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America’s new isolationism

By Nicholas Burns
November 11, 2011

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The First World War, the “Great War’’ that ended 93 years ago today, saw the United States emerge as a global power. when Pershing’s Army helped to turn a stalemate on the Western Front to allied victory in 1917-18. But the war’s most lasting historical impact was its aftermath. Rather than use its battlefield success to win a critical peace in Europe, the United States turned inward. Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot Lodge pushed the U.S. Senate to reject President Wilson’s League of Nations Treaty. An insular America chose isolation from the world and failed to lead when Hitler and Mussolini rose to power. The ultimate irony was that the “war to end all wars’’ led directly to an even more cataclysmic Second World War two decades later. This most urgent lesson of the Great War should give us pause as we arrive at another crossroads in our history with a clear choice to make about our role in the world

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