and international bodies of cooperation and dispute settlement also have a modernizing and civilizing effect on states, promoting peace and strengthening the fabric of international commu- nity. As Wilson put it, “the same law that applies to individuals applies to nations.”17 Yet, if Wilson championed a world ordered by international law, he had a very nineteenth-century view of international law. That is,