In One Palestine Complete, Tom Segev quotes a conversation between Lloyd George and Col E.M. House about the possibility of the US taking over the Mandate for Palestine. "The United States did not know how to run colonies, [Col. House] said. Colonialism required a special skill that the United States lacked. The Phillipines, he noted, had not been a success" (pp.117-118). The US had faced a long and bloody insurrection in that country following the Spanish-American War, and it was a recent unpleasant memory. Wilson turned down any mandates in the Middle East.
In Margaret Mac Millan's book Paris 1919 she has a quotes from Wilson with regard to Russia that illuminate his position on "self-determination."
"I believe in letting them work out their own salvation," he told a British diplomat in Washington just before the end of the of the war, "even though they wallow in anarchy for a while. I visualize it like this: A lot of impossible folk fighting among themselves. You cannot do business with them, so you shut them up in a room and lock the door and tell them that when they have settled matters among themselves you will unlock the door and do business" (p.70).
Self-determination meant individual countries had to do it themselves, and the US would not follow a missionary foreign policy to free them.
I am very worried about Obama's foreign policy team.
Pervis James Casey
Apr 22 2009 - 2:39pm